A great piece from Travel+Leisure, except for the baffling exclusion of Rock City.
MITCHELL CORN PALACE (Mitchell, SD)
Established in 1892 and existing at its current location since 1921, this showstopper—the only building of its kind—celebrates the harvest of king corn. The building exterior is redecorated annually with 275,000 ears of colored corn, other grains, and grasses.
VENT HAVEN MUSEUM (Fort Mitchell, KY)
All eyes are on you at the world’s only ventriloquist (“vent” for short) museum, home to more than 750 googly-eyed dummies. Figures are as varied as Miss Piggy and a carved head that a POW performed with to earn extra food. Open by appointment only, May through September, so plan ahead.
WALL DRUG STORE (Wall, SD)
This Western-themed mall/amusement park near Mount Rushmore and the Badlands has signs posted throughout the world that count down the remaining miles to go; there’s even a sign for Wall Drug posted in Antarctica (for the record, only about 9,300 miles away). Wall Drug started as a humble pharmacy that doled out free ice water to weary travelers. Today, 2.2 million people a year pull over to see the animatronic T. rex, piano-playing gorilla, a giant jackalope statue and more.
SOUTH OF THE BORDER (Dillon, SC)
If the Three Amigos had their own theme park, it might resemble South of the Border. With roughly 175 highway billboards (one promises, “You’re always a weiner [sic] at Pedro’s!”) and a 97-foot marquee of mascot Pedro at the entrance, SOB is impossible to miss. Fourteen gift shops carry schlock like a Fabio cardboard cutout and enough fireworks to blow the world over.
VILLISCA AX MURDER HOUSE (Villisca, IA)
Shortly after midnight on June 10, 1912, a vicious murderer bludgeoned Josiah Moore’s family of six and two guests as they slept. The crime remains unsolved, but visitors say the house is trying to communicate, if you dare venture inside. Tours have been cut short by flying objects and eerie children’s voices.
PRECIOUS MOMENTS PARK (Carthage, MO)
Sam Butcher, the artist who created the doe-eyed Precious Moments figurines, opened this church in 1989. Nearly 5,000 square feet of Butcher’s hand-painted murals show the Precious Moments characters in scenes from Noah’s Ark and The Second Coming. The Hallelujah Square painting is based on real children who died young and are making their way into heaven.
COCKROACH HALL OF FAME MUSEUM (Plano, TX)
Since the late 1980s, Michael Bohdan has run The Pest Shop, Inc, a pest control company that also operates the free Cockroach Hall of Fame Museum in a Plano, Texas, strip mall. Visitors can gawk at display after display of dead cockroaches dressed up like celebrities, for instance, “Liberoachi” and “Marilyn Monroach.”
WEEKI WACHEE SPRINGS (Spring Hill, FL)
A throwback to the 1950s, Weeki Wachee Springs still puts on its famous, campy mermaid shows performed underwater by swimmers in elaborate costumes. There’s an old-school charm to the park, where you can take a river cruise (look out for manatees and turtles), go diving or just hang out at the tiki bar.
FOAMHENGE (Natural Bridge, VA)
It started, naturally, as an April Fool’s joke in 2004. But local artist Mark Cline’s Foamhenge has staying power. It’s an exact replica of the England’s ancient man-made wonder—even the pieces are arranged in their astronomically correct positions. Snap some photos and play your own April Fool’s joke trying to pass it off as the real thing.
THE OREGON VORTEX (Gold Hill, OR)
Natural wonder, elaborate hoax, or paranormal zone? At the Oregon Vortex, it’s up to visitors to decide. For $9.75, you get to experience the Vortex’s “spherical field of force,” which results in a world in which brooms supposedly stand up by themselves and two people can become a different height just by switching places.
See the rest here, including a hot-dog bun museum, the world's largest ball of twine, an ice-cream flavor graveyard and more.