Friday, September 23, 2011

America’s Roadside Attractions

01. Cabazon Dinosaurs, Cabazon, California
Climb to the top of a life-size Tyrannosaurus rex for an up-close view of its teeth at this real-world Jurassic park. Purchase souvenirs at a museum shop located inside Ms. Dinny, a 150-ton Apatosaurus considered the largest concrete dino in the world.

02. Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska

Circling a patch of lonesome prairie, 38 old cars painted gray form a replica of England’s Stonehenge. Additional sculptures made from Detroit iron include “Ford Seasons,” representing seasonal changes to the landscape.

03. Enchanted Highway, Regent, North Dakota
Seven sensational scrap metal sculptures line this 32-mile stretch of highway in southwest North Dakota, including artist Gary Greff’s massive “Geese in Flight,” listed in the Guinness World Records as the world’s largest scrap metal sculpture.

04. Hole n’ the Rock, Moab, Utah
Walk through a modern cave home with 14 furnished rooms carved out of Utah sandstone. If the excavation, which removed 50,000 cubic feet of stone, doesn’t move you, take in the petting zoo.

05. Lucy the Elephant, Margate, New Jersey

America’s oldest example of zoomorphic architecture, this 130-year-old, 65-foot pachyderm is actually a building that once served as a summer cottage. Lumber up the spiral stairs to Lucy’s towering howdah for elephantine views of the Atlantic Ocean.

06. Randy’s Donuts, Inglewood, California
This towering donut, built in 1952, has earned celeb status by appearing in films (Mars Attacks!), videos (Randy Newman’s “I Love L.A.”), and Hollywood dreams of sweet treats.

07. Paul Bunyan, Minnesota and More

America’s most famous mythical lumberjack, capable of felling entire forests with his powerful ax, has a long reach. There are monumental statues of Bunyan in Akeley, Minnesota; Bangor, Maine, and Portland, Oregon. His trusty sidekick, Babe the Blue Ox, gets in on the action with colossal statues in Klamath, California, and Bemidji, Minnesota 

08. Foamhenge, Natural Bridge, Virginia
Even a Druid would feel at home at this stoic Stonehenge replica, set on a tufted hillside in the Shenandoah Valley. Baffling perhaps, but the towering industrial foam blocks make for a mystical roadside diversion.

09. The Corn Palace, North Main Street., Mitchell, South Dakota

Mitchell, South Dakota may be a small town, but it sure has a lot of one thing: corn. So in 1892 when the town was trying to lure more farmers to their corn-friendly state, they decided to build a castle in honor of the starchy veggie. The Corn Palace started as a simple wooden structure on Mitchell’s main drag, decorated with folk art made from corn husks and kernels. Today this “palace” still exists, and has had a pretty interesting evolution from the initial building.

The exterior of the Corn Palace is decorated every year with a new theme by local artists and the building serves as huge tourist attractions, bringing in half a million visitors a year.


10. Cadillac Ranch, Amarillo, Texas
Created in 1974 by a group of artists, this graffiti-spattered homage to American road travel breaks the dusty Texas horizon with the force of an 18-wheeler. The ten half-buried roadsters, slanted in a perfect row into an Amarillo cow pasture, have been featured in movies and referenced in songs.

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