The places that make Texas weird and unique
Monday, April 29, 2019
Texas is a special state with a unique history and people known for their independence.
Perhaps to celebrate these special qualities, there are several unique and weird spots throughout the state, which makes it a terrific place to visit. Here are some of my favorites.
SpongeBob tree art.
Tree Sculpture Tour
Back in 2008, Hurricane Ike destroyed many of the large live oak trees in Galveston. Instead of cutting down the stumps, homeowners and local artists decided to make the best of it.
Each piece of tree art is different. There are maps of the art online or at the Galveston visitor center. Some require a drive but most are walkable and in areas where you can both enjoy the art plus the architecture of these grand homes.
My favorites were "Venus on a Half Shell," "Tin Man & Toto," "Great Dane," and "SpongeBob."
For spooky lights and some unique art, visit the town of Marfa. For art, tour the special offerings at the Chinati Foundation and Judd Foundation, along with the multiple galleries in town. Hours vary and most tours have a fee. Prada Marfa is farther out of town but is open to view all the time and is very unique.
The Marfa Lights are a strange occurrence. The story is that balls of lights will move up, down, and around at night. The balls of light can be several different colors. Supposedly these lights have been seen since the 1800s and before cars.
Marfa Lights viewing area.
However, studies have shown they are probably headlights on cars traveling I-67. However, an alternate explanation is that the lights are a mirage caused by temperature inversions. While we didn’t see anything spooky, the viewing station built along I-90 is a great place to visit and even boondock overnight.
The stars are fantastic and kept that way with red lighting at the viewing area so your eyes aren’t blinded by the lights. Plus, it can be fun talking to the people who show up to look at the lights.
Texas Prison Museum
Huntsville is the site of the first Texas prison and also houses the Texas Prison Museum dedicated to prison life. There are samples of things that prisoners made for the prison to sell like furniture or signs along with things prisoners made without permission like weapons or games.
The exhibit about the death penalty is rather creepy with "Old Sparky." Bonnie and Clyde were killed by a man sent by the head of the Texas prison system, so there is an exhibit dedicated to them.
Nearby, you can visit the 67-foot-tall statue of Sam Houston. Seriously, it is tall and worth the visit!
It is a song, a bar, and a town with a population of three featuring a general store/saloon/former post office along with a dance hall. This is my favorite place of all time to sit back and relax.
You can buy a sandwich and a beer, then sit down to hear free music played by whoever shows up for a Picker Circle. I am not a country music fan, but the laid back atmosphere is attractive to all ages.
Plus, you can enjoy the sight of roosters wandering the area and maybe even a guy riding a longhorn steer.
Groom, Texas stands out for two unique sites. The biggest is a 190-foot cross and one of the largest free-standing crosses in the world.
It was built by a Texan millionaire in 1995. Besides the cross, statues depicting the 14 Stations of the Cross surround the base.
The leaning water tower nearby is just fun! Originally designed to bring in business for a truck stop along Route 66, it still stands to make those passing on I-40 wonder what they just saw out their car windows.
In 1902 a F4 tornado came through Goliad, Texas, killing 114 people and leaving 250 injured. The tornado destroyed a newly constructed bridge.
One of the steel beams flew almost a mile and landed in the backyard of a house near the courthouse. It is too deep in the ground to remove so it stays in the backyard. It is private property but can be seen from the street. Ask for directions at the local downtown museum.
Also, visit the Hanging Tree at the courthouse while you are in town.
Cadillac Ranch art.
This one is my favorite weird spots in the United States. Ten Cadillacs are planted in the ground.
They say they are at the angle of the pyramids in Egypt. The fun part is that visitors are encouraged to spray paint the cars. This means there are 2-year-olds and great-grandmothers out in this field spray painting.
It is best to buy a can before you go, but many times someone hands off their spray paint cans as they leave or you can find one on the ground. The story is that whatever you paint is covered within 24 hours by the next visitors.
Do you have a favorite weird and unique place in Texas?
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