The United States is full of historical and unique sites. Each state has gained some truly unusual landmarks that have become trademarks or widespread attractions at the very least. If you’re planning a summer trip, put some of these unique landmarks on your list.
1. Cadillac Ranch
Located in Amarillo, Texas along Interstate 40, you’ll find 10 classic Cadillac cars half-buried in the ground. Originally erected in 1974, the cars have gone through years of paint jobs for special events as well as tourists’ fancy. It was originally funded by Texas millionaire Stanley Marsh III and created by the artists collective Ant Farm.
2. World’s Largest Thermometer
Located in Baker, California, this thermometer is the world’s largest standing at 134 feet tall and racks up an $8,000 a month bill in electric charges. Willis Herron, a mercury businessman, came up with the idea after a 134- degree day in Death Valley in 1913. It wasn’t built until 1991 and since has changed owners several times and was dark for a while before being restarted in October 2014 with an accompanying gift shop called Temp134.
3. Sunsphere Tower
Located in Knoxville, Tennessee, the Sunsphere is a unique and easily recognizable landmark built as part of the 1982 World’s Fair. It’s a 75 ft reflective sphere on a 266 ft tower with observation deck, the Icon Ultra Lounge, as well as a well-maintained historical display detailing the 1982 World’s Fair.
4. Bingham Canyon Open Pit Copper Mine
The Bingham Canyon Copper Mine, located in Salt Lake City, Utah, is the biggest manmade excavation in the world with a hole that is 2.5 miles wide and 3,000 feet deep. It’s so large that it’s visible from space. Workers began mining for copper ore in the mid-19th century with large-scale mining beginning around 1900. The mining has continued even through two landslides that tampered down production in 2013. The site also includes a visitors center that opened in 1992 which has hosted more than 3 million visitors.
5. Salvation Mountain
This beautiful mountain in Calipatra, CA, is a trippy, 50ft hill in the California desert that was covered in 100,000 gallons of paint as an art exhibit slash “tribute to God” from artist Leonard Knight. Created over 30 years, he spent his time painting born-again biblical messages on the mountain until he passed away last year.
6. Lenny the Chocolate Moose
Unveiled in July of 1997 in Scarborough, Maine, Lenny the Moose was reportedly inspired by the moose at the local L.L. Bean. The creator and owner of the ice cream parlor where Lenny resides created the moose with 1,700lbs of high-quality chocolate through placing layers of the chocolate and letting it solidify. Lenny is reportedly the only life-size chocolate moose and the largest life-size chocolate animal.
7. Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail and Museum
Located in Weldon Spring, Missouri, the trail was built up to a 75 ft-tall pile and is made up of 1.5 million cubic yards of entombed hazardous waste. At one time, there was a uranium ore processing plant on the site until 1966. After it was abandoned for 20 years, the U.S. Department of Energy finally decided to cover it with a pile of rocks creating the trail.
8. Lucy the Elephant
Lucy is the world’s largest fake elephant and the only one in the country designated as a National Historic Landmark in Margate City, New Jersey. Standing six stories tall, Lucy was built in 1881 by a local real estate developer to serve as his office. It eventually became his summer home before being transformed into a pub briefly. While no longer anything more than an attraction, visitors are still free to climb inside.
9. Hole N The Rock
When you hear someone mention a hole in the rock, you may not be enticed to go, but this is one that you definitely want to visit in Moab, Utah. The Hole N The Rock is actually a 14-room cave-house and gift shop that was carved into the stone in the 1940s. It’s also grown to include a small zoo, a ton of Native American pottery, and the largest collection of Lyle Nichols metal art sculptures.
10. Seattle Gum Wall
Obviously located in Seattle, WA, this attraction is 2nd in the world as the germiest attractions only behind the blarney stone, which people line up to kiss. While you definitely won’t kiss this Gum wall located in an alley, it is a place to visit to see all the colorful gum left and perhaps to add your own mark. The wall was cleaned off once after decades of being left alone in 2015, where they removed more than 2,000 lbs of gum.