I just got home from a really fun weekend in Bend. I haven’t been there in years so I was really impressed with how beautiful and fun that city is. Our main reason for driving over was a orienteering meet in the Arnold Ice Cave area. It was a fun event, but very hard and very tiring. I’ve written about orienteering once before, you can read about it here: Hamilton Island Orienteering.
On the way over, we stopped at a fantastic roadside attraction called the Petersen Rock Garden. It is just south of Redmond on your way to Bend. I love a good tourist attraction and this is a great one. It’s about 3 miles off of highway 97. Watch carefully for the signs, they are easy to miss.
Basically, the rock garden is a bunch of miniature buildings made out of decorative stone and cement. The decorative features span 4 acres on the Petersen family property. There are small buildings, tiny houses, bridges, animals and lots of ponds. It was pretty impressive, although it’s obvious the garden has seen better days. Many of the walkways are closed to foot traffic, and a couple of the buildings seem to be missing pieces. But over all an impressive place to visit, especially after a few hours in the car.
They have an honor system admission fee system. They ask for $4.50 for adults and $2 for kids. Please do your best to pay them, the place needs the money. We were there for about 30 minutes, I felt like it was worth the price. The garden was origially built by a man named Rasmus Petersen. He built his first structure in 1935 then continued to build until his death in 1952.
Peacocks seem to have the run of the place. One got a little upset when I took his photo. There must have been about 20 of them. The were all over the garden and begging for bread crumbs in the parking lot. Beautiful animals.
In the back of the property there is a little dusty museum full of thunder heads and crystals. There were a few interesting things, but I was much more excited about the buildings outside.
I really hope they fix the pace up a little more. It was be a shame to see it degrade any further. On their Facebook page they talk about an effort underway to restore and preserve the gardens. Hopefully someday it will be in good enough shape to allow visitors out onto the islands to get a close up look at the castles.
PETERSON ROCK GARDEN
7930 SW 77TH STREET
REDMOND, OREGON 97756