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Roadside Attractions: Virus Safety Closings

Weeki Wachee Underwater Tea Party.

We held our breath, scrubbed our smartphones, washed our hands, and decided we might have something to add to the endless stream of pandemic posts. Follow us down the rabbit hole for a glimpse of abrupt changes underway across America’s pockmarked face of quirky attractions.

In response to the COVID-19 situation, it’s no surprise that many roadside attractions are closing, or changing open hours and tour availability. In particular, even if a region’s leisure road travel is unrestricted, large indoor attractions and museums have paused activity to stop community spread. Hotels in many places are shut down, public festivals canceled or postponed.

It’s most important for you and your family to stay safe. Help slow down the virus spread by staying home. While cooped up, if it seems fun at all, poke around our website or app for ideas for a someday trip.

Titan Missile Museum.

We conducted a quick Facebook and website check on a few of our favorite roadside attractions (see table below). Some have announced closings (not expected seasonality), some still appear to be open (barring a business operation restriction). Some attraction websites are late posting notification about closing (no surprise; an outsider artist with beer bottle palace skills may not be a WordPress wiz). One Philadelphia attraction — the Mutter Museum — announced its closing between the first time we checked and an hour later when we confirmed (on the plus side, when they do reopen, we anticipate great interest in their “Spit Spreads Death!” exhibit).

As the health crisis and response unfolds, some states have closed nearly all museums, indoor attractions, and theme parks. National park entrances fees have been waived, but many parks are closed (Yosemite N.P. gates shut today until further notice). In the last few days, California’s governor told everyone to stay home and non-essential businesses to shutter. Then Nevada, Illinois, Connecticut and New York issued similar emergency declarations. These restrictions will probably spread and tighten.

Slumbering in Rock City's Fairyland Caverns.

Keep in mind that an attraction’s status may change, and many don’t update online. Call or email them directly to find the most current info, and be patient if you don’t hear back right away or at all. These plucky businesses and projects — mom & pop, independent, volunteer-run, educational, nonprofit — may need your love and tourism attention when the dust settles.

Status of Select Roadside Attractions

As reported on attraction FB and web pages up to March 20, 2020:

State Town Attraction Status
AL Birmingham Sloss Furnaces Closed until further notice
AL Cullman Ave Maria Grotto Open, Grounds, Gift Shop
AL Huntsville U.S. Space & Rocket Center Closed thru April 12, 2020
AZ Dragoon The Thing Listed as open
AZ Green Valley Titan Missile Museum Closed until further notice
AZ Holbrook Wigwam Village Motel No. 6 Listed as open
AZ Picacho Rooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch Listed as open
CA Felicity Official Center of the World Listed as open, outdoor only.
CA Klamath Trees Of Mystery Listed as open
CA Leggett Chandelier Drive-Thru Tree Listed as open (stay in car)
CA Niland Salvation Mountain Unofficial outdoors
CA Piercy Confusion Hill Closed through April 6, 2020
CA Santa Cruz Santa Cruz Mystery Spot Closed through April 7, 2020
CO Colorado Springs Dragon Man’s Military Museum Closed until April 5, 2020
FL Homestead Coral Castle Listed as open, outdoors
FL Kissimmee Gator Land Closed until further notice, post daily "School of Crocs" video
FL Weeki Wachee Mermaids of Weeki Wachee Closed until further notice.
GA Lookout Mountain Rock City Closed until March 28, 2020
KS Cawker City World’s Largest Ball of Twine Outdoor unattended attraction
KS Lucas The Garden of Eden Closed until further notice
KY Williamstown Ark Encounter and Creation Museum Closed through April 1, 2020
LA Abita Springs Abita Mystery House Closed until further notice
LA New Orleans Mardi Gras World Closed until further notice
MD Baltimore National Great Blacks In Wax Museum Closed until April 2020
MD Silver Spring National Museum of Health and Medicine Closed until further notice
MI Dearborn Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation Closed until April 5, 2020
MI Ishpeming Da Yoopers Tourist Trap Listed as open, partly outdoors
MN Darwin Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota Outdoor unattended attraction
MO Branson Titanic Museum Closed until April 10, 2020
MO St. Joseph Glore Psychiatric Museum Closed until further notice
MO St. Louis City Museum Closed until April 2020
NE Minden Harold Warp’s Pioneer Village Listed as open
NJ Margate City Lucy the Elephant Closed until April 2020
NV Primm Bonnie and Clyde’s Death Car Closed until further notice
OH Wright Patterson AFB National Museum of the United States Air Force Closed until further notice
OR Gold Hill Oregon Vortex Closed until April 15, 2020
PA Philadelphia Mutter Museum Closed until further notice
SC Dillon South Of The Border Listed as open
SD Wall Wall Drug Listed as open
TN Memphis Graceland Closed until April 4, 2020
TN Pigeon Forge Alcatraz East Closed until further notice
TX Amarillo Cadillac Ranch Outdoor unattended attraction
TX Houston National Museum of Funeral History Closed until further notice
UT Moab Hole N" The Rock Listed as open
VA Danville AAF Tank Museum Closed until April 1, 2020
VA White Post Dinosaur Land Listed as open
VT Shelburne Shelburne Museum Closed until further notice
WI Spring Green House on the Rock Closed until further notice
WV New Vrindaban Prabhupada’s Palace of Gold Closed until further notice

Prairie Dog.

I’m very patient.

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