Weirdest Roadside Attractions in All 50 States
Adventurous road trippers thrive on quirky roadside attractions. Not only do they break up the monotony of long days in the car, but roadside attractions can often bring excitement and a sense of purpose to the journey. But after pulling over to see a big ball of twine more than once, it soon becomes clear that some wacky attractions prove to be more entertaining than others. From drive-thru museums to haunted brothels and a chapel built for dogs, here is the ultimate list of the weirdest roadside attraction in each state.
Alabama: The Drive-Thru Museum of Wonder
Located off U.S Route 431 in the eastern Alabama town of Seale, the Drive-Thru Museum of Wonder doesn’t even require exiting your car. What began with a single oddity — a knobby turnip that resembled a human face — led to an eccentric drive-thru museum that features a variety of curiosities and art installations designed by artist Butch Anthony. Since the museum is open 24/7, visitors drive through the stacked shipping containers at all hours of the day and night to view Anthony’s spooky displays, including painted skeletons, bizarre monsters, and taxidermy sculptures.
Alaska: Dr. Seuss House
Spiraling out of the woods near Willow, Alaska, outside of Anchorage, is a building that looks like it belongs in a children’s book. With multiple floors of different sizes stacked upon each other, the whimsical building resembles the wacky homes illustrated in the beloved Dr. Seuss books. Known as the Dr. Seuss House to locals, the cabin’s original owner (not actually Dr. Seuss) wanted a view of Mount Denali in the distance — as the trees around him continued to grow, so did the floors on his house until it reached 185 feet tall. Although visitors are not allowed inside the curious structure, the building’s upper floors are easily visible from the road.
Arizona: The Bird Cage Theatre
Situated off Route 80 in southeastern Arizona — aka the heart of the Wild West — Tombstone’s Bird Cage Theatre has been around since 1881, when it was reputed to be “the wildest, wickedest night spot” in the country. One-hundred and forty years later, this peculiar venue is open for self-guided tours by day, when visitors can peruse paraphernalia leftover from its time as a bawdy brothel and saloon. Since legend has it that the building is haunted by the spirits of cowboys and prostitutes, the Bird Cage Theatre also opens its doors for nightly ghost tours and is a popular site for paranormal investigators. After-hours visitors often report hearing piano music or smelling cigar smoke in the air when they visit.
Arkansas: The Gurdon Light
Gurdon, a town in southwest Arkansas, is most famous for the “Gurdon Light,” an eerie orb that can be witnessed along the town’s train tracks near Interstate 30. Local legend claims that the orb is a paranormal phenomenon that belongs to a fallen railroad worker who was killed by a train. Despite the uncanny allure of this roadside attraction, there are a few plausible explanations. One theory asserts that the region’s abundance of quartz creates a piezoelectric effect that produces the hovering light. Whatever the true origins, if you’re passing through Arkansas, you might need to see this odd occurrence believe it.
California: Magowan’s Infinite Mirror Maze
Located on San Francisco’s Pier 39, Magowan's Infinite Mirror Maze is ideal for road trippers of all ages. The labyrinthine attraction is lit by black lights and surrounded by mirrors, causing visitors to feel slightly disoriented as they attempt to find their way from the entrance to the exit. Beyond experiencing the maze’s psychedelic colors and shapes, there are also opportunities to take mind-bending photos, so you can have a keepsake of your time spent at this bizarre stop.
Colorado: UFO Watchtower
The high desert of Colorado’s San Luis Valley isn’t exactly where you expect to find evidence of the paranormal, but the UFO Watchtower off Highway 17 aims to challenge that assumption. After a failed cattle-raising venture, landowner Judy Messoline realized that her property’s lack of light pollution was ideal for viewing the night sky. When stargazers began reporting multiple unidentifiable objects above her property, Messoline built a 10-foot-high tower to help visitors search for UFOs. She also built an adjoining campground so that visitors could stay up as late as they’d like on their hunt for airborne extra-terrestrials.
