While you’re out cruising the Midwest with your family, take advantage of some of the weird photo ops that grace American roadways.
Here are 5 of the most photo-worthy roadside attractions in the Midwest.
The World’s Largest Ball of Paint – Indiana
Located in Alexandria, Indiana, the World’s Largest Ball of Paint hangs from a reinforced steel beam in a custom built Ball House. It weighs a whopping 2.5 tons and has a circumference over 14 feet.
The Ball of Paint began when Michael Carmichael allowed his toddler son to paint a baseball with blue house paint – you can see a picture of that moment in the Ball House.
Now, the ball gets another coat of paint every day, and visitors are encouraged to participate.
There are more than 25,000 layers of paint on that baseball now, each one a different color, and you’re welcome to make an appointment to add a coat of paint in the color of your choice.
The World’s Largest Ball of Twine – Kansas
Cawker City, Kansas is home to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine, which began as little more than a place where a local farmer stored his scrap twine.
Frank Stoeber began the ball of twine in 1953, and by the time he turned it over to the town in 1961, it was 11 feet in diameter.
There’s a little drama, though, because Frank Stoeber wasn’t the only twine winder in the Midwest. Minnesota native Francis A. Johnson had his own ball of twine in the works, and he kept building it for 4 hours each day until his death, when his twine ball was 12 feet in diameter.
Here’s the happy ending:
Johnson’s ball of twine remains in memoriam as one man’s monument, and every bit of twine was wound by Johnson himself.
Stoeber’s ball of twine, however, sits in Cawker City and continues to grow as locals and tourists wind more twine around its girth. The Ball of Twine is becoming less ball-like as it grows beyond the limits of twine winding, but for now, it still holds the title.
Even more interestingly, the Ball of Twine has transformed the town around it. Local artists thrive on the tourist trade, so check them out to show your support.
Giant Pepsi Can – Minnesota
The Giant Pepsi Can in Waite Park, Minnesota isn’t actually the world’s biggest Pepsi can, but it’s included in this list for one very important reason:
It’s in Minnesota, and it’s the exact opposite of a mini soda.
The Pepsi can sits in the parking lot of a restaurant beside a tall, smiling water tower, and it’s excellently situated for a photo.
Dad jokes not included. Please provide your own.
The Blue Whale – Oklahoma
Some people give jewelry or flowers to express their love, and some people build strange blue sperm whale water toys.
The Blue Whale is situated on a pond in Catoosa, Oklahoma, and was originally built by Hugh Davis for his 34th wedding anniversary with his wife, Zelta.
The Blue Whale is 80 feet long, made of pipe and concrete, and includes a diving platform and a slide. For a while, they opened their private pond as an attraction to the public, but closed it again in 1988.
Since then, the pond has gone scummy, and the rest of the buildings and attractions on the property have fallen into disrepair. Out of love, though, the whale lingers on, and you can get postcards and bottled water while you’re visiting.
Corn Palace – South Dakota
It’s the World’s Only Corn Palace, not that that’s surprising.
Mitchell, South Dakota is home to the Corn Palace, which is pretty much exactly what it sounds like – a palace of corn and grain.
Tours are free, and you can see murals and art made from corn, corny souvenirs, and plenty of historic artifacts.
The Corn Palace was established in 1892 as a sort of community center where the locals could have a fall festival, and it has evolved into one of the most popular roadside attractions in the country.
Today, the Corn Palace is still active as a community center, and the decor is changed annually to reflect a different theme. That decor is made entirely from different colors of corn and whatever fasteners it takes to hold the corn in place, so bring your cameras and flash your corniest smiles.