A Swell Time To Be Alive
Let's kick-start this by pointing out that we are in fact living in 2015. Why is that important? Because it disproves the 2014 Doomsday of the Prophet Isaiah (The guy in Niagara Falls, not the Bible). Phew! And he still has a great attraction. Two thumbs up to us all.
Right now 2015 is a particularly vivid time to be alive. Friday the 13th is followed by Valentine's Day, and then Presidents' Day is followed by Mardi Gras: a five-day roller coaster of hoodoo, love, flag-waving, and debauchery. Yee-hah!
Eye on Musee Conti
Some people want to see Beyonce and Elvis when they tour a wax museum -- but for everyone else there's Musee Conti, the Wax Museum of New Orleans, with dioramas that include battling prostitutes, Napoleon in a bathtub, and Voodoo!
24-Hr. Saucer Repair Service
Known only as "Coyote," a guy wearing bunny ears and an alien mask in the desert repairs his own fleet of flying saucers. You may have seen him at Burning Man and said, "I wonder where he goes in his off-hours?" Turns out it's just off Interstate 8.
Underwater Bungalow On The Coast
Before SpongeBob there was Sealab 2021, and before Sealab 2021 there was the real SeaLab -- currently beached in a parking lot. It's just part of the dream of underwater living made real at the Man in the Sea Museum.
A Giant Among Spine-Crackers
"Dr. Sid" Williams ran the largest chiropractic school in the world, and just in case the world failed to appreciate his importance, he had exact replicas of his million-dollar hands cast in bronze -- giant size -- and placed them out by the highway.
Fire-Belching Mantis of Vegas
Another spawn of Burning Man (see Saucers above) is a giant flaming Praying Mantis that now terrifies tourists in a Las Vegas shopping plaza. Fire spews from its antennae in intelligently directed bursts; we suspect there's a watchful Hive Mind in that plaza, somewhere....
State Pages: Smarter Than Ever!
Hey, our editorial team rebuilt the State Pages. Highlighting favorite places we've written about, we realized important must-see attractions eventually fall off the page, suffer a terrible drop in annual visitors, go out of business, catch fire, then collapse into rubble overgrown with prickly weeds crawling with ticks, maybe.
Should be better now, with "New Reports" and "Top Rated Attractions" sections. Note: Every state is not created equal, so we handicap sparser ones and do what we can with oddity-glutted giants. As always, each page links to its own "Everything" list. Enjoy!
Spotted by Tipsters
Space Shuttle Detritus: Tipster Susan came across quite a find in Florida: a surviving external tank from the retired Space Shuttle fleet. This behemoth relic is not in a museum or locked away in some space parts yard; it's just sitting by the side of a road.
Body Slices - Back in the Pink: After years in storage, Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry has returned its sliced human body to public display, according to Jacob "Carpetbagger" Krejci. "There is now a whole collection of gruesome sliced human body parts."
What's In A Name?: Obviously a lot when it comes to the Longest-Named Thing in America: one word that's 44 letters long. Tipster Anthony B tracked down a Welcome sign in its hometown, and it's an impressive example of creative type compression.
Birdhouse Paradise of Bill Larkin: Bill lives out the country, in a geodesic dome that's packed with, and surrounded by, thousands of birdhouses. Tipster Crystal JD calls him, "a very endearing man." Definitely an attraction where you'll want to wear a hat.
Barney Smith's Toilet Seat Art Museum: Tipster Kim G. stopped by to visit Barney, who is 93, still making his toilet seat art, and still giving tours of his museum (which is in his garage). Barney was up to 1,150 toilet seat masterworks when last we checked.
For more fun discoveries and updates from the road, head over to the Latest Tips.
Yesteryear Travel: Century 21 Calling...
Another reason to be happy to be alive right now is because right now is the 21st Century. The cast and crew who made Century 21 Calling.... in 1962 would have been amazed by our 21st Century world, but wondering why every American city doesn't have its own Space Needle.
Latest News on Roadside America
Will Russell is transforming Cave City's Guntown Mountain into the ambitiously nutty "Funtown Mountain" by 2016. The Introspective Art Guys let us know their larger-than-life statues in Houston are getting a makeover. The mighty atom-smasher of Pennsylvania has been grounded but not smashed; its owner wants to save it. John Wayne's Alamo may be revived, and the Dalton Gang Hideout was named to the National Register of Historic Places. In Las Vegas, the Mob Museum now displays Nucky's death suit from Boardwalk Empire, and Sin City's Blue Angel has providentially been spared. Graceland Too's priceless collection of Elvisabilia was sold for peanuts. The Ford Rouge Factory Tour is now more of a 4-D ride than a factory tour. The Giant Whiskey Barrel of Los Angeles is being tapped later this week. And finally, Barber Jon’s Oddities was the victim of a massive break-in, only to have it all mysteriously returned a few weeks later. Good news, but don't thieves know where to pawn a Bigfoot head and alien fetus?
Keep pace with important attraction updates on the Roadside America Twitter feed.