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How My Obsession with Roadside Attractions Began

Tonya Prater, Owner

How My Roadside Attraction Obsession Began

My obsession with roadside attractions didn’t begin with my quest to find free and low-cost attractions for my family to visit when we traveled.

No, my love of the odd and unusual began as a preschooler when I would pile in my grandparent’s trusty van with some of my cousins and journey along the Coastal Ohio Trail through Port Clinton.

Thirty-some years ago, it wasn’t so much Lake Erie that caught my attention, but the giant dinosaurs that marked the entrance to the Prehistoric Forest.

No amount of begging or pleading could entice my grandpa to pull over to explore.

Maybe that’s why my attraction to roadside Americana grew- because I longed to stop, just once.

The attraction is now defunct, but it didn’t close until after my husband and I could visit with our own children.  The disappointing visit with my family did little to diminish my fondness for all things kitsch, which has only grown stronger with each passing road trip.

I now actively seek out roadside attractions when I travel with my family. And while my husband has learned to brake and pull over at a moment’s notice, my children have, for the most part, learned to tolerate my addiction.

They can’t-fool me, I know that secretly they have enjoyed most of the attractions we’ve stopped at, even if they are unwilling to verbalize that at the moment. I only imagine at some point in their lives, they’ll fully appreciate all the quirky roadside attractions I’ve forced them (their words) to visit over the years.

Join me tomorrow when I share my Top Ten Roadside Attractions.

In the meantime, can you name the roadside attractions in the photo at the top of the page?


Tuesday 18th of March 2014

I've actually never really stopped at road side attractions. I am definitely missing out

Jennifer @ My Sweet Sanity

Monday 17th of March 2014

I've never done roadside attractions but they do look fun! Maybe I need to try them,.

Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom

Sunday 16th of March 2014

This would definitely make a long trip more interesting! I just want to stop near the "Welcome to..." signs, but even then my husband goes right on by.


Sunday 16th of March 2014

I love roadside attractions. We used to live near the giant ketchup bottle in Illinois. But other than that I don't think I have lived near any others.


Saturday 15th of March 2014

My love for roadside attractions started as a child, too. My parents did a lot of traveling. None of the attractions look familiar. However, they all look like fun and interesting places to check out. :) Protection Status
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