Connecticut: Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities
What started as a collection of oddities curated by 18th-century painter Joseph Steward eventually morphed into Connecticut’s Museum of Natural and Other Curiosities. Located in downtown Hartford, the collection that exists today was assembled in the 1990s and includes a few original pieces from Steward’s old showroom. The museum’s displays range from interesting (rare butterflies and insects) to bizarre (a stuffed, two-headed calf born on a farm in Michigan.) The one-room museum can be found on the top floor of the Old State House building and proves to be a worthy stop for the curious traveler.
Delaware: Steampunk Tree House
If you’re a craft beer lover, the Steampunk Tree House definitely earns points for its location. Situated right outside the Dogfish Head Brewery in Milton, Delaware, this roadside attraction was the brainchild of a California-based artist and festival enthusiast. The large-scale art installation was originally built in 2007 for Burning Man, an annual community gathering that takes place in the Nevada desert. Although the treehouse was intended to be interactive, visitors to the brewery are not allowed to climb it. Still, the futuristic treehouse is fascinating to see in person and an excellent excuse to stop by the brewery.
Florida: Weeki Wachee Mermaids
As Florida’s oldest roadside attraction, the Weeki Wachee Mermaids have long called their siren songs to those who have passed through Spring Hill, Florida (about an hour north of Tampa). The attraction began in 1947 when owner Newton Perry trained a few swimmers to do underwater tricks while using air tubes to breathe. Soon after, the Weeki Wachee Mermaids were born. Since its inception, the popular roadside attraction has drawn millions of visitors who stop to watch the glamorous mermaids perform in the underwater glass theater.
Georgia: The Tree That Owns Itself
In Athens, a city in northeast Georgia, a local resident once loved a tree so much that he granted it autonomy after his death. He deeded the tree an 8-foot radius and proclaimed it to have “possession of itself.” Unfortunately, the tree was knocked over by a windstorm in 1942, but the residents of Athens were so saddened by the loss that they banded together to plant an acorn seedling from the original tree. Today, road trippers can visit the Son of the Tree that Owns Itself, which is now fully grown. Although this self-ownership wouldn’t hold up in court, the locals choose to respect the tree’s rights.
Hawaii: Pineapple Maze
Located off Route 99 on the way to Oahu’s infamous North Shore, the Dole Plantation is home to the largest plant maze in the world. With more than two miles of winding, twisting, and turning paths between the hedges of 14,000 Hawaiian plants, this roadside attraction takes up three entire acres of farmland. It’s also one of the only permanent botanical mazes in the world. For those with a competitive spirit, the Dole Plantation app allows you to track your time at the maze stations hidden within the labyrinth — the fastest times get posted on the entrance sign.
Idaho: Dog Bark Park
Most road trippers can’t help but smile at the sight of the Dog Bark Park Inn, a small bed-and-breakfast tucked inside the statue of a giant beagle. Nicknamed Sweet Willy, the 30-foot tall beagle is located in the town of Cottonwood, Idaho, off Route 95. Even if you have no interest in spending the night inside of a dog — the B&B is a furnished one-bedroom, complete with a bathroom and loft — Dog Bark Park is still a requisite stop for dog lovers. The gift shop features hundreds of dog miniatures of every type of breed, handcrafted by the artists who built Sweet Willy.
Illinois: Leaning Tower of Niles
Illinois and Italy share little in common, with one notable exception — they’re both home to leaning towers. Located 15 miles outside of Chicago, the town of Niles has built a tower that is shockingly similar to the world-famous Leaning Tower of Pisa. Illinois’ replica, the Leaning Tower of Niles, was built as a clever way to hide an outdoor water tank in the 1930s. Since then, the tower has become a beloved icon of the town, so much that Pisa and Niles have become sister cities. So if you can’t make it all the way to Italy, know that the Illinois version is Pisa-approved.
Indiana: City Market Catacombs
Some road trippers may choose to breeze past Indianapolis, but pulling over to explore the Market Street Catacombs will prove this Midwestern city is anything but boring. Hidden beneath Indianapolis City Market, the catacombs are the remnants of Tomlinson Hall, a public meeting hall from the 1880s that burned down in 1958. All that remains of the historic building are the spooky basement catacombs that allow travelers a fascinating glimpse into the city’s past. Since it’s open for tours only on select dates, planning ahead is necessary to visit this attraction.
