The Weirdest Tourist Attraction in Every State (#28 Freaked Us Out!)

Discover the hidden allure of America's oddest roadside wonders.

A tourist looking at his phone
Updated May 28, 2024
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You’ve seen the country’s major sites, visited the national parks, explored both coasts, toured Disneyland and the Big Apple, and everywhere in between.

But it’s a big country, and fascinating bits of history and unique local color lie around every turn. So where’s a quirky-adventure seeker to start?

We’ve rounded up 50 truly bizarre places to use as jumping-off points for your next cross-country road trip. So grab your top travel credit cards and hit the road in search of these weird wonders.

Alabama: Unclaimed Baggage Center

Yakobchuk Olena/Adobe male is carrying luggage in hall before trip

For the most part, travelers separated from their luggage are reunited with their bags. But what happens to the .03% of bags that go unclaimed month after month?

They end up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama, a marketplace for lost items.

For the most part, the store sells electronics and clothes, but you can also purchase an unopened mystery bag that could include some weird, wacky collectibles that tend to turn up in lost luggage.

Alaska: The Hammer Museum (Haines)

DaiMar/Adobe woman in a hat and pink jacket looks back at a huge glacier

If you think a hammer seems like too mundane an object to warrant its own museum, a trip to Alaska’s Hammer Museum will change your mind.

The museum showcases more than 2,500 hammers dating from prehistoric times up until now.

Once you’re in Haines, you won’t even need help from a GPS to find the museum: Just look for the 20-foot hammer that stands higher than the museum itself.

Arizona: Mystery Castle (Phoenix)

Scott Griessel/Adobe two hikers on rugged trail

The Mystery Castle is a whimsical home made by a father for his daughter, Mary Lou Gully.

The oddly shaped castle is perched on a rock and includes 18 southwestern-themed rooms with 13 fireplaces.

The cost of admission is just $10 for adults and $5 for kids between five and 12. Note that because much of the castle lacks a roof, tours aren’t available in rainy weather.

Arkansas: Alligator Farm and Petting Zoo (Hot Springs)

oneinchpunch/Adobe woman at zoo

Alligators aren’t the only critters at the Hot Springs Alligator Farm, but they’re definitely the main draw.

Along with rabbits, ducks, pygmy goats, and emus, the petting zoo features baby alligators for guests to hold.

You can also buy an alligator-feeding ticket or simply see the show from a safe distance if you’re not sold on the idea of feeding a massive reptile.

California: Winchester Mystery House (San Jose)

JHVEPhoto/Adobe The Winchester House in California

The Winchester mansion is an architectural oddity with staircases to nowhere, hidden ballrooms, more than 2,000 doors, and just one shower.

The house’s owner, Sarah Winchester, spent years adding alcoves and wings to her mansion, which ended up with 160 rooms.

A full guided tour of the house takes more than an hour, but you can take a 15-minute tour that ensures you see the house’s oddest highlights.

Colorado: The World's Largest Taxidermy Collection (Denver)

Ted/Adobe elk head mounted on a wall in a mansion

The Denver Museum of Nature & Science is home to one of the largest taxidermy collections in the world.

Specifically, it owns the largest entomology collection on the globe with 1.1 million separate specimens.

The museum has a total of nine separate collections that include tiger beetles, Colorado bison, and woodpeckers.

Connecticut: The Submarine Force Museum (Groton)

jaypetersen/Adobe Groton Lighthouse

The U.S. Navy operates Groton’s Submarine Force Museum, which hosts the USS Nautilus, a WWII-era submarine.

During the Cold War, the Nautilus became the first sub in the world to sail across the geographic North Pole. Along with the Nautilus, the museum has more than 30,000 submarine-related artifacts.

Each year, it hosts a deep-dive golf tournament, which (alas) is hosted on land and benefits the historical society.

Delaware: The Zwaanendael Museum (Lewes)

yvonne navalaney/Adobe Sandy Path to the Beach Cape Henlopen

Delaware was first settled by the Dutch, who founded the town of Swanendael in 1631. ‘

The museum offers a fascinating look at early American history, including the lives of enslaved people, indigenous civilizations, and European colonists.

The museum also curates an oral history collection, so if you have an experience with Delaware’s segregated beaches or another aspect of history showcased by the museum, consider sharing your story.

Florida: Coral Castle Museum (Miami)

JHVEPhoto/Adobe Coral Castle Museum

The Coral Castle is a sculpture garden with artwork made entirely by one man.

