Keep Wisco weird.
Chalk it up to the effects of long, cold winters. Or decisions made under the influence of local brews. But, for whatever reason, Wisconsinites have been building puzzling roadside attractions, mystifying museums and surreal cultural sites for generations. Many of them are more than worth a road trip.
1. House on the Rock. A sprawling mansion perched high atop a cliff in Spring Green, the House on the Rock is famed as much for its bizarre décor as its architecture. Highlights include a carousel featuring 269 animals (but not a single horse), hundreds of mannequins hanging from a ceiling, a 200-foot long model whale and an “infinity room” with 3,000 windows.
2. Mustard Museum. This free museum houses 5,624 varieties of mustard from every state and 70 countries. Its founder, former assistant attorney general Barry Levenson, began collecting the pungent condiment in 1986, when his beloved Red Sox lost the World Series and he was in desperate need of a distraction.
3. Dr. Evermor’s Park. The world’s largest scrap metal sculpture, “the Forevertron,” is 50-feet tall and weighs 300 tons. Eccentric demolition expert Tom Every – a.k.a. Dr. Evermor – built it in the 1980s, along with hundreds of smaller sculptural works. See them for free in Sumpter.
4. International Clown Hall of Fame and Research Center. This Baraboo museum will either delight or disturb you, depending on how you feel about clowns. In addition to maintaining an archive of clown artifacts, the ICHOF also hosts regular events and performances. Admission is $5 for kids and $8 for adults.
5. FAST Fiberglass Mold Graveyard. The FAST Corporation, located in Sparta, has been creating massive fiberglass sculptures since the 1960s or 70s. And it’s been storing its leftover molds in a field behind its headquarters for nearly as long. Curious Wisconsinites are welcome to check out the hundreds of oversized sculptural oddities, free of charge.