Utah Stories from the Beehive Archive

Dinah the Dino


Dublin Core


Dinah the Dino


She’s big, pink, and has long beautiful eyelashes. Learn more about this unique rural Utah icon.

Looming large on the side of Highway 40 in eastern Utah, a sign reading "Vernal: Utah's Dinosaur Land" greets visitors as they enter town. It’s a welcoming message, though this is no ordinary sign – for it is clutched in the hands of a ginormous candy-pink dinosaur named Dinah. More than just a quirky roadside art installation, this dinosaur is an icon and symbol of community preservation in Vernal.

Across the American West, roadside statues of prehistoric dinosaurs are common. These ancient creatures and their cartoonish caricatures today represent grand landscapes and adventure. In Vernal, dinosaurs are integral to community identity and history. Located near Dinosaur National Monument with its precious paleontological sites such as the Carnegie Bone Quarry, Vernal is a gateway to dinosaur tourism. But Vernal residents also take special pride in their unique collection of roadside dino art.

Dinah was commissioned from the YESCO Sign Company in 1958 by businessman George Millecam, who owned the Dine-A-Ville hotel in downtown Vernal. Between 1967 and 1970, Millecam commissioned the construction of seven dinosaurs across Vernal to draw attention to the area’s fossils and other attractions. Although these roadside dinosaurs vary in size and color, Dinah is one of the oldest. Now on the National Register of Historic Places, she was originally crafted with a steel frame supporting 4,200 pounds of fiberglass, and had mechanical eyes that could light up and roll around. Dinah became an instant favorite for residents and visitors alike and was used by the area’s Chamber of Commerce to promote local events and tourism.

Today, public statues built by Millecam – including Dinah – are a source of local pride. Some are preserved with public funds, and many are dressed up and decorated for the holidays. As for Dinah, she wasn’t always bright pink – originally she sported a similar shade of orange – and in the 1990s, she had to move to the opposite end of town when the Millecam’s Dine-A-Ville hotel closed. But the city of Vernal was happy to take her in, and after some restoration and a new paint job, she is now the city’s mascot welcoming everyone with her lovely large eyes, long eyelashes, and cheeky grin from 40 feet high.


By Megan Weiss for Utah Humanities © 2024


Image: Toy Dinah meets her mama, the iconic Dinah dinosaur welcoming visitors to Vernal along Highway 40. Dinah’s image has been used to promote Vernal tourism for decades. She graces local street signs, markets community events, and gets around as toys like this one manufactured by Melinda Barlow, daughter of George and Helen Millecam. Image courtesy Megan van Frank, 2023.

See “Dine-A-Ville Dinosaur Statue,” National Register of Historic Places Registration Form, September 2023; Eliza Pace, “City to decide the future of iconic Vernal dinosaurs,” May 4, 2022, KSL.com, retrieved December 2023; Andy Kryza, “How Dinosaurs Became Kings of the American Roadside,” September 2, 2020, Thrillist, retrieved December 2023; “Pretty in Pink: 40-Foot-Tall Vernal Icon Gets Makeover,” April 16, 2014, Utah Public Radio, retrieved December 2023; “Dinah the dino moves to new Vernal home Pink dinosaur has been a landmark in town for 40 years,” October 10, 1999, Deseret News, retrieved December 2023; Utah History to Go. “Vernal,” May 18, 2016, Utah History to Go, retrieved December 2023.


The Beehive Archive is a production of Utah Humanities. Find sources and the whole collection of past episodes at www.utahhumanities.org/stories.