News from the offbeat tourist attraction landscape of Roadside America.
Sightings Vol. 11, No. 4 - May 28, 2015

World's Best Art Gallery:
The American Highway

Roadside art comes in a dizzying array of styles, from a conceptually outrageous 33-Foot-Tall Humanoid to an ill-proportioned Samuel Gompers. If it makes you pull off the road for a chuckle or a groan, it's gas money well spent. That's why Goofy Golf in Panama City Beach, Florida, merits a Five Smiley rating from our editors; not only is it one of America's oldest and most stunning roadside art environments (built in 1959), it's also a place where you can play, you know, miniature golf.

We would never drive miles out of our way just to visit any old la-di-da art museum. But we've done it to putt a golf ball past the swinging tail of Goofy Golf's giant monkey. In fact, we've done it just to gaze at the monkey.


Icons of Casual Cuisine

Big Chicken.The Big Chicken in Georgia and the Possum Monument in Florida date from a time when road food tributes were permanent, before people began Instagramming every pork chop and pizza slice eaten outside the home. The annual Possum Festival at the Possum Monument draws a crowd for its Possum Hash, yum.

Evil Clown 2.0

Circus Liquor Clown.Just when we thought we'd emptied the metaphorical Big Top on the subject of roadside Evil Clowns (in our last Sightings newsletter), up pops this leering neon nightmare in North Hollywood, California. The Circus Liquor Clown has been unsettling drivers since the 1960s. We really like little Xs for eyes.

Greatest Generation's Goodest War

National WWII MuseumWorld War II has been explored in countless films and books, but why settle for old media when you can experience it on a multimedia troop train or in a 4-D theater with narration by Tom Hanks? The National World War II Museum is as subtle as a tank tread when it comes to squeezing life out of its long-dead conflict.

Welcome to the Hotel California

Bravo Land.Who knew there was a Wild-West-theme strip mall off an I-5 exit ramp? Bravo Land entertains as it tries to get you to buy things, with rickety buildings (including the Hotel), comical taxidermy, and a censored Sequoia Slab o' Time that leaves you guessing which milestones have been pried off by the PC Police.


Spotted by Tipsters

Welcome Wall.This pig can fly: And wear a crown, too. It's prominently featured on the Austin, Texas, Wall of Welcome, spotted by tipster Sarah G. The 120-foot-long mosaic was painstakingly mortared into place at a 1950s-era shopping center.

Pryor.Pryor back in Peoria: He's been dead since 2005, and it's taken nearly all of those ten years to erect a Richard Pryor statue in his hometown, which still has mixed feelings about the former comedian and film star. Tipster Micky visited mere days after it was dedicated.

Crochet Museum.Poodles, bears, unicorns: We unconditionally support any museum housed in a lime green former photo booth that labels itself "world famous." Jarrod M.'s brief encounter with the World Famous Crochet Museum may lead to an OD of the Cute, but it's worth it.

VW spider-bug.VW Mega-Spider: We've seen several variations of the "spider bug," a VW Beetle outfitted with metal legs to give it an insect-like appearance. But tipster Joe R. came across one larger than any we've seen before -- built by the mayor of the town.

For more fun discoveries and updates from the road, head over to the Latest Tips.


Latest News on Roadside America

Barney Smith.Happy birthday (May 25th) to America's eldest statesman of roadside attractions, Barney Smith, who still runs his Toilet Seat Art Museum at age 94. Thanks to tipster cydav for visual proof that Vanna Whitewall is now modestly dressed; to Steve who visited Trees of Mystery and noticed that Paul Bunyan's arm had fallen off; and to Barb P. for reporting that the former World's Largest Goldfish Cracker had apparently been eaten by a shark.

Fun is Real.Will Russell assures us he's finally closed on the Guntown Mountain property that will be transformed into the much anticipated Funtown Mountain. Opening "awesoming" day in Cave City, KY is June 19, 2015!

America's Largest Pyramid has reopened, after a decade of tomb-like idleness, with an indoor swamp and bowling alley. We also welcome back the Floating Bridge of Vermont, which had been closed for repairs since 2008, and the World's Largest Talking Loon, who had been mute since someone broke her voice box button.

Online enthusiasm to save the Evil Food Circus Clown continues; the sign owners say it will survive. A Kickstarter helps get Toby Fraley's robots set up in Pittsburgh's airport.

Kudos to Stanton, Iowa, for turning its defunct Coffee Pot Water Tower into a ground-level giant coffee pot photo-op, while in Massachusetts Jumbo the Elephant finally has a statue worthy of his name, and in Indiana the World's Largest Anatomically Correct Brain now glows at night.

Follow our Twitter stream o' news: @roadsideamerica


Your vigilant monkey monitors,
The Team

On the Web

Roadside America iPhone app

We've launched mobile-friendly improvements on the Roadside America web site. View a page in a smaller browser window (or on a mobile phone or tablet), and tips, stories, maps, etc. flexibly reshuffle for better readability (we're still working on a few sections).


Apps & Tools

Roadside America iPhone app Roadside America for iPhone
11,000+ USA/Canada offbeat attractions, inc. new research targets, interactive "Near Me" maps.

$2.99 on the App Store (incl. access to 1 region); addtl. regions or "All Access" unlock is optional in-app purchase.
iPhone, iPod touch (iPad compatible)


Roadside Presidents App for iPhone
Find US Presidents, VPs, First Ladies, even dastardly assassins -- where they lived, worked, played, died!

$2.99. iPhone, iPod touch, (iPad compatible). Available on the App Store.


Roadside America iPhone app My Sights Route Planner - FREE! Save places you read about on Roadside America to your computer desktop, create a trip, and then email it to friends or export a .cvs file to upload onto a GPS device (Garmin, TomTom, etc.). Learn more and try it!


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Main image: Goofy Golf, Panama City Beach, Florida.