Saturday, May 02, 2009

Interactive Saturday: The Search for the Weirdest Amusement Park

Yesterday's jaunt through Alpine Village got me to thinking of all the odd roadside attractions I've seen in my life. Epcot/Six Flags/White Water style franchises board me even as a child. The weirder, more mom-and-pop the better. A highlight of a trip my family made to Mount Rushmore (which is pretty tacky on its own merits or the lack there of) in the 1960s was a side trip to the Flintstones' Bedrock City in Custer, South Dakota.

Since we visited during off season, my parents were disappointed that my sister and I didn't have any other kids to explore the place with and play with. That was the whole joy of the experience for us and the pleasure of touring Mr. Granitebilt's house without having to hear the chatter of semi-literate middle schoolers.

My visit to the Alpine Village a very deja vu quality, and this morning it reminded me that we used to visit the Hummel Holiday Village on Route 66 in Oklahoma City with its Pine Shop and dozens of Hummel and German crystal peddlers. Unlike the Alpine Village, it was actually built on a small hill with lots of rocks and pine trees, that in the snowy winter actually looked a tad like Germany.

So do you have a favorite bizarre roadside attraction? Or is there one on this side that most appeals to you? I really need to visit that one in Vietnam the next time I go.

UPDATE: And since it keeps coming up in comments, here is a virtual tour of South of the Border (a.k.a. Pedroland) on I-95 in South Carolina. It's worth sticking through to the end to see the chicken into being whipped.

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At 9:11 AM, Blogger Salty Miss Jill said...

Anything with animals. I did have fun once at the Buellton Ostrich Ranch on a road trip out your way...

At 9:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't say enough good things about Tinker Town.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, there is a really terrible miniatures museum in Canada somewhere between Calgary and Vancouver (I don't mean the awesome one in Victoria; this is different). There were "fairy tale" dioramas made out of GI Joe dolls and stuffed animals - just spectacular in their horribleness. By the time I got to the Three Little Pigs diorama I knew I was someplace special: "Hey, that's Wile E. Coyote! And there are four pigs!"

At 9:41 AM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Salty - And Buellton is just down the road from Solvang, so you can enjoy ostrichs and Danish treats on the same trip.

Fancy - Tinkertown! How have I missed this on on so many trips in the area. A must for my next visit.

At 7:54 PM, Blogger Joe said...

I will get to the rest of the comment later, but first...

JILL! The Ostrich Ranch is JUST UP THE PIKE from me... you MUST come out again and we'll have a picnic by the ranch. Then we will visit the Glory that is Solvang Danish Village.

LdB: In any case, I have no idea what Alpine Village is, but the following really jumped out at me:

"...White Water style franchises board me even as a child..."

Was that like a Freudian-Guantanamera slip?

At 8:00 PM, Blogger Joe said...

Oh, and your mention of Hummel Village reminds me of the Precious Moments Chapel, somewhere in the hinterlands of Missouri. Thankfully, I was not tempted to stop there on my cross-country drives, though I hear it's "really something else," as my grandmother would say.

I might not mind seeing the famous South Dakota Wall Drug though.

And I loved "South of the Border" (aka: Pedroland), in Dillon, S.C. -- experienced on many a family vacation to Florida in my youth.

I'm also recalling some kind of giant Indian "teepee" selling trinkets somewhere on Route 10 in the California or Arizona desert, perhaps.

When is our Junk Thief Fan Club road trip?

At 8:14 AM, Blogger marxsny said...

I would have to say Clyde Peeling's Reptiland in Allenwood Pa. Given my fear of snakes I can't imagine being subjected to one of the birthday parties that includes the "Venom" show. Perhaps if my mother was Joan Crawford.

At 12:42 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Joe - Yes, that slip says something about me, doesn't it. I think I'll leave it uncorrected. I've heard of Pedroland, and it sounds so twistedly non-PC that I want to go. I've been near Precious Moments Gardens and also have resisted going. Can I join you and Jill for that picnic?

Mark - Those venom shows sound spooky and intriguing.

At 1:55 PM, Blogger Steve said...

OMG. That was brilliant! I always wanted to stop at South of the Border but my parents never would...therapy! I need therapy!

At 1:57 PM, Blogger Ladrón de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

Steve - Maybe we need to do our next blogger meet up at Pedroland.


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