Don’t limit your kid to traditional family-friendly road trip spots. Instead, expose them to some of the wacky and weird attractions across the country. Family travel expert and our Window Seat or Aisle Seat blogger Kerri Zane rounds out the top 13 wacky road trip spots for families to enjoy this year.
One option my kids and I like for spring break is to pack up the SUV and hit the road looking for the new, wacky and weird madness our great country has to offer, and I am not talking the giant ball of string (that is oh so 2012). The following is a cross-country listing, from 13 to number 1, of the best cities to see the strangest sights of 2013.
One resource to check out is RoadTrippers.com, the brainchild of James Fisher and Tatiana Parent. Plug in your starting point and ending point and the site automatically generates destinations and suggestions of weird and wacky places you can go along the way–everything from lodging, to roadside attractions, nature, bars, pubs, restaurants, venues, amusement parks, for wherever your four wheels might be taking you. Each suggested place has its own review written by travel experts and local writers, and people can login, save their trips, share them via social networking and more. Love it!
13. Anza-Borrego Desert, California
In the middle of the vast Anza-Borrego Desert live some of the strangest monstrosities you’ve ever laid your eyes on. Galleta Meadows is a magical metallic menagerie of dozens of freestanding, life-size sculptures of prehistoric creatures that roamed the desert valley millions of years ago. These giant recreations of Borrego’s fossilized past by artist Ricardo Breceda include dinosaurs, raptors, mammoths and towering sloths, as well as animals of the more contemporary kind, including elephants, camels and wild stallions, plus fantastical imaginary creatures. His newest creations: a 350-foot Chinese Dragon and a colossal scorpion poised to pounce on a grasshopper! This sculptural wonderland is free and open to the public 365 days a year. The neighboring desert oasis town of Borrego Springs has family attractions including a large pool, tennis courts, restaurant and golf courses.
12. Cleveland, Ohio
From a museum devoted entirely to polka music to a festival celebrating duct tape, Cleveland, Ohio, is anything but an ordinary Midwestern town. For an authentic Eastern European touch, there are gourmet pierogies and Frankie Yankovic’s accordion at the Cleveland-Style Polka Hall of Fame. Another tourism gem in the area is Lakeview Cemetery the final resting place of J.D. Rockefeller, Garrett Morgan, and President James A. Garfield. And of course do not miss out on perusing the world’s largest PEZ dispenser collection at b.a. Sweetie Candy Co., the biggest candy store in the nation. Some more typical family-friendly attractions include the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum and University Circle (the nation’s most concentrated square mile of arts and cultural institutions). I recommend you stay downtown, where many of the budget conscious hotels are located.
11. Abingdon, Virginia
You might think that personal pieces from Judy Garland, Lucille Ball, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis and James Dean would be found in Hollywood, but they’re actually in Abington, Virgina. Located within Abingdon’s Historic District is the Star Museum, which showcases The Weisfeld Collection, which has pieces from Rudolph Valentino, Mae West, Gable & Leigh and many others. Then take a trip back in time to Abingdon Medical Museum that maintains medical artifacts from the early 19th century up to the present day. The exhibits include items from the various disciplines of medicine such as anatomical models, skulls, cranial clamp, tonsillectomy guillotines, ophthalmometers, anesthesia masks, suppository machines, wooden stethoscopes, wooden EKG machines, obstetric forceps, orthopedic drills, scarificators, and amputation saws. It is a good solid weekend or two to three-day destination that has several Inns and a wide variety of bed and breakfast type experiences for you and your family to lodge.