Ed Leedskalnin devoted decades to carving 1,100 tons of coral into intricate, elaborate sculptures that he installed in the dead of night.

To this day, no one knows exactly how he made his coral rocking chairs, gate, or telescope, but visitors have been enjoying the art since 1923.

Georgia: The Tybee Island Light Station and Museum (Tybee Island)

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Tybee Island Lighthouse

Georgia’s oldest lighthouse was built at the tail end of the 18th century. At 145 feet tall, it’s also the state’s tallest lighthouse.

For a truly unique experience, book an after-hours sunset tour where you can enjoy the splendor of a Southern sunset from the tower.

Or, if you visit during the day, swing by the Tybee Island Museum, which is across the street by a military battery dating back to 1899.

Hawaii: The Spam Jam Festival (Waikiki)

zepkatana/Adobe spam on stick

Hawaii is well known for its spam-centric dishes. Whether you love the canned meat or hate it, you’ll have a fascinating time at the Spam Jam festival held annually at Waikiki.

The festival lasts two weeks and features some of the best Hawaiian spam-based foods, from ramen to nachos to pizzas.

As long as you’re willing to venture into the unknown, you might walk away from the celebration with a newly acquired love of all things spam.

Idaho: The Dog Bark Park Inn (Cottonwood)

knowlesgallery/Adobe small water fall flows into the Snake River in Idaho

The Dog Bark Park Inn isn’t your typical bed and breakfast, since the building itself is shaped (and painted) like a giant beagle.

However, the site’s main draw as a roadside attraction is its art gallery of chainsaw-carved wooden dogs, all handmade by the married couple who own and maintain the inn.

Depending on when you visit, you can watch the artists make their chainsaw art.

Illinois: The Leaning Tower of Niles (Niles)

nejdetduzen/Adobe Leaning Tower view in Niles Town in Illinois

Can’t make it to Pisa, Italy this year? The Leaning Tower of Niles, Illinois isn’t as old or large as the original, but it can definitely stand on its own merits.

While you can’t currently tour the building’s interior, the surrounding park is the perfect area for a walk or a picnic.

Indiana: The World's Largest Ball of Paint (Alexandria)

Michael Carroll/Adobe Indiana: Turkey Run State Park

Yes, you read that right: Indiana has the world’s biggest ball of paint.

At the center of the sphere is a humble baseball, which was then painted with 23,400 coats of paint until it reached 4,000 pounds.

The ball is the brainchild of the Carmichael family, who have been painting (and painting) the ball for nearly 40 years.

Iowa: The World's Largest Strawberry (Strawberry Point)

muratart/Adobe sunrise over the corn field

Iowa is home to the world’s largest truck stop, the world’s largest frying pan, and the world’s largest strawberry.

The latter is a 15-foot sculpture made of fiberglass and (fittingly) installed at the city hall in Strawberry Point.

Kansas: The Garden of Eden (Lucas)

Stockphotoman/Adobe windmill in a pasture with a fence

Kansas’ Garden of Eden isn’t the oldest garden in the world, but it is the U.S.’s oldest folk art installation.

The original cabin was built by a Civil War veteran in 1907, as were the many wooden statues that adorn the outside of the building.

You can take a self-guided tour around the statues, which feature Biblical figures like Adam, Eve, Cain, Abel, and the devil.

Kentucky: Cocaine Bear (Lexington)

Christopher Boswell/Adobe aerial view of Lexington Kentucky

Now made famous by the recent movie, Cocaine Bear is the Kentucky bear who consumed 15 million dollars’ worth of cocaine.

The bear didn’t actually go on a drug-fueled rampage — instead, it was found dead in the woods, then stuffed and preserved.

Today, you’ll find it at a mall in Lexington (complete with a gift shop and T-shirts). Depending on the time of year, you’ll find the bear bedecked in a crown and several spangled necklaces.

Louisiana: The Abita Mystery House (Abita Springs)

GJGK_Photography/Adobe balcony with plants in the French Quarter New Orleans

Just outside of New Orleans, you’ll find this one-of-a-kind roadside attraction.

It’s home to exhibits like an airstream trailer with a UFO poking through the roof, a miniature jazz funeral, and art-bedecked junk cars.

You’ll also experience a little bit of history in the form of a 90-year-old Creole cottage, an old pavilion, and a variety of Mardi Gras trinkets.

