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Le Grand, California: Chowchilla Kidnapping Bus

The July 15, 1976 mass abduction inspired by the climax in 1971's "Dirty Harry" involved this yellow school bus. Part of a dusty farm equipment and vehicle collection at Bright's Pioneer Exhibit. The 26 children and the bus driver, who escaped by digging out of a container buried in a quarry, signed the side of the bus.

Brights Nursery

5248 Plainsburg Rd, Le Grand, CA
Brights Nursery. CA-99/Golden State Hwy exit 176. Turn east onto Plainsboro Rd. Drive two miles. Turn right at the Bright's Nursery sign. If the gate is open, you'll see a large gray building on the left, with old rusty farm equipment leaning against the outside wall. Look for the "Museum Free Entrance" sign next to the door. The school bus is inside.
Better to call first than to just show up. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
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Visitor Tips and News About Chowchilla Kidnapping Bus

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Chowchilla Kidnapping Bus

Was closed according to Google Maps, but we drove by to be sure. No signs about museum either. Only Brights Nursery, Since 1945.

[Georgia, 06/12/2024]

The bus is still there, but the museum has no set hours. If you drive by and the gate is open, ask permission and someone will usually let you visit. It's best to call first before you go.

Brights Pioneer Museum

This museum has a huge collection of old cars, tractors, steam engines, and bulldozers. There's a lot to see inside and outside as well. A must for vintage equipment and car lovers!

[Curt Von soosten, 01/22/2022]

The most newsworthy vehicle in the collection is the Chowchilla Kidnapping school bus, a crime perhaps inspired by the 1971 film Dirty Harry (or a 1969 abduction story in Alfred Hitchcock's Daring Detectives magazine). The side of the bus is signed by the driver and 26 kids, who all successfully escaped.

Nearby Offbeat Places

Tallest Roadside Tombstone in the U.S.Tallest Roadside Tombstone in the U.S., Merced, CA - 6 mi.
Restaurant with Outer Wall of FishRestaurant with Outer Wall of Fish, Chowchilla, CA - 12 mi.
Fossil Discovery CenterFossil Discovery Center, Chowchilla, CA - 13 mi.
In the region:
Longest Covered Bridge West of the Mississippi, Knights Ferry, CA - 46 mi.

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