Top 5 Weirdest Roadside Attractions of America

5. Atomic Testing Museum, Las Vegas, Nev.

A tour through the nuclear testing history of Nevada, the Atomic Testing Museum is a blend of the whimsical and the macabre. Test your rad level with a Geiger counter, get up-close-and-personal with a nuclear warhead or view the collection of Atomic Age paraphernalia on display.
Giant dinosaurs, houses filled with dolls and puppets, museums of the weird: America’s most interesting roadside attractions are often overlooked, occasionally maligned, and usually hidden away from more heavily traveled areas. Sure, they might not be enough of a draw to warrant a visit by themselves, but they can more than repay the time spent diverting from a longer road trip or vacation.
4. Forbidden Gardens, Katy, Texas

This sprawling recreation of historical Chinese locations was built in 1997 at the behest of Hong Kong real estate mogul Ira P.H. Poon, who emigrated to the United States. He chose Katy, Texas, as the location for his museum because of its proximity to Houston and its large Asian population. Featured are the Forbidden City, in 1/20th scale, and a 1/3-scale recreation of the tomb of Emperor Qing Shi Huang-Di, called “The First Emperor.”
3. Oasis Bordello Museum, Wallace, Idaho

The owners of the old bordello left in a hurry in 1988, but a local entrepreneur bought the building and restored it to its 80s-era glory, as “a reminder of Wallace’s colorful past.” Old videogame consoles, price lists, and a unique take on recent history are all on display daily for a $5 fee, and there’s even a gift shop.
2. The Paper House, Rockport, Ma.

Engineer Ellis Stenman started his energy-saving experiment with newspaper insulation in 1922, and seven years later, he opened his home as an all-newspaper roadside attraction. Everything except the framework, floorboards and shingles is made out of pasted, coated, or rolled newspapers, and the entire thing took 20 years to finish.
1. RichArt’s Art Yard, Centralia, Wash.

Artist Richard Tracy will welcome you into his home and backyard, both packed with the Styrofoam and metal sculptures he has worked on since 1981, and give you an hour-long tour–the first five minutes of which are free. “After five minutes he just stops and he won’t say anything else,” says Kirby. “You pay him $5, and he’ll give you the other 55 minutes.”


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