Maine: The Umbrella Cover Museum (Peaks Island)

Jo Ann Snover/Adobe Peaks Island ferry dock on a summer afternoon

The idea behind Portland’s Umbrella Cover Museum isn’t necessarily to observe the individual artistic patterns of umbrella covers, but to celebrate the mundane joys of everyday life.

To get to the museum, you’ll take a 20-minute boat ride off the coast of Portland where you’ll have ample time to enjoy the scenery.

Maryland: The National Museum of Health and Medicine (Silver Spring)

Glynnis Jones/Adobe Maryland state flag in front of the capitol state house in Annapolis

This military-centric museum showcases some of the oddest sites on the East Coast — starting with shattered pieces of Abraham Lincoln’s skull.

Ongoing exhibits include the Civil War’s impact on military medicine, advances in facial reconstruction, and a preserved medical bay from the 2007 conflict in Iraq.

Massachusetts: The Paper House (Rockport)

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe Rockport Massachusetts USA downtown and harbor

If you haven’t seen a liveable house made entirely from newspaper (we’re guessing you haven’t) then a trip to the Paper House in Rockport is worth your time.

The 1920s-era house was the brainchild of Elis Stenman, an engineer who took his passion for paper to the next level by building his home and, eventually, constructing furniture out of newspaper.

If you look closely in certain areas of the house, you can still read some of the newspaper headlines.

Michigan: The Pickle Barrel House Museum (Grand Marais)

csterken/Adobe Sable Falls at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Normal-shaped houses (including those made of paper) are all well and good, but pickle-barrel-shaped houses? They’re a cut above.

This particular house was a former beachside cottage that was briefly used as an ice cream stand.

Now, it’s once again decorated as a 1920s-era beachside cottage — this time as a museum for visitors interested in exploring the past.

If you’re looking for something else to do in Grand Marais, check out the nearby Gitche Gumee Agate and History Museum, which showcases an impressive collection of agate and other local rocks and minerals.

Minnesota: The Paul Bunyan Historic Museum (Akeley)

scandamerican/Adobe Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, Legendary Lumberjack

If you’re intrigued by supersized statues, it’s worth swinging by the Paul Bunyan Museum to see the massive statue of Paul Bunyan out front.

Even kneeling, the depiction of the larger-than-life folk hero figure is twice the height of the museum. Inside the building, you’ll find a variety of exhibits and artifacts devoted to the history of the Akeley area.

And if you swing by the town during the last weekend in June, you can enjoy celebrating summer during Paul Bunyan Days.

Mississippi: The Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum (Tupelo)

C5Media/Adobe MS mural in downtown Tupelo

Maybe a visit to the Elvis Presley Birthplace Museum is a bit of a cliché, but there’s no way around it: The Tupelo Museum is easily one of the most fascinating attractions in Mississippi.

Along with the two-bedroom house Elvis was born in, the museum is also the site of the church the Presley family attended — crucially, the building that introduced the burgeoning musician to gospel music which was foundational to his style.

Missouri: Wonders of Wildlife National Museum and Aquarium (Springfield)

TED/Adobe skyline of Springfield Missouri at dusk

The best aquarium in the United States isn’t along the coast but in land-locked Missouri.

The Wonders of Wildlife Museum and Aquarium has earned the title for the past five years in a row, and once you visit the aquarium, you’ll see why.

The aquarium’s animals are a big enough draw on their own, but the museum also has historical artifacts like Ernest Hemingway’s sailboat.

The museum is on the pricy side, so bring your AAA card to get a discount, or consider saving money with an annual pass.

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Montana: Berkeley Pit Overlook (Butte)

Silvy K./Adobe old mining headframes in a huge copper mine

Butte, Montana is an old mining town with a fascinating history, but its strangest point of interest (or at least its most vividly colorful) might be the Berkeley Pit, a.k.a. “The Pit of Death.”

Until 1982, the pit was an open-air copper mine. Once the mine shuttered, the pit filled with groundwater, eventually becoming today’s heavily contaminated 1,800-foot-deep pit.

While its deep blue-green color is lovely to look at, the heavy-metal-laden water makes the site one of the most environmentally disastrous in the United States.

Fascinatingly, though, several microorganisms thrive in the toxicity, though larger creatures should stay away: A loud siren wails over the water at regular intervals to keep unsuspecting birds from landing on the acidic water.

Nebraska: Carhenge (Alliance)

MarekPhotoDesign.com/Adobe carhenge a modern replica of Stonehenge

All sorts of cities across the U.S. have their own version of Stonehenge, from Orem, Utah, to Maryhill, Washington.