Iowa: Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk
Trekkies can’t help but flock to this oddly sweet, but rather strange, roadside attraction in Riverside, Iowa, about 20 minutes south of Iowa City. Wondering how an attraction claiming to be the future birthplace of a fictional character came to fruition? In the 1980s, an Iowa councilman learned that Captain James T. Kirk of the Starship Enterprise was born in a nameless town in Iowa. So he did what any normal councilman would do — he petitioned the city council to make Riverside the official birthplace of Captain Kirk. The small commemorative site has a bench and is surrounded by greenery, so paying your respects to this iconic fictional character isn’t a bad way to stretch your legs.
Kansas: Bowl Plaza
Road trippers can kill two birds with one stone at Bowl Plaza in Lucas, a town in central Kansas, where they will find an ingenious rest area shaped like a toilet bowl. This peculiar pit stop was born out of necessity — so many people were stopping in Lucas to visit its other roadside attractions, it became clear more toilets were needed. The plaza is home to an unspooling toilet paper sculpture, while the outdoor benches and entranceway resemble an enlarged toilet. Though definitely odd, the design is beautiful — lined by intricate mosaics and featuring interesting sculptures, Bowl Plaza is your best bet for a bathroom break in Kansas.
Kentucky: Chained Rock
Kentucky’s strangest roadside attraction is stuck between a rock and a hard place. Located high atop a hill over Pineville, in southeastern Kentucky, the Chained Rock was born from a legend that loomed over the town. As the story goes, a large boulder on top of Pine Mountain was unstable and threatened to kill innocent bystanders if it rolled down the mountain. Fortunately, the townspeople saved the day by chaining the rock in place. In reality, the Chained Rock is nothing but a clever PR stunt intended to draw visitors. Pine Mountain’s boulder shows no threat of rolling, but it’s still a fun climb to the top to see in person.
Louisiana: Fisherman’s Castle
It may seem odd to find a medieval castle on a Louisiana bayou, but Fisherman’s Castle has been a part of the local landscape for decades. Originally designed to be a fishing camp, the castle was then constructed in 1981 as a tourist attraction for the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition. Alas, these dreams never came to fruition, and the castle now stands empty, having changed owners many times throughout the years. Still, many locals are proud of Fisherman’s Castle, especially since it has survived both Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac. Plus, it’s an easy detour for road trippers to see off New Orleans’ Ridgeway Boulevard.
Maine: Desert of Maine
Situated along the Atlantic Ocean, Maine’s landscape is characterized by thick swaths of forest, dramatic coastline, and plenty of greenery. But the Desert of Maine, with its dunes of golden sand, contradicts everything you think you know about the New England state. Located off Route 95 near Freeport, this peculiar geological formation came to be during the last ice age when the region’s rocks were ground into glacial silt, turning the area into a barren wasteland. Visitors can take self-guided tours to learn more about the state’s geological history.
Maryland: Vanadu Art House
Elaborate junkyard or incredible piece of art? When you visit the Vanadu Art House, it’s up to you to decide. When owner and curator Clarke Bedford began to build sculptures out of industrial parts on his lawn, it was merely a side project to keep the art conservator busy in his free time. Using antiques, historical objects, and car parts, Bedford eventually turned his neighborhood home into a delightfully strange collection of art. The centerpiece is a working automobile, called the “Vanadu,” which is decorated with animal horns and can often be spotted parked in front of the Hyattsville home, just off Route 500 in the D.C. area.
Massachusetts: Paper House
When Elis F. Stenman set out to build a cottage in the summer of 1922, he did so with paper on his mind. The mechanical engineer had previously designed a machine that could produce paper clips, and — looking for a summer hobby — he began crafting a home out of newspaper. After he finished the walls and roof, Stenman continued to build all of his furniture out of paper, too. He used approximately 100,000 varnished newspapers in total to complete the home. Nearly 100 years later, the Paper House still stands in Rockport (about 40 miles northeast of Boston) and is open to visitors.
