Yester California Adventure at Yesterland Dinosaur Jack’s
Sunglass Shack
Photo of Sunglass Shack exterior, pink: 2002 by Allen Huffman.
This dinosaur is a store.

Who says that California Adventure only has imitations of things that California is known for?

There’s something at California Adventure that’s the “real deal.” It’s 100% genuine, and it’s up in the sky, shining brightly onto the park—the California sun.

Photo of Sunglass Shack interior: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
The interior decor is hip and edgy—or something like that.

It’s a good idea to protect your eyes from the intense sunshine. So head over to Dinosaur Jack’s Sunglass Shack. Look for the smiling, 33-foot-tall, pink Apatosaurus with the yellow spots. (If you’re a baby boomer, you probably know this type of dinosaur as a Brontosaurus.)

Photo of Sunglass Shack art: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
It’s art.

Although the exterior harkens back to the 1930s or 1940s, the interior is harder to classify. It combines old-fashioned wood paneling with a 21st century approach to the ceiling, lighting, and artwork.

Photo of Sunglass Shack ceiling: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Look up at the ceiling.
 
Photo of Sunglass Shack fascia with vintage-look signs: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
The fascia has vintage-look signs advertising other California attractions.

Okay, maybe the interior doesn’t make you feel as if you’ve gone back to Route 66 in the era before Interstate highways. But consider buying some sunglasses anyway.

Your eyes will thank you.

Photo of Sunglass Shack sunglasses display: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Sunglasses by Elizabeth Rose, with generic Land+World branding.
 
Photo of Sunglass Shack mirrors: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Try on cool shades and see how cool you look in the collection of mirrors.

Dinosaur Jack’s Sunglass Shack was one of the original shops at Disney’s California Adventure when the park opened in February 2001. The Sunglass Shack, Souvenir 66, Corn Dog Castle, and Mulholland Madness were the main features of the Route 66 section of Paradise Pier.

Photo of Sunglass Shack face, green: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
After green paint, our friend with the shades no longer had yellow spots on his face.

The Sunglass Shack didn’t look like a real Apatosaurus. That was on purpose. Unlike the dinosaur structures that sculptor Claude Bell created along Interstate-10 in Cabazon after retiring from Knott’s Berry Farm, the Sunglass Shack was not supposed to be proportioned and shaped like a real dinosaur. It was meant to evoke California’s “programmatic roadside vernacular architecture,” which gave California buildings shaped like a giant dog, frog, owl, doughnut, or other non-traditional building shapes, designed by people who weren’t trained architects.

Unfortunately, the Sunglass Shack didn’t come across as a nostalgic nod to the past. For that matter, the Route 66 corner of Paradise Pier didn’t look like a highway either.

Photo of Sunglass Shack sign: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
The side of Sunglass Shack facing Corn Dog Castle had an illuminated sign.

In October 2006, the pink dinosaur became a green dinosaur, thanks to a fresh coat of paint. Along with the new color, the dinosaur’s spots changed from something that looked like a skin condition to something that looked like large freckles on his back.

Photo of Sunglass Shack facing Mulholland Madness: 2009 by Allen Huffman.
The side of Sunglass Shack facing Mulholland Madness had a painted sign.

In late May 2009, the bright green dinosaur was penned in behind a construction wall. Dinosaur Jack’s Sunglass Shack closed permanently. The shores of Paradise Bay were on their way to becoming a charming, Victorian style seaside amusement resort, and a garish roadside dinosaur didn’t belong there.

Photo of Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Dinosaur Gertie serves ice cream cones, ice cream bars, and ice cream sandwiches.

At another Disney theme park, another dinosaur-shaped building has been around since 1989. It’s the much more agreeable Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. Gertie is not only a tribute to California’s “programmatic roadside vernacular architecture,” but also to Winsor McCay’s 1914 animated Gertie the Dinosaur, a short subject that inspired Walt Disney and other artists of his generation to pursue film animation.


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Updated July 10, 2012.

Photo of Sunglass Shack exterior, pink: 2002 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Sunglass Shack interior: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Sunglass Shack art: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Sunglass Shack ceiling: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Sunglass Shack fascia with vintage-look signs: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Sunglass Shack sunglasses display: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Sunglass Shack mirrors: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Sunglass Shack face, green: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Sunglass Shack sign: 2007 by Werner Weiss.
Photo of Sunglass Shack facing Mulholland Madness: 2009 by Allen Huffman.
Photo of Dinosaur Gertie’s Ice Cream of Extinction at Disney’s Hollywood Studios: 2007 by Werner Weiss.