But far fewer have a Carhenge, a to-scale Stonehenge replica made entirely from — you guessed it — cars.

While the sculpture itself is certainly worth a stop on its own, you’ll find plenty of other fun activities within city limits, including an old frontier town and a sculpture garden.

Nevada: The Clown Motel (Tonopah)

MelissaMN/Adobe Clown Motel sign in Tonopah Nevada

If you’re looking for a truly unique motel experience, you won’t find anything weirder than Nevada’s Clown Motel.

The massive clown on the neon marquee is just the start of the strange vibe that sets the site apart. The building itself was built next to a cemetery in the early 1900s, which could explain claims that the motel is haunted.

Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, though, we’re guessing you’ll be spooked by your stay in one of the motel’s 31 rooms — especially if you read It at an impressionable age.

Each room is clown-themed and decorated with clown toys donated by enthusiasts from around the globe.

New Hampshire: The American Classic Arcade Museum (Laconia)

Sergey + Marina/Adobe high-speed white boat with a black awning moves quickly

Unlike a typical museum, guests aren’t cautioned away from touching the exhibits at the American Classic Arcade Museum.

Instead, visitors can play more than 250 classic, coin-operated arcade games, including some of the rarest games from the 70s and 80s.

If you have fond memories of playing Pandora’s Palace, Cloak & Dagger, or the Star Trek Strategic Operations Simulator, the museum is a must-see for revisiting your childhood.

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New Jersey: Lucy the Elephant (Margate)

MSPhotographic/Adobe Lucy the elephant in margate New Jersey

Lucy the Elephant is a towering six-story creation that has graced Margate, New Jersey since 1881.

While Lucy functioned as a tavern throughout the first half of the 1900s, she was granted National Historic Landmark status in 1976.

A fence now keeps visitors a safe distance away as they enjoy picnicking and playing at the nearby park.

New Mexico: The International UFO Museum and Research Center (Roswell)

Kristina Blokhin/Adobe main street road in New Mexico

You don’t have to believe in the Roswell conspiracy theory to have a wonderful time at the city’s International UFO Museum.

Though, spending a few hours combing through the audio, visual, and written recordings of the so-called Roswell Incident could turn you into a believer by the time you leave.

Along with documenting the Roswell Incident, the museum has a comprehensive collection of information about UFO sightings around the world.

New York: The House of Frankenstein Wax Museum (Lake George)

lightphoto2/Adobe Lake George from Black Mountain

Whether you’re a horror fan or not, the House of Frankenstein Wax Museum has plenty to offer.

The museum’s monstrous wax figures are animatronic rather than stationary, which adds an extra level of spooky fun to the experience.

Exhibits include Frankenstein’s monster, assorted ghosts and ghouls, and a cape-wearing skeleton delightedly playing the organ against the backdrop of a shimmering golden curtain.

North Carolina: The World's Largest Chest of Drawers (High Point)

Craig Zerbe/Adobe autumn sunset at Flat Rock on the Blue Ridge Parkway

Where else would you find the world’s largest chest of drawers but in the self-styled Furniture Capital of the World?

The nearly 40-foot statue of a Victorian-style chest of drawers was brought to life in 1926 and has been remodeled multiple times since then.

If 40 feet doesn’t seem all that impressive, wait until you see the statue with your own eyes. The sight of it looming over the nearby houses and traffic lights will cause you to reconsider.

North Dakota: The Enchanted Highway (I-94)

Bram/Adobe Interstate 94 Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The Enchanted Highway isn’t exactly a destination. Instead, it’s a delightful 32-mile experience along I-94 in North Dakota.

As you drive, you’ll see larger-than-life statues made entirely from scrap metal, including a farming family made of tin and a 110-foot-tall sculpture of a flock of geese in flight.

The latter has been the Guinness World Record-holder in the largest scrap metal sculpture category since 2002.

Ohio: The American Sign Museum (Cincinnati)

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe cincinnati ohio usa

Cincinnati is a storied city full of quirky sites, but if you have time for just one, we recommend the American Sign Museum.

The 20,000-square-foot museum showcases signs neon and otherwise, and the museum is always working on expanding its collection.

Inside the museum is a neon workshop where you can watch today’s signmakers bend tubes and assemble signs that will light up streets across the country.

Oklahoma: The Blue Whale of Catoosa (Catoosa)

MelissaMN/Adobe road side attraction blue whale

Oklahoma is one of the last places you’d expect to see a Great Blue Whale — which is one reason Catoosa’s Whale is worth a stop.