Michigan: Dinosaur Gardens
Dinosaurs and Jesus Christ aren’t often thought of as companions, but that happens to be the case at Dinosaur Gardens in Ossineke, Michigan. This unusual roadside attraction began in the 1930s, when Paul Domke bought an area of swampland and began filling it with life-sized dinosaurs which he crafted by hand. A devout Lutheran, Domke combined his passion for both religion and natural history throughout the elaborate sets he built in the park. The garden’s most famous piece is “The Greatest Heart,” which allows visitors to walk inside a dinosaur to find a framed painting of Jesus inside the animal.
Minnesota: SPAM Museum
Fans of the classic canned meat will certainly want to stop at southern Minnesota’s most interesting roadside attraction — the SPAM Museum. Located on the site of the SPAM production facility in Austin, the SPAM Museum contains everything you didn’t know about your favorite mystery meat. Since it’s a uniquely American product (SPAM is an acronym for Specialized Processed American Meat), the museum largely focuses on the way SPAM has featured in American history. Best of all? You can pick up SPAM snacks for your road trip at the museum gift shop.
Mississippi: Birthplace of Kermit the Frog
Leland, Mississippi, is the official birthplace of puppeteer Jim Henson, and it’s also the unofficial birthplace of his most famous character, Kermit the Frog. In fact, Leland is so proud of its ties to the Muppets that the town has built a museum dedicated to Henson. Located in the Leland Chamber of Commerce off Route 278, in the western part of the state, the museum tells Kermit’s origin story and features Muppet memorabilia, vintage merchandise, and a small gift shop.
Missouri: Small Appliance Museum
Every small appliance you can think of is on display at the weirdly wonderful Small Appliance Museum in Diamond, Missouri, located southeast of Joplin. The attraction began as a way for Richard Larrison to collect an obsessive amount of vintage appliances but later turned into a thoughtful space that demonstrates technological advances throughout the years. Visitors will immediately fall in love with the museum’s apparent nostalgia — with 7,000 appliances, including a talking Mr. Peanut, the Small Appliance Museum is a fascinating walk down memory lane.
Montana: Quake Lake
At first glance, the body of water located along Route 287 in southwestern Montana looks like a normal alpine lake — except for the odd-looking treetops poking through the water’s surface. After pulling over at the Earthquake Lake Visitor Center (or stopping to read the inscription of the memorial plaque), road trippers will discover that this lake was formed after a tragic earthquake in 1959. Triggering a massive rockslide that dammed the nearby Madison River, the natural disaster filled up the canyon with water, resulting in the ghostly treetops that make the lake so unusual.
Nebraska: The Villagers
In 2003, the town of Taylor, Nebraska, was struggling financially and wanted to find a way to spur tourism. To put the central Nebraska town on the map, a local artist began painting life-size cutouts of old-timey “Villagers,” installing them in outdoor locations throughout the small town. In addition to being a way to draw in visitors, the Villagers are interesting art installations that provide glimpses into the town’s past. Since 2003, traffic through Taylor has increased, especially since the artist creates six additional Villagers every year, prompting out-of-towners to return annually.
Nevada: Clown Motel
Whether clowns make you smile or give you the creeps, the Clown Motel will prove to be a memorable stop on your next road trip. A little over three hours northwest of Las Vegas, this roadside accommodation in Tonopah, Nevada, is home to more than 2,000 clown statues and figurines throughout the property. Dubbed “America’s Scariest Motel,” an overnight stay is probably best for adrenaline seekers who love a good fright. But with strange clown murals to a gift shop dedicated to clown memorabilia, the Clown Motel is certainly a one-of-a-kind roadside detour for the rest of us.
