Roadside attractions have a special place in American history. We’ve all seen something that made us frantically pull over across 4 lanes of traffic, just to take a look at the World’s Largest Pistachio, Bird Skeleton Museum, or life-size T-rex decked out as the Easter Bunny. Texas has long been a hotbed of roadside attractions, with the I-35 corridor attracting some of the best (and weirdest) around. If you’re going to be cruising along I-35, check out some of Texas’ best roadside attractions.
Museum of the Weird
A museum at the back of an oddity shop? Count us in. All the way in the back of the Lucky Lizard Curio & Gift Shop is the Museum of the Weird. The owner started collecting oddities as a kid and eventually turned his collection into a museum when he realized people just wanted to come into his gift shop and gawk (as opposed to buy). For a few bucks, you can see authentic oddities like a two-headed calf (stuffed of course) to old-timey hoaxes like mermaids, jackalopes, and more. There’s also a cursed box with a warning to “Never open this box”. No one has, but you can look at it from a distance and wonder what’s inside.
Stevie Ray Vaughn Statue
Music fans will want to grab one for the ‘gram next to the Stevie Ray Vaughn statue in Metropolitan Park. It is just a statue, but there’s plenty more to do in this beautiful and serene public park. Take a stroll, go for a bike ride, or people watch along the shores of the Colorado River.
LBJ Museum and Library, With Robot
Where can you hear a robot President tell a joke? None other than the Lyndon Baynes Johnson Museum and Library. LBJ was a pivotal President in an America that had a love-hate relationship with him. Visitors to the museum can learn all about his involvement in the Apollo missions as well as the start of the Vietnam War. There’s also plenty of presidential memorabilia, from his Texas-sized boots to his 5,000-lb bulletproof limo.
Cathedral of Junk
There’s nothing that screams “Roadside Americana” more than the Cathedral of Junk. The project was originally started by an unassuming twenty-something who wanted a little fort. Over twenty years later, that fort has become a cathedral of over 60 tons of…well, junk. Contrary to what you might think, not just any junk can become part of the cathedral. It’s owner, Vincent, has discerning taste and only adds what ‘fits’. It looks small from the outside, but spans multiple levels and even has a “Throne Room”.
Quirky Store, Cowboy on Jackrabbit
Everyone loves a good taxidermied animal! Well, maybe not everyone, but Texans sure do. The Quirky Store (aka Cowboy on Jackrabbit) is another spot flush with oddities, old medical instruments, and Texas taxidermy. You might not want to deck out your entire place with store memorabilia, but you’ll be sure to find the perfect statement piece or souvenir to bring back to tie your living room together. You’ll know you’ve found the place when you see the statue of a Cowboy riding a Jackrabbit.