In the 70s, zoologist Hugh Davis wanted to give his grandkids a fun place to splash and swim, which led to the creation and installation of this 20-foot, bright-blue whale around a local pond.

For a special treat, stop by during the holiday season when the whale is lit up with Christmas lights.

Oregon: The Prehistoric Gardens (Port Orford)

M. Makela/Adobe Port of Port Orford Oregon

Want to experience Oregon’s coastal rainforests in a completely new way? Take a dinosaur-studded hike through the Prehistoric Gardens along Highway 101.

A quick walk through the rainforest itself is worth a stop, especially if you’re looking for a way to stretch your legs while you wind down the highway.

And the 23 life-size dinosaurs located along the trail make the experience that much more enjoyable.

Pennsylvania: The Haines Shoe House (York)

jonbilous/Adobe York County courthouse

Newspaper ads and billboards are all well and good, but isn’t the best way to market a shoe store really to build a five-story boot-shaped home in the middle of central Pennsylvania?

Shoe store owner Mahlon Haines certainly thought so, which is why he commissioned this one-of-a-kind home in 1948.

Haines never intended to live in the house, and throughout the decades it’s functioned as a newlywed rental, ice cream shop, museum, and (now) as an Airbnb.

Rhode Island: The Newport Tower (Newport)

travelview/Adobe Newport Tower and Channing Statue

The crumbling stones of the Newport Tower are all that remains of the oldest building in Rhode Island.

Although the tower was likely built as a windmill, no one can say with complete certainty what the structure’s purpose was or who built it.

Although carbon dating shows that the tower was built no earlier than the 1600s, some hope to prove that a group like the Knights Templar built and abandoned the structure in the 1100s.

South Carolina: The Angel Oak Tree (Charleston)

Benjamin/Adobe angel oak tree in John’s Island South Carolina

Oak trees aren’t the tallest trees in America, but the oldest can grow branches so long and wide that they spread across the ground.

They can also have canopies expansive enough to span tens of thousands of feet, such as Charleston’s Angel Oak Tree, which is at least 300 years old.

The tree itself is more than 60 feet high, but its massive branches are its most fascinating aspect: The longest branch is nearly 90 feet, and the canopy sprawls over 17,000 square feet.

South Dakota: Wall Drug (Wall)

Steve Cukrov/Adobe main street with shops

Drugstores aren’t typically considered tourist-attraction-worthy, but most drugstores aren’t the South Dakota Wall Drug.

The store has been a fixture in the small town of Wall since 1931, where it languished in obscurity until the family owners decided to draw business to the site with massive advertisements for free ice-cold water.

Thirsty highway travelers — both at the time and now — pull over for water and leave with much more, including photos of the store’s animatronic T. Rex and taxidermied bear, boxes of homemade donuts, and family fun with the store’s arcade games.

Tennessee: The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum (Gatlinburg)

jdross75/Adobe Gatlinburg TN cityscape

If you’re en route to the Great Smoky Mountain National Park, stop for a second at the Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum.

The collection includes more than 20,000 unique salt and pepper shakers from across the globe, and admission is just $3 for adults and free for kids under 12.

Some of the most delightful sets include Coca-Cola bottle shakers, sushi shakers, compass shakers, and at least a dozen Loch Ness Monster shakers.

Texas: The Giant Legs of Amarillo (Amarillo)

Richard/Adobe Palo Duro Canyon

Texas is so massive and unique that no matter where in the state you travel, there’s doubtless a fascinating, off-the-beaten-path attraction just a few minutes away.

But if we had to recommend just one wonderfully weird Texan tourist attraction, we’d have to go with Amarillo’s bizarre statue of a giant pair of legs.

The disembodied legs have worn purple boots and white socks with red stripes, but for now, they’re covered with graffiti tags, much like the cars that comprise the nearby Cadillac Ranch.

The Ranch itself, which is an art installation made of ten Cadillacs buried in the sand to match the angle of the great Egyptian pyramids, is also worth a look.

Utah: The Gilgal Sculpture Garden (Salt Lake City)

SeanPavonePhoto/Adobe The skyline of Salt Lake City, Utah

A 52-ton sphinx carved with the pensive face of 19th-century religious figure Joseph Smith. A trumpeting wireframe angel. A massive stone cricket.

You’ll see all these strange sights — and many more — at the Gilgal Sculpture Garden, a small neighborhood park in Salt Lake City that was once the private property of eclectic sculptor Thomas Battersby Child, Jr.

