For some time now I’ve assumed that those over-sized ‘attractions’ you see on the side of the road – the gigantic fish, the huge cowboy boot, the worlds’s largest strawberry – were relics from a time when people travelled by car more often and made a point of stopping at various points-of-interest along the way (or at least for a pee break). I was wrong. I did a Google search the other day and discovered that there are new roadside attractions being built and opening all the time. Huh.
Online, it’s evident that there are over-sized EVERYTHINGs out there for our roadside amusement. You name it, there’s a ‘biggy-sized’ attraction devoted to it. According to one website (RoadsideAmerica.com), there are several roadside attractions slotted to open in 2014 in the U.S. and a handful more that are being developed. My favourite among these is the Slotzilla, “a giant slot machine that spits out people on a zip line”. It’s located in, of course, Vegas. I only wish my internet search had pulled up more images of roadside attractions world-wide. I’d love to see a picture of the world’s largest bowl of phở that lures in hungry road-trippers somewhere in Vietnam. It must exist.
The closest attraction of this sort to my home is called The Big Apple. After driving past it for almost 20 years now, I finally stopped in.
As expected, it had all the elements of what I assumed a classic roadside attraction would have:
- A sign welcoming tourists (and their $$’s) by the bus load
- Snacks, sweets and more treats
- A play area for little road trippers
- Souvenirs of the bigger-than-life attraction
I enjoyed my visit to The Big Apple. Was it a little tacky? Sure. But I think these roadside attractions help encourage people to continue going on road trips. Plus, they’re a fun way to promote whats unique to each town, city or intersection that they’re erected in. Besides, I left with an empty bladder and a large apple-caramel pie. THAT made the detour to get there COMPLETELY worth it.