New Hampshire: Madame Sherri’s Castle
Hidden along the trails of Chesterfield, New Hampshire, off Interstate 91, is a mysterious stone staircase that leads to nowhere. These are the ruins of Madame Sherri’s castle, rumored to be haunted by ghosts of the town’s Roaring Twenties past. Madame Sherri was a costume designer who bought a second home in the woods of New Hampshire, where she used to throw glamorous parties for her New York City friends. Although the house was abandoned and burned down some years later, discovering its remnants is an exciting way to stretch your legs.
New Jersey: Fluorescent Rocks
The Sterling Hill Mining Museum in Ogdensburg, Sussex County, is home to New Jersey’s famous fluorescent rocks, which are located in an abandoned zinc mine. These rocks may look ordinary under the light of day, but under an ultraviolet light, they begin to glow in vivid neon hues. The phenomenon is best seen in the Thomas S. Warren Museum of Fluorescence, a separate wing of the museum created to house over 700 of these unique glowing rocks. The curated minerals are carefully placed beneath different wavelengths of ultraviolet light, providing visitors a mesmerizing look into the world of geology.
New Mexico: Sparky’s
Not only is Hatch, New Mexico, home to the world-famous Hatch chile pepper, but it also houses Sparky’s Burgers and BBQ — a wacky attraction that’s more than just a roadside restaurant (though they do serve up a mean green chile cheeseburger). Under the management of Sparky the robot (the cafe’s official mascot), Sparky’s is stockpiled with a cast of characters, like Ronald McDonald, Colonel Sanders, and Yogi Bear, making it an entertaining spot for a photo op and a milkshake.
New York: Kaatskill Kaleidoscope
The World’s Largest Kaleidoscope is housed inside of a grain silo in the Catskill Mountains of upstate New York. Nicknamed the Kaatskill Kaleidoscope (Kaatskill is the original Dutch spelling for the region), this hypnotizing roadside attraction was originally conceived by a psychedelic artist in the 1960s. It wasn’t until 30 years later, however, that the artist’s son was able to bring his father’s dream to fruition, with the help of funding from a local entrepreneur. Now, visitors to upstate New York can step inside the silo to partake in the one-of-a-kind immersive visual and auditory experience.
North Carolina: Old Salem Coffee Pot
When brothers Julius and Samuel Mickey crafted a giant coffee pot to promote their coffee house in 1858, they probably had no idea it would become a beloved roadside attraction for future generations. The Old Salem Coffee Pot continues to attract curious coffee lovers to the city of Winston-Salem. However, some citizens have lodged complaints about the old-fashioned tin percolator. Detractors say the 7-foot tall monument — big enough for nearly 12,000 cups of coffee — has been the source of traffic accidents over the years, but for now it’s still welcoming visitors off Interstate 40.
North Dakota: Paul Broste Rock Museum
This massive granite building already stands out from the surrounding North Dakota landscape, but the building’s contents are perhaps even more surprising. Inside the building’s five-foot thick walls is the personal rock collection of Paul Broste, a local farmer, artist, and rock collector. In addition to the impressive display of polished, spherical rocks, the Paul Broste Rock Museum contains rare specimens from all over the world, including a dinosaur egg, petrified wood, and lead glass from a nuclear test site. It also houses many stunning gemstones and geodes, such as tiger’s eye, opal, and quartz.
Ohio: The Haserot Angel
With over 100,000 gravesites, Cleveland’s Lake View Cemetery has interred several notable Clevelanders, including the 20th U.S. President, James A. Garfield. But of all the gravesites to visit in this prestigious burial ground, the Haserot Angel is by far the most popular. The burial site of Francis Haserot, a member of a wealthy Cleveland family, the statue is often referred to as the “Weeping Angel,” nicknamed for the tears streaking down the memorial’s face. The effect is a little disconcerting, but you can rest easy knowing that the “tears” are a normal reaction from discoloration on the bronze cast.
Oklahoma: The Center of the Universe
While Oklahoma is located in the center of the U.S., the “Center of the Universe” seems like a stretch. But once you learn that this mystifying locale in Tulsa is the site of a strange acoustic phenomenon, the name may make a little more sense. At first glance, the Center of the Universe is rather nondescript — the small concrete circle is surrounded by ordinary bricks. But when you stand on these bricks and emit a sound, the noise you make is amplified. Curiously, the noise cannot be heard by anyone outside of the circle, making it a personal echo chamber that needs to be heard to be believed.
