Places to Visit in Texas
Being a born and raised Texan, I'm filled with admiration and pride in all things "Texas". I love sharing historical things about Texas that most people haven't been exposed to, such as my hub on the Crash at Crush or perhaps the story about the Texas wrestling family, the Von Erichs.
I've always been fascinated with the out-of-ordinary sights around Texas and take a lot of pride in pointing them out to people who travel with me. I have put together what I consider a pretty good collection of odd places to visit in Texas. They are in no particular order. I hope you enjoy them. Some of I've been to, and some are still on my "to do" list.
The Orange Show-Houston, Texas
The late Jefferson "Jeff" Davis McKissack single handedly created the Orange Show from 1956 to 1979. It is a 3000 square foot folk-art architectural maze-like masterpiece in Houston's east end. It is constructed of brick, steel and concrete, along with a variety of wagon wheels, tractor seats, statuettes and mannequins. The park includes a wishing well, a pond, an oasis, a stage, a museum, a gift shop, and several upper decks.
He created his Orange Show to demonstrate the virtues of his favorite fruit and to promote his theories relating health and longevity to good nutrition, hard work and eating oranges.
To learn more about the Orange Show click here.
Bats Under the Congress Ave. Bridge in Austin, TX
The Congress Avenue Bridge in Austin, Texas is home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. It is estimated that the colony consists of 1.5 million Mexican free-tail bats. The best time to visit Austin to catch the evening flight is from mid-March to November. At dusk each night they fill the sky as they come out in search of food. The absolute best time is during the hottest time in August. There are lots of places to get to see them for free, as well as guided riverboat tours.
For more information on the Congress Avenue Bridge bats click here.
Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, TX
The Cadillac Ranch , built in 1974 ( relocated in 1997) by Stanley Marsh 3, is located along Interstate 40 west of Amarillo, Texas. Marsh is the helium millionaire who owns the wheat field where Cadillac Ranch stands.
Marsh and The Ant Farm, a San Francisco art collective, assembled ten used 1949-1963 Cadillacs burying them nose-down and facing west. They are covered with graffiti and positioned "at the same angle as the Cheops' pyramids."
Visitors are encouraged 24/7 and encouraged to add to the graffiti. Just don't try to steal anything. Mr. Marsh brandishes his own form of law enforcement. He has been accused of " threatening an 18-year old with a hammer and penning him inside a chicken coop."
In 2005, the Cadillacs were painted pink as a tribute to breast cancer victims.
To learn more about Cadillac Ranch click here.
Eiffel Tower of Paris, Texas
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, Texas was erected by the Boiler Makers Union Local #902 in 1995 replicating the famed Eiffel Tower in Paris, France. It's 65 feet tall and was once the second largest Eiffel Tower. Unfortunately, it has now been surpassed in 1999 by a 460-foot replica built in Las Vegas. The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France is 1063 feet tall.
Not to be outdone, Texas' Eiffel Tower sports a 10 foot wide, 4 ½ foot tall red steel Stetson cowboy hat.
For information about Paris, Texas and their Eiffel Tower click here.
Stonehenge II in Hunt, Texas
Stonehenge II is a smaller sized replica of the original Stonehenge monument found in Salisbury, England. The idea was conceived by the late Al Shepperd and built with the help of his friend and neighbor, Doug Hill. It is located on FM 1340 west of Hunt, Texas about 60 miles west of San Antonio, Texas.
Most of the stones are man-made out of plaster applied to a wire frame. Some of the stones are real and quite heavy.
The site features now rarely seen large red harvester ants. These are fascinating ants that we have seen fewer of since the unfortunate proliferation of the fire ants. The red ants were the primary source of food for the Texas Horned Lizard (or horny toad). I'm writing a hub about the horny toad as well.
For more information about Stonehenge II click here.
Cathedral of Junk in Austin, TX
Part of Austin's weird charm can be found on a southside street in Austin that is home to the ‘Cathedral of Junk.' This whimsical fancy is a creation by Vince Hannemann who had no pariticular reason for building it. It is made of nearly 60 tons of metal and scrap, kitchen cutlery, lawnmower parts, circuit boards, car parts, etc. that has been wired together over the last 20 years. There is reportedly approximately 700 bicycles somewhere in the mix.
I could see my daddy creating something like this.
For more information about the Cathedral of Junk click here,
Toilet Seat Museum in Alamo Heights, Texas
The Toilet Seat Museum was created by retired master plumber Barney Smith in January 2002. His collection of toilet seats is in the 600-700 range.
His first toilet seat was created about 30 years ago when he mounted a set of small deer antlers on one.
He's unable to pick a favorite because they're all special to him and he doesn't want to sell any of them. He has managed to number, photograph and catalog each one. He also documents the materials used, where he got it and where the inspiration came from.
