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Road Trip: The Weirdest American Landmarks
America has no shortage of strange roadside attractions. These six are the wackiest we’ve ever seen. You won’t believe your eyes!
As you drive across the U.S., you’re likely to pass some strange landmarks. If you’re into weird stuff, then you’re going to love this roundup of the top six roadside attractions, which includes a giant ball of twine, a vegetable mascot, buildings shaped like baskets and beagles, and more. Talk about photo opps! On your next stateside journey, grab your camera and pull over when you reach these unique and oh-so-memorable destinations.
Cadillac Ranch: Amarillo, Texas
America’s most colorful landmark is undoubtedly Cadillac Ranch, an art installation near historic Route 66 consisting of ten old Cadillacs planted face down in the ground. Visitors are encouraged to bring spray paint to add their own artistic touch to the display and keep the appearance of the site constantly changing. Cadillac Ranch has attracted legions of tourists since it was established back in 1974 by a group of artists called The Ant Farm.
World’s Largest Ball of Twine: Cawker City, Kansas
There’s no logical reason why anyone should want to assemble a massive ball of twine, but the weirdest American landmarks aren’t supposed to make sense. Started in 1953 by Frank Stoeber, the huge twine ball now weighs more than nine tons! Every August, community members host a “twine-a-thon,” so people can add twine to the ball, which contains a staggering eight million feet of twine wound together!
Dog Bark Park Inn: Cottonwood, Idaho
The husband and wife team of Dennis and Frances Sullivan sold wooden carvings on QVC in the mid-’90s and used the earnings to construct the Dog Bark Park Inn, a bed and breakfast designed to look like a giant beagle. The Idaho property opened for business in 2003, and it houses two bedrooms.
Corn Palace: Mitchell, South Dakota
The wildly decorated Corn Palace features towering, castle-like domes, colorful signage, and a rotating collection of murals constructed annually from bushels of corn, grains, and grasses. Of all the weird American landmarks on this list, the Corn Palace might be the most practical: In addition to what it calls its “a-maize-ing ear-chitecture,” the Corn Palace hosts concerts, festivals, sporting events, and other community activities.
Longaberger Basket Building: Newark, Ohio
The folks at the Longaberger basket company came up with a genius marketing idea when it came time to build their headquarters in Newark, Ohio. The gimmick? They designed the building to look just like one of their own woven baskets, complete with oversized handles. The seven-story facility is 160 times bigger than one of the company’s medium-sized baskets. Five hundred employees now work in the giant basket, which opened for business in 1997.
Jolly Green Giant Statue: Blue Earth, Minnesota
Another company that decided to turn its branding into a weird American landmark was Green Giant, the company that makes canned and frozen vegetables and is known for its Jolly Green Giant mascot. Since 1978, a 55-foot tall fiberglass statue of the giant has stood in the Minnesota city of Blue Earth. The interesting part of the story is that Green Giant didn’t even pay for the structure—the town wanted a quirky landmark and provided the money to construct it.
What's the weirdest landmark you've been to?
Scott Shetler is a freelance journalist and frequent traveler who enjoys national parks, urban nightlife, and everything in between. He blogs about his adventures at http://quirkytravelguy.com.