5 of the Best Roadside Attractions to Visit this Summer

3 min


It’s a strange year as far as travel goes. Many individuals and families are not ready to fly again yet.

The airline industry can’t seem to shake the pandemic fears that are only natural if you think about it.

Even if you’re wearing a mask on an airplane, you’re still stuck in there with other people, breathing the same air. You don’t know who has Covid-19 but is asymptomatic.

More people are going on driving vacations lately. If you’re among them, you might be visiting relatives or braving a theme park. Whatever you have in mind, though, you might want to pull over so you and the family can gawk at some of the roadside oddities that lurk all across our great nation.

Here are our top picks if oddball attractions interest you.

Graveface Museum

If you’re on the prowl for Georgia roadside attractions, perhaps the best pick for the Peach State is Graveface Museum. Located in Savannah, this museum features:

  • Strange taxidermy, including a five-legged cow
  • Various true crime artifacts
  • Serial killer paintings

That’s right, folks: you can now see Charles Manson’s sweatpants with your very own eyes. This is also the only spot where you can peruse original paintings by famed serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

Keep in mind that they’ve reduced their hours for the moment, so you’ll need to get there either Friday, Saturday, or Sunday afternoons.

Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo

If your road trip takes you through Arkansas, then make sure to stop by the official Arkansas Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo. This hidden gem:

  • Is an astonishing 117 years old
  • Lets you feed the alligators
  • Also features pygmy goats

The gators are fun, but what sets this place apart is one particular oddity that’s almost too gruesome for words to give it justice. That would be their “famous merman.”

What is the merman? You can peer at it for days and not come close to an answer. It’s a strange taxidermy piece, but its composition is both perplexing and nightmare-inducing.

Straight out of an old X-Files episode, it’s worth driving out of your way to see it, though once you do, you’re not likely to sleep very well for the next few nights.

Rainbow Rock Shop

Arizona’s Rainbow Rock Shop is another excellent choice if you want a combination of kitsch and warped Americana. In the roadside town of Hollbrook, you’ll love the Shop’s impressive dinosaur collection.

They’re made of cement, garishly painted, and some are about 25 feet high. You can pose with them and take some creative pictures for just a few cents. The owner created them, and you have to admire both the dedication and craftsmanship.

Most of these extinct marvels seem to smile at you, even the ones designed to look ferocious. You’ll enjoy having lunch in their shadow, and while you’re there, you can also stop and check out the nearby Petrified Forest National Park. It’s a fun two-for-one that’s well worth the trip.

Oasis Bordello Museum

If you’re in Wallace, Idaho, this summer, you’ll have to schedule a trip to the Oasis Bordello Museum. This is a little mining town, and the attraction’s location is the dubiously-named downtown area.

The museum opened in 1988 and has been perplexing locals and visitors ever since. It’s full of artifacts that supposedly come from old bordellos, including old-timey dresses, antique guns, and gas lamps. There are also stacks of VHS tapes carefully preserved behind glass, for no apparent reason.

If you pay for the grand tour, the bored-looking employees will take you past all the rooms, with lists of names commemorating the johns who have stopped there. Odd, considering that you’d probably want to avoid advertising your patronage to this den of ill repute.

World’s Biggest Ball of Paint

Honorable mention goes to the World’s Biggest Ball of Paint, located in Alexandria, Indiana.

This item started its life as an ordinary baseball, but that was before thousands of paint coats. It now weighs in at about 4,200 pounds, and somewhat resembles an enormous gray pod, out of which you almost expect some alien life form to come staggering.

If you’re excited to hit the road now to feast your eyes on some of these bizarre attractions, we don’t blame you. In the middle of a pandemic, it’s nice to forget about your troubles for a while and take in some of the strange and perverse sights that the American heartland has to offer.


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