Oregon: The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium
At this Oregon roadside attraction, the name says it all: The Freakybutture Peculiarium is a Portland art gallery that houses all things bizarre, weird, and totally abnormal. Perhaps the most conventional display is the Bigfoot statue near the entrance. From there, visitors walk through a series of interactive, often nightmarish art installations — think posing for an alien autopsy or sitting on Krampus’s lap. Since some of the scenes feature blood and gore, this attraction is not recommended for children.
Pennsylvania: Space Acorn
When a fireball streaked across the southwest Pennsylvania sky in 1965, the citizens of Kecksburg believed they witnessed a UFO crash into the nearby woods. The Army arrived on the scene to investigate, but they kept mum on the situation — even though they were reportedly seen leaving the area with a concealed large item. Years later, when the TV show Unsolved Mysteries flew to Kecksburg to film an episode about the crash, the crew constructed a replica of the UFO that resembled a giant acorn. The “Space Acorn” has stood in honor of Kecksburg’s unearthly history since then, becoming a popular roadside attraction for UFO enthusiasts.
Rhode Island: Green Animals Topiary Garden
When businessman Thomas E. Brayton purchased a home along Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay in 1872, he had the intention of turning the property into a tranquil country estate. Brayton hired a well-known gardener, Joseph Carreiro, to transform the land into a topiary masterpiece. Carreiro created a space filled with more than 80 ornamental shrubs — each cut into elaborate shapes, including the figures of camels, giraffes, and elephants. Since the garden resembled a plant-based zoo, Brayton’s daughter coined the name Green Animals, before bequeathing the property to the Preservation Society of Rhode Island upon her death in 1972.
South Carolina: Stumphouse Tunnel
The Stumphouse Tunnel was designed in the mid-1800s to be a major artery of the U.S. railway transportation system, connecting Charleston, South Carolina, with cities in Tennessee and Ohio. Significant headway was made at the onset of the project — until the Civil War began and workers were forced to abandon the tunnel being burrowed into the side of Stumphouse Mountain. After remaining unused for years, Stumphouse Tunnel was repurposed by Clemson University to grow blue cheese in damp, dark conditions. Today, it’s part of the park system in Oconee and can be explored by the public, made more popular by the spooky ghost stories surrounding the historic tunnel off Route 28.
South Dakota: Buffalo Ridge 1880 Cowboy Town
Although it doesn’t feature original buildings from the Wild West, Buffalo Ridge has something better — robots. Built in the 1960s as a tourist attraction, Buffalo Ridge 1880 Cowboy Town is a single street featuring classics from the olden days, including a saloon, a fort, and a gold mine. However, it’s also home to modern peculiarities, like a Chinese laundromat and semi-operational robots — making it a strangely memorable stop on your travels along Interstate 90 in the southeast part of the state.
Tennessee: Jack Daniel’s Grave
In addition to touring Jack Daniel’s Distillery in Lynchburg, Tennessee, true bourbon lovers should also make a stop at the Lynchburg City Cemetery, where the eponymous founder of the famous liquor brand is interred in an elaborate gravesite. Two wrought iron chairs are strategically placed in front of the gravesite, a gracious invitation for visitors to sit and spend some time with Jack Daniel, toasting the man with — what else? — a slug of whiskey. Of course, if you do partake in this ritual, remember to drink responsibly and to elect a designated driver.
Texas: Museum of the Weird
“Keep Austin Weird” is the Texas capital’s official slogan, so it’s no surprise that this unusual roadside attraction is as odd as the city itself. In fact, the Museum of the Weird might even surpass Austin’s quirky reputation — it’s been dubbed “America’s Strangest Attraction.” What began as a gift shop selling curios turned into a dime museum with displays featuring unnatural relics, such as shrunken heads, mummies, and a one-eyed pig. With exhibits including Texas Bigfoot sightings and haunted houses in Austin, the museum is also a draw for visitors interested in the paranormal.