He only works with pressed wood toilet seats that a local company donates to him.
Barney is also quite proud of his VHS tapes of all the times he's been covered on the local news, The Today Show and Montel, just to name a few.
Bruco, Monolithic Dome Caterpillar in Italy, Tx
On Interstate 35E between Hillsboro and Dallas you can't help but spot Bruco. He's sporting cowboy boots and a grin right on the side of the highway next to the monolithic Starship Enterprise in Italy, Texas. These are fascinating structures that can be found all around the area. I think it would be cute for a child to have a small version and paint it like a pumpkin.
For more information on the Monolithic Dome structures click here.
Apache Trading Post's Jackassic Park in Alpine, Texas
The Apache Trading Post features books and collectibles on the Big Bend region of Texas, Mexico and Indian heritage. It houses the largest selection of topographic maps and three-dimensional relief maps highlighting the mountains of West Texas.
The also have an 8-minute video about the mysterious Marfa Lights. The movie room also houses posters of films shot in the area, including "Giant."
You can also meet Quicksilver Pete, a camera-loving burro and Sasha, the Wonder Dog. You can also have your picture taken with friends at the jackass cut-out mural where you can appear as "Candy-ass", "Dumb-ass", "Lazy-ass", "Smart-ass" and "1/2 ass".
For more information on the Apache Trading Post Jackassic Park click here.
Kettle House in Galveston, Texas
According to the "Weird Texas" by Wesley Treat, Heather Shade and Rob Roggs, the Kettle House in Galveston was "supposedly erected by a gentleman who used to build storage tanks for oil companies." Neighbors no little of the man, but the house house has been there over 50 years and has survived Hurricane Ike. No one lives there even though a man is sometimes seen there making improvements only to disappear for months again.
This house is one of the odd buildings featured in the video below.
Great Links and Resources
- The Woodlands TX - Locally Focused Online Community for The Woodlands...
Visit The Woodlands for some of the best outdoor shopping in the Houston metro area. Be sure to visit Lake Woodlands' iconic "Rise of the Midgard Serpent" sculpture, and take a relaxing water taxi ride down the scenic Woodlands Waterway.
- Google Earth-Let's See Texas! by KCC Big Country
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- The Haunted Driskill Hotel in Austin, Texas by KCC Big Country
The Driskill Hotel in located on the corner of 6th and Brazos Streets in downtown Austin, Texas. "Colonel" Jesse Lincoln Driskill, a Missouri-born cattle baron made his fortune from providing beef to the...
- Waxahachie, Texas-Haunting Good Fun! by KCC Big Country
Waxahachie is a town located about 30 miles south of Dallas, Texas. If you're ever anywhere near the area, it is worth a visit. On our visits there we have found the following sites to be of particular...
- Texas Swimming Holes by KCC Big Country
Texas summers can be almost unbearable with temperatures over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for many of the days. This summer...
- All Aboard! Texas Steam Railroad Excursions by KCC Big Country
Of the railroad excursions listed below, I've only journeyed on one of them. I have taken the Texas State Railroad excursion of between Palestine and Rusk. It would have been about 15 years ago when my...
- Caverns and Caves of Texas by KCC Big Country
Longhorn Cavern Entrance Photo Credit Larry D. Moore via Wikipedia Commons There are at least 9500 known caves, sinkholes and springs in Texas covering about 20% of the state. The majority of the Texas caves...
- 1953 Waco Tornado by KCC Big Country
Tornado Photo Credit: Wikipedia Commons On May 11th, 1953, a tornado struck downtown Waco, Texas at 4:36 p.m. The tornado was over two city blocks wide. With employees preparing to leave work for the day,...
- San Antonio, Texas Haunted Hotels by KCC Big Country
The Emily Morgan Hotel in San Antonio, Texas If you've read many of my hubs, you'll know that I have an appreciation for architecture and haunted places. When you combine the two, you'll understand why I find...
- Crazy Names of Towns in Texas by KCC Big Country
I've been writing a lot of Texas-based hubs lately and fellow hubber Maggs224 commented about how interesting her and her family found the town names when she had last visited Texas and the United States....
- Fellow Texas Hubber Johnb0127's Top 10 Places to Visit in Texas
- Unusual Architecture From Around the World
A collection of unusual buildings from around the world.
- Texas Twisted - How the West Was Weird | Texas travel, road trips, weird attractions ...
Monuments to the mundane. Celebrations for the bizarre. Legends of the unlikely.
- Roadside America - Guide to Uniquely Odd Tourist Attractions
Homepage for Roadside America, travel guide to unusual attractions, tourist traps, weird vacations, and road trips.
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