While the strange sculptures are the most famous aspect of the park, the garden itself is gorgeous and worth a visit on its own, especially in the spring and summer.

Vermont: The Ben & Jerry's Flavor Graveyard (Waterbury)

Jen Lobo/Adobe Ice cream shop Ben & Jerry's

The Ben & Jerry’s Factory tour in Waterbury, Vermont, is a perfectly sweet way to pass the time.

But the best part of the nation’s first Ben & Jerry’s isn’t the factory itself but its “Flavor Graveyard,” where you’ll find headstones marking the discontinuation of various Ben & Jerry’s flavors.

Each headstone contains a charming eulogy celebrating the service of unique flavors like pear, sweet potato pie, and (spookiest of all) the “wavy gravy” flavor.

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Virginia: Luray Caverns (Luray)

jgorzynik/Adobe cave stalactites and stalagmites

The Luray Caverns are a must-see for any outdoor enthusiast, but they’re notable for more than their astonishing calcite stalactites.

The cave system is also home to the Great Stalacpipe Organ, the world’s biggest musical instrument.

How big? As big as the 3.5-acre cavern system itself, since the organ makes music by brushing air across the stalactites.

Washington: Satsop Nuclear Power Plant (Elma)

Jason Gravelle/Adobe abandoned nuclear plant

As you wind down the highway to Washington’s Pacific Coast, you’ll see the easily recognizable towers of a nuclear power plant looming over the small town of Elma.

But you’ll never see steam billowing from the cooling towers. That’s because the Satsop Nuclear Power Plant ran out of funding in the 1980s and was never completed.

The power plant is now a flourishing office park owned by the community and managed by the Port of Grays Harbor. The area has been used as a filming location and a training site for the Seattle Fire Department.

Interested visitors can drive up to the would-be power plant to see the half-finished buildings up close (and with no fear of radiation).

West Virginia: The Mystery Hole (Ansted)

PAUL/Adobe MIll Creek and fall color

If you miss the golden age of kitschy, over-the-top roadside attractions, you’re in luck: West Virginia’s Mystery Hole is a welcome blast from the past.

The multicolored steel hut with half a Volkswagen Beetle buried in its side, and a gorilla on its roof over the entrance is pretty hard to miss.

If you can tear yourself away from the wacky gift shop, you just might make it to the Mystery Hole itself, descending under the ground into a world where the laws of gravity disappear.

Wisconsin: The House on the Rock (Spring Green)

Anatolii/Adobe amazing Devil's Lake WI landscape

Would it surprise you to learn that the biggest merry-go-round in the world isn’t at an outdoor amusement park but in a formerly private residence in Spring Green, Wisconsin?

The 269-animal attraction is just one of many bizarre and wonderful items to be found in the 14-room House on the Rock, once home to a collector who always intended to share his odd findings with the general public.

On your self-guided tour, you can visit the carousel, see a 200-foot-long fantastical sea beast, wander through a room with a truly staggering 3.264 windows, and much, much more.

Wyoming: The Ames Monument (Buford)

Jo Ann Snover/Adobe Grand Teton at Schwabacher's Landing on the Snake River

What would you do if the two brothers who ran your company were unmasked as crooks and fraudsters?

Well, if you were part of the Union Pacific Railroad in the 1880s, you’d build a 60-foot-high, pink-granite pyramid in the middle of the Wyoming wilderness.

Oh, and you’d make sure to chisel the faces of the disgraced brothers in profile on the pyramid’s east and west sides too. Obviously.

For the most part, the once-infamous Oakes and Oliver Ames — the brotherly duo who led Union Pacific and had bribed congressmen to influence railroad legislation — have been largely forgotten.

The railway that used to run past the bizarre structure in Wyoming has since been moved. But the Ames Monument is still standing. And more than that, it’s an official state historic site.

Bottom line

Alisa/Adobe young woman taking photo with an iphone

Fascinating as it is, our list only scratches the surface of each state’s oddest quirks and most out-of-the-way delights.

So stop wasting money on the fanciest hotels and most luxurious travel destinations if you’re looking to make memories that will last a lifetime.

Wherever you travel, you’re sure to stumble upon sites even more unexpected than the ones we listed here.

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Michelle Smith

Michelle Smith has spent a decade writing for and about small businesses. She specializes in all things finance and has written for publications like G2 and SmallBizDaily. When she's not writing for work at her desk, you can usually find her writing for pleasure near large bodies of water.