You hear a lot of people complain about how boring Nebraska is, but the truth is that we’ve got our weird side, too. “Weird” isn’t necessarily a negative word – we use it here to mean unique and interesting. If you’re looking for excitement or distraction, or if you just want to be reminded of how strange our little slice of the country can be, at least one of these nine places should do the trick for you.
1. The Klown Doll Museum, Plainview
Warning: steer clear if clowns freak you out, because once you step foot into this place you'll be surrounded by them. More than 7000 clown dolls crowd this building to either terrify or delight you. Admission is free; if you're visiting between Labor Day and Memorial Day you'll need to call ahead for an appointment to see the collections.
2. Carhenge, Alliance
Carhenge isn't just some funky tourist stop in western Nebraska; the Stonehenge replica was built as a tribute to the artist's late father in 1987. Built to the approximate specifications of the original Stonehenge, Carhenge simply replaces the stones with old cars. It's quite a sight, and there are some other great sculptures there to check out as well.
3. The Hay Bale Rest Area, Alliance
Just a couple of minutes from Carhenge, this rest area is even more rustic than the state-run rest stops along the interstate. Made up of hay bales, a toilet, a lounge chair, and a pipe labeled "Free WiFi," this open-air spot is definitely up there on the weirdness scale.
4. The World's Largest Porch Swing, Hebron
Do you know the story of the world's largest porch swing? It was built back in 1985 by Hebron citizens who wanted their city to claim the title of Nebraska's Fourth of July City from Seward. They figured that no one can resist the summertime joy of a porch swing, so the community came together to build this brute which seats 16 adults or 24 children. Their plan to steal Seward's title didn't work out, but now they have a wacky tourist attraction that we think is just as good.
5. The World's Largest Plow, Gothenburg
Located in front of the Sod House Museum is a gigantic replica of a sod-cutting plow. It's the same type of tool used by settlers to build their soddies, and the sculpture is dedicated to those resourceful plains settlers.
6. The Petrified Wood Gallery, Ogallala
This place is just sort of magical. A pair of brothers started collecting petrified wood and Native American artifacts in the 1960s. Their collection included carvings and other art made from petrified wood pieces. They donated their entire collection to the public in 2000, and today it's a fantastic place to take in some unique art and maybe even learn a little about Nebraska history.
7. Monowi, Nebraska
Monowi is the only incorporated town in the United States with a population of just one person (the population sign above is a bit out of date). Monowi's sole resident runs the town's library and tavern and also acts as the mayor. The situation isn't as lonely as you might expect, however; the town gets plenty of visitors who come for the food and the fine company.
8. Entrap Games, Omaha
Would you pay someone to lock you in a room with no key? That's the idea behind Entrap Games, a real-life room escape game. Digital versions of these games have been popular for ages, but a few businesses have gotten physical with the concept. Entrap Games is very highly-rated by visitors who are given one hour to find clues and solve puzzles to get out of the room. Players are mercifully released if they can't figure it out in an hour.
9. Lee's Legendary Marbles, York
Lee's isn't the only hyper-focused museum in Nebraska (check out the roller skating museum or telephone museum, both in Lincoln), but it takes the cake in terms of sheer uniqueness. The mind-boggling amount of marbles, marble memorabilia, marble information, and other collectibles is a lot to take in. You'll be especially entertained if you're a collector yourself, as there are lots of goodies for sale here.
These are a few of Nebraska’s hidden “weird” spots. Can you think of any others? Share your opinions in the comments section.