News from the offbeat tourist attraction landscape of Roadside America.
Sightings Vol. 13, No. 11 - December 14, 2017

Icy Patch Ahead, And Behind

A sagging jet stream chills most of the nation -- those parts that aren't on fire -- but the bitterest December day is beach weather compared to the frostbitten Cold War. Two attractions, one from each side of the conflict, bring heat to the 1960s frigidaire years: the LBJ and Wende museums. President Lyndon Johnson dragged America into Vietnam to battle the Reds, while the average Joe Soviet endured a dreary life of cheap light bulbs and bad public art. Life in 2017 has sometimes seemed unhinged, but 50 years ago it was even more nuts.

Lyndon B. Johnson Library, Museum, Robot

Wende Museum of the Cold War


Alaska's Santa Claus House

Santa Claus House.

The nation's northernmost North Pole-themed attraction. Gift shop and town (with candy cane street lights) dedicated to Christmas. Has all the trimmings, including live reindeer and the World's Largest Santa. Story


Weird Rock Powers of Devils Tower

Devils Tower.

Singular monolith of rock, USA's first National Monument, sacred place for Northern Plains Indians, and rendezvous spot for amiable Hollywood space aliens (November was the 40th anniversary of the release of Close Encounters of the Third Kind). Story


Mr. Bill: NJ's Happiest Halfwit?

Mr. Bill, Happy Halfwit.

From the comical end of the Muffler Men spectrum, gap-toothed, jug-eared Mr. Bill has greeted drivers on their way to the Jersey Shore for years, now with a much-needed power washing and new coat of paint. Story


Scaled for Success: 33-Foot-Long Iguana


A restaurant owner, on some instinctive level, knew just what he needed: a big red iguana in the parking lot. Two years to build, using over 120,000 hand-sculpted scales. Story


See Gators Without Leaving Your Car

Drive-Thru Gator Park.

This drive-thru gator park is designed for those who want to see Florida alligators without, um, going outside into Florida heat, rain, and bugs. Reptilian detachment just for you. Story


Gem Capital Of The World

Ruby City Museum.

In the Gem Capital of the World, the Ruby City Museum displays the World's Largest Sapphire (385 pounds), plus human skulls and a shrunken head from somewhere. Story


Excruciatingly Cute: The World's Smallest Park

World's Smallest Park.

Built in an abandoned post hole, the park is only 452 square inches, supports one tiny tree, and sits in the middle of a busy city street. Story


Trail's End? The World's Largest Covered Wagon

World's Largest Covered Wagon.

Designed and built by Ken Dahle in the 1970s (it was also Dahle's gas station). Currently awaiting a 21st century pioneer with four giant wheels. Story


Farewell, McDonald's Museum and Store No. 1 (Replica)

McDonald's Museum and Store No. 1.

An essential Fast Food Heritage Trail stop, the replica Store No. 1 interior closed years ago due to flooding. Barring a miracle, it will be demolished this month. The first McD's franchised by Ray Kroc was demolished on this same spot in 1984. Story


Hot cocoa time!
The Team

Spotted by Tipsters

Spotted by Tipsters

Pin population explosion fills our attraction map, while tipster Jeanie's visit to the World Erotic Art Museum earns it a spot on Santa's naughty list.

Latest Tips


Apps & Tools

Roadside America iPhone app Roadside America (iPhone)
1.9.1 update filters maps by Editor Rating and Been Theres, can export Saves and Been Theres for use on a 2nd device. Full app includes 12,000+ USA/Canada offbeat attractions, research targets, interactive Near Me maps. New places and "research targets" added frequently! Quirky categories, top-rated recommendations. Navigate with Waze, Google or Apple Maps.

$2.99 on the App Store (includes access to 1 of 7 regions); addtl. regions or "All Access" unlock is optional in-app purchase.
iPhone, iPod touch (iPad compatible)


Roadside Presidents iPhone app

Roadside Presidents App for iPhone
US Presidents, VPs, First Ladies, even dastardly assassins -- visit where they lived, worked, played, died! Updated for faster performance, with place maps, a new President, and turn-by-turn directions via Waze, Google or Apple Maps.

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


Roadside America My Sights Planner My Sights Route Planner - Save places you read about on Roadside America, 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!


Copyright © 2017, This Exit LLC, All rights reserved.
E-mail Comments, New Tips and Photo Submissions

Main image: LBJ Library and Museum, Austin, Texas