Saturday, June 02, 2007

Roadside Attractions

Awhile ago, Lydia at Arty Velarde posted a photo of a large muffler man. I wrote a comment that I love the huge, old fiberglass and concrete animals, people, and structures that were created around the country. Lydia asked if I would post my photos. I grew up in South Dakota and if you've ever driven across our state, you know that it's very flat - and there are lots of kitschy items along the way. Here are just a few from photos I've taken on road trips back home:

At the edge of the Badlands on the western side of South Dakota you'll find Prairie Dog Village - which is a vast network of prairie dog tunnels, mounds, and actual prairie dogs - lots of 'em. The photo on the left is of the giant prairie dog that sits at the village entrance (made of concrete I believe). The Ranch Store is on the edge of Prairie Dog Village. And I've included a photo of an actual prairie dog.

In the town of Mitchell, South Dakota there is a Corn Palace. The exterior is decorated with pictures, mosaics, and murals made entirely of corn! Near the Corn Palace is the Corn Palace Motel where we stayed one night. Below the motel sign is a huge steer and across the street is this huge buffalo. I don't know the man standing beside the buffalo, but thought it would make a fun photo.


Next we travel to Huron, South Dakota where there is a giant pheasant atop the Dakota Inn. The ring-necked pheasant is the official state bird of South Dakota and people fly in from all over during hunting season.

If you've ever driven in South Dakota, you've heard of Wall Drug. There are signs everywhere for this giant gift shop-o-kitsch. Wall Drug takes up most of the downtown strip of the town of Wall and sells everything you can imagine. It's full of trinkets, jewelry, hats, t-shirts, cups, boots, film, etc. There are also alot of unusual attractions, like robotic singing cowboys, dinosaurs, jackalopes, a gorilla, cuckoo clocks, bargirls, bucking horses. I'm sure I took more photos when we were there, but I can't seem to locate them. Here are just a few of the giant dinosaurs out front, the farmyard animals, and a jackalope (which is supposed to be a cross between a jackrabbit and an antelope).


On the southern Oregon Coast we found Prehistoric Gardens. There are alot of different dinosaurs, but I only have this one photo. I wish I had taken more.

My last photos are of Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. I took the photo on the left when we were traveling south on Highway 101 a few years ago. It's from the Trees of Mystery near the California Redwood Forest. The photo on the right is Paul and Babe from Bemidji, Minnesota - I borrowed this pic from another website for comparison.


If you want to see more big sculptures, here are some fun websites I found:

World's Largest Roadside Attractions website:
Gallery of Huge Beings:

enjoy! Emma Pod


Arty Velarde said...

That was hilarious! Thank you for making me smile this morning! You know that rabbit with the saddle? Did you sit on it?

SCquiltaddict said...

I LOVE these...they are so oooo funny...theres a pbs show about hour tour of all of them...tooo coollll...people used to know how to live didnt they?!

caseytoussaint said...

Thank you Mary! I had so much fun looking through these, what a wonderful post. I've always loved kitschy roadside art!

Teri C said...

I've been there and thanks for the memories!!

juj said...

Oh! Your photos brought back so many wonderful memories for me. Thank you for posting them. My dad was from Selby, SD and when I was a kid we drove to his HS reunion from Missouri, stopping at all the wonderful attractions along the way. I still dream of taking that trip again someday. I too have a big soft spot for all the giant wonders across the US.

phthaloblu said...

This was great! I rememjber the movie Michael from a couple of years ago where John Travolta played a rough angel? They travelled all over and these types of things were in the movie. The largest ball of twine, etc. lol!

Snakebite said...

I'll be heading west on I-90 today (6/15) and might even take a few pics along the way.