Utah: Metaphor: The Tree of Utah
If you’re ever driving through northwest Utah, you may spot a 90-foot-tall psychedelic tree looming in the distance. This roadside attraction is called Metaphor: The Tree of Utah — designed and built by Swedish artist Karl Momen, who visited Utah in the 1980s. Momen was exploring the nearby Bonneville Salt Flats when he experienced a vision of a psychedelic tree that had bulbous orbs for leaves. Momen was so inspired by this vision that he created and installed the tree along Route 80 for passersby to enjoy to this day.
Vermont: Dog Chapel
At first glance, this chapel looks similar to all of the other quaint chapels dotting northeast Vermont’s rural landscape. But upon closer inspection, visitors will notice the church steeple is in the shape of a Labrador Retriever, and the fence line features carved images of dogs. Welcome to the Dog Chapel of St Johnsbury, which was created after a man’s near-death experience made him realize the importance of love. Dedicated to the animals who provide unconditional love, the interior of the Dog Chapel invites visitors to express affection for their favorite animals.
Virginia: World’s Oldest Edible Ham
Located inside the Isle of Wight County Museum in Smithfield, Virginia, is the world’s oldest edible ham — a whopping 119 years old! The ham was first cured in 1902 by a local meat processor, Gwaltney Foods, and was somehow forgotten and left undiscovered in the meatpacking house for 20 years. When the decades-old ham was found, owner P.D. Gwaltney Jr. was thrilled to learn that the old piece of meat remained edible. In a marketing ploy, Gwaltney put a collar on the ham and walked it around to demonstrate his company’s ability to preserve meat. After Gwaltney’s death, his pet ham was donated to the museum, where visitors to Virginia can see it today. Although it resembles a shriveled arm, the ham is still somewhat of a local celebrity, with a special display in the museum and its very own Twitter account.
Washington: Yard Birds Mall
If you’re in search of one-stop shopping on your Washington state road trip, look no further than Yard Birds Mall. Covering seven acres and two floors of indoor space, this eclectic shopping mall features dozens of independent merchants. Each store is unique, and you’ll find everything from music to antiques, gemstones, toys, jewelry, auto repair supplies, and countertops. The mall even features a black- light mini-golf course and its own mascot — a giant bird that marks the entrance and makes for a great photo op to commemorate your successful shopping trip.
West Virginia: Mothman Museum
Point Pleasant, West Virginia, is home to an entire museum dedicated to the Mothman — West Virginia’s very own version of Bigfoot. The Mothman is a bizarre creature that partly resembles a human, but with red eyes and massive insect wings. In 1966 and 1967, many residents of Point Pleasant allegedly spotted the Mothman, which led to an odd fascination with the existence of the ominous figure. Dedicated to everything Mothman, including eyewitness sightings, historical press, and memorabilia, the Mothman Museum is a captivating stop to learn more about local West Virginia lore.
Wisconsin: Dr. Evermor’s Forevertron
Dr. Evermor is the alter ego of Tom Every, the creator of Forevertron Sculpture Park. As an industrial worker from Wisconsin, Every amassed a large amount of wreckage from work projects throughout the years. After his retirement in 1983, he used these pieces to build Forevertron in the woods of Wisconsin, under the guise of Dr. Evermor — an eccentric inventor from Victorian England. The end result is a sprawling sculpture park built from historic scraps, including materials from NASA and dynamos built by Thomas Edison.
Wyoming: World’s Largest Jackalope
The state of Wyoming has a long-held fascination with the Jackalope, a mythical creature that resembles a giant jackrabbit with antlers. Since Wyoming is the self-proclaimed “Jackalope Capital of the World,” it makes sense that the world’s largest Jackalope can be found in a country store in Dubois. Standing eight feet tall and mounted with a saddle and harness, the stuffed creature makes for, if nothing else, a wacky photo op. Visitors may also notice the massive Jackelope “droppings” located beneath the cottontail, which only adds to the strangeness of this Wyoming roadside attraction.