Longhorn skull.
Enter through the nasal cavity of the Longhorn skull.

Building Shaped like a Longhorn Skull

Field review by the editors.

Amado, Arizona

This is one desert hallucination that doesn't evaporate as you approach. The giant longhorn skull serves as the entrance for the Longhorn Grill and Saloon. It's a real eye-catcher, and has appeared as a cinematic backdrop as long ago as 1974.

The skull was built in the early 1970s by "a fellah from California." according to "Al" at the restaurant. Al said that a lot of people around Amado incorrectly take credit "for building the skull," but wouldn't elaborate. "It's a political thing."

Cattle Skull entrance.

In fact, the skull was built by Michael Kautza from Tucson, who also built that city's Brave Black Bull and the giant Tiki head that used to stand at the now-gone Magic Carpet Golf (his colossal Sphinx sadly did not survive). The skull's horns reach 30 feet high.

The building behind the skull has hosted many businesses over the years, from a roofing company to a clothing store, each convinced that customers would want to enter through the nose of a giant skull.

Across the street from the skull was the Cow Palace Restaurant, a famous steakhouse and watering hole in the 1930s for meandering Hollywood stars. Framed on the walls were photos of the likes of John Wayne, Douglas Fairbanks, and Mae West, alongside mounted heads of wildlife. The Cow Palace remained open while the skull kept cycling through owners -- until a flood in downtown Amado closed the Cow Palace for good in September 2018.

The demise of the Cow Palace rekindled interest in the flood-resistant skull. Although its previous tenant had left in July 2012, the skull had remained vacant for years, until it was reopened as the Longhorn Grill and Saloon in late May 2019.

Building Shaped like a Longhorn Skull

Longhorn Grill and Saloon

Address:
28851 S. Nogales Hwy, Amado, AZ
Directions:
Longhorn Grill and Saloon. I-19 exit 48. Drive west on Arivaca Rd, then immediately turn right onto S. Nogales Hwy. The big skull will be on the right.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

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In the region:
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September 21, 2019

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