Roadside tourist attractions around the US that are actually worth the detour
- Road trips can provide endless opportunities for spontaneity, but it's not always easy to ensure that each detour will be worth the stop.
- So how can you know which of America's many roadside attractions are worth seeing?
- We pulled the top-rated roadside attractions from travel site Roadside America and found the best of the best on TripAdvisor that were highly-reviewed by travelers.
- From Utah's Hole N' the Rock to New Orleans' Mardi Gras World, here are the roadside tourist traps that you won't regret making time for.
- Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.
Near the Ohio and West Virginia border in the town of Point Pleasant, West Virginia, sits the Mothman Museum, a site dedicated to the local Mothman Legacy.
The story goes that in 1966 and 1967, residents of Point Pleasant claimed to have seen a human-like, winged insect creature with glowing red eyes about town. It was dubbed the "Mothman."Advertisement
Media attention and conspiracy theories inevitably followed, and "The World's Only Mothman Museum" now puts all things related to the local legend on display for visitors, from memorabilia and books ...
... to some creative reinterpretations of what the creature is said to have looked like.Advertisement
There are also newspaper clippings and written first-hand accounts from people who said they've seen the creature on display.
The museum also claims to have the world's largest collection of props used in the 2002 film "The Mothman Prophecies" starring Richard Gere and Laura Linney, based on the events surrounding the events in the late 1960s.Advertisement
And what's a museum devoted to an urban legend without a gift shop?
According to one TripAdvisor reviewer, it's a "hokey, albeit interesting and absurd, little museum in an out of the way place."Advertisement
The same reviewer said "the statue of the Mothman alone is worth a visit," referring to the metal statue erected just outside the museum.
Who knows? Maybe you'll even catch a glimpse of the creature, though maybe not with the same fright factor as the 2002 film's depiction seen below. Museum admission costs $4 for adults and $1 for kids under 10.Advertisement
About 45 minutes outside of Madison, Wisconsin, sits Dr. Evermor's Sculpture Park in North Freedom, Wisconsin.
There you will find the "world's largest scrap metal sculpture," dubbed Forevertron.Advertisement
Throughout the garden, industrial scrap metal is twisted and turned into birds, dragons, tubes, and other figures for a truly eccentric experience.
It's the brainchild of this guy, Tom Every, a retired industrial wrecker who invented the alter ego Dr. Evermor, an English Victorian creator, and constructed his sculpture collection as a means to ascend "into the heavens on a magnetic lightning force beam."Advertisement
The lifelong "professional destroyer" wanted to spend the rest of his life doing the opposite, according to Atlas Obscura.
The sculptures are made of recycled industrial relics, according to PBS Independent Lens.Advertisement
Every's work consists of scrap metal he's collected over the years. Somewhere within the twisted metal lies Thomas Edison dynamos, or generators, and a decontamination chamber from NASA's Apollo project.
TripAdvisor reviewers say visiting is like taking a "trip into another world" and is like "Dr Suess come to life!"Advertisement
But something stressed in many of the reviews is how difficult it can be to find the sculptures. Reviewers advise that a small sign off of Highway 12 leads you to what looks like an abandoned dirt road, but you're in the right place. Just keep going.
Construction of this park began in 1983. Today, the park continues to expand its pieces.Advertisement
Whether you geek out on medical history or you're simply a fan of the strange and unusual, the Mutter Museum may be worth a stop.
It's housed in the College of Physicians of Philadelphia in Pennsylvania.Advertisement
Inside is a vast collection of everything offering a "peek into the unknown," according to one TripAdvisor reviewer.
There are skeletons, preserved human remains, a menagerie of choked-on objects extracted from the throats of patients, and other medical abnormalities.Advertisement
There's also a plaster cast of the Siamese twins Chang and Eng Bunker that was taken upon their death in the 1800s.
Notably, the Mutter Museum is home to slivers of Albert Einstein's brain, saved from cremation by pathologist Thomas Harvey who hoped to uncover the secret of the scientist's genius with future study of the brain.Advertisement
As much of a macabre enthusiast's dream the Mutter Museum may be, be prepared to pay for admission — it costs $18 for adults, and photos are not allowed.
A bible-inspired theme park called Ark's Encounter in Williamstown Kentucky features a replica of Noah's Ark.Advertisement
According to Atlas Obscura, the replica measures up to the description of the ark in the Book of Genesis — 510 feet long, 51 feet high, and 85 feet wide.
The ark has three decks, and each deck is accessible by ramp. Because of this, the attraction is more than just handicap-accessible — patrons can check out scooters and strollers for their journey at the park.Advertisement
Inside the ark, you'll find replicas of people and animals. Some exhibits include animatronics of Noah and his family.
Plaques feature descriptions of each exhibit, leaving visitors both entertained and informed by giving them context for what they're looking at.Advertisement
A drive down the East Coast would lead you to a somewhat mysterious attraction. The Coral Castle in Homestead, Florida is known as a "great monument to lost love," according to Atlas Obscura.
Ed Leedskalnin built the castle after having his heart broken by his high school sweetheart.Advertisement
He made the castle out of fossilized coral, hence the attraction's title.
According to Atlas Obscura, Leedskalnin was very secretive about the building process of the structure, which he only worked on at night.Advertisement
The castle includes unique pieces, such as a sundial, a stone rocking chair, and a 500-pound heart shaped table.
Further west in New Orleans' Lower Garden District sits Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World.Advertisement
It's where the extravagant floats and props for the city's momentous Mardi Gras festival are produced and stored.
The warehouse owner Blaine Kern, pictured below, officially launched Kern Studios in 1947 and cemented himself as the go-to float designer amongst the city's Mardi Gras Krewes, or the different organizations that host the floats. He's since become known as "Mister Mardi Gras."Advertisement
And in 1984, he decided to open the working factory to the public for tours.
For $22, visitors can tour the studio and see some of the upcoming Mardi Gras festival floats in progress.Advertisement
You also get a rundown of the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans during your tour, and in addition to seeing upcoming floats, can see the ones from years passed.
One TripAdvisor reviewer said that after the New Orleans historic Preservation Hall attraction, Mardi Gras World was the highlight of their trip — which is saying something.Advertisement
In this western region of America is Utah's Hole 'N the Rock, where a man carved a house into a rock.
In the 1940's, Albert Christensen dug, carved, and blasted the easy-to-spot home into a rock. After 12 years of hard work, he had made a home for himself and his wife.Advertisement
After Albert and his wife died, the 5,000 square-foot home in Monticello, Utah, is now a tourist attraction.
Patrons can explore the ins and outs of this unique home. Reviews on Trip Advisor suggest that this is a quick detour and worth the stop.Advertisement
In Primm, Nevada, there's a hotel and casino named Whiskey Pete's.
There you'll find the "Death Car" used by notorious criminals Bonnie and Clyde in the 1930s during their two-year robbing and killing spree — and ultimately where they met their death in 1934.Advertisement
Glass panels surround the riddled car within Whiskey Pete's where lawman laid 100 bullets that pierced the armor, killing the pair. The display is free of cost and open 24/7.
You can also catch a glimpse of the shirt Clyde Barrow was wearing at the time of his death. Tears and faded blood stains can be seen on it.Advertisement
And when you're done reading about the infamous duo, you can head over to the slot machines — it's a casino, too, after all.
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