Now that summer is in full swing and vacations are being planned, it’s time to explore some fun stops along historic Route 66. Stretching from California to Illinois, this legendary road has enchanted and inspired people with its eclectic and often unique and even odd attractions. Here is a highlight of a few – one in each state. This should whet your appetite and get your vacation wheels turning!Wigwam Motel
Bottle Tree Ranch
Oro Grande, CA
This glittering wonderland is made up of incredible welded trees with bottles as “leaves” topped with various objects like retro toys, animal skulls, and other cool found objects. When the wind blows through this glass and steel forest it sounds like windchimes. The more than 200 trees are the work of artist Elmer Long. This is one unique Route 66 site you don’t want to miss.
This little “village” has been around since 1950 and changed hands a couple of times, but now is a fully functional motel. Each concrete wigwam is 28 feet tall and 21 feet in diameter with a vintage car parked outside. They have beds, a TV, desk, toilet, shower, and sink. They are actually larger than they appear. A cozy, novel attraction and a unique little break from the RV.
American International Rattlesnake Museum
If snakes are your thing, you’ll love this museum that boasts the largest collection of varied live rattlesnake species in the world. It has species from South, Central, and North America, housed in realistic habitats. Come to learn about snakes, to see them, or to get some great gifts, including the official American International Rattlesnake Museum Logo t-shirt.Cadillac Ranch
Definitely one of the most famous Route 66 attractions, the Cadillac Ranch was created by The Ant Farm, an art-hippy group from California. It was intended as a tribute to the tail fin of the Cadillac – and its evolution – but soon became an icon. The 10 Caddies are half buried in the dirt, nose down and tail fins flying high. Pictures just don’t do it justice.
The Blue Whale
Take a break from your Route 66 travels to take a quick dip in the lake or get a little fishing in at Ol’ Blue. At 80 feet long and 20 feet tall, this is a “whale” of an attraction. It has slides into the water, places for diving, and holes in the head so you can check out all the action. You can even bring some lunch and picnic on the bank.
Cars on the Route
The Kan-O-Tex service station is a must-see on your Route 66 adventure. It has snacks and sandwiches as well as antiques and gifts, but the real attraction is what’s on the grounds. Cars inspired by Cars the movie are scattered all about. See the mining boom truck that was the basis for the movie’s “Tow Mater,” then step inside to enjoy all of the memorabilia.
Gray Summit, MO
This hands on, animal centric exhibit is fun for the entire family. Walk through to see, touch, and interact with dogs, cats, bunnies, horses, cows, goats – just think “farm” and you get the idea. There are exhibits, events, and demonstrations that will entertain and amaze kids of all ages. This helpful Purina Farm Guide gives you the scoop on what to expect – including their pet policy.
Henry’s Rabbit Ranch
This unique little stop is indeed a rabbit ranch – but it’s a whole lot more. Set in a vintage style gas station, it houses an impressive collection of trucking and highway memorabilia. There are also plenty of Route 66 collectibles and gifts so you can bring souvenirs back for everyone. Oh, and the rabbits are very tame. Some even do tricks for the visitors.
This is only a drop in the bucket, there are many more Route 66 attractions beyond this small sample. When you take the Mother Road though, make sure you leave plenty of time for detours and stops along the way. Trust me, you don’t want to miss a thing.
Have you ever driven on Route 66? What sites have you seen?