When I think of wacky and wonderful roadside attractions, my mind usually drifts to Route 66 – long, secluded stretches with giant peanut (or porpoise, or pirate) statues to fill the empty spaces. I think of oversized rocking chairs and massive monuments in the Midwest somewhere. Of course I knew that New Jersey had a handful, but I never realized just how many. You never know what you’ll find along the road in New Jersey, here are 12 examples.
1. Lizard JFK, Asbury Park
This strange bust lacks eyes (inspired by Bronze Age sculptures) and is textured to look like scales. It unveiled during the 1964 Democratic National Convention in Atlantic City. It can now be found on a pedestal in Kennedy Park.
2. Frank Sinatra's used towel, Atlantic City
White House Sub Shop is worth a visit for the subs alone, but this bit of music history serves as an added bonus. Find it at the Arctic Avenue location.
3. Bayville Dinosaur, Bayville
Located along Route 9 just past Anchorage Boulevard, this local landmark has had several incarnations over the years. The photo above was taken in 2007; in 2015, the head was knocked off. The dinosaur was once owned by a Sinclair Service Station and later a taxidermy shop, many seek to restore and preserve this unique piece of history.
4. Giant Salt Water Taffy, Brant Beach
Located outside OH FUDGE/Lucille's Candies (4105 Beach Boulevard), this is one sweet roadside stop. A New Jersey staple, head here for photo ops with the taffy and delectable treats.
5. Nitro Girl, Blackwood
You'll find the large lady on the left outside Tire Town (1337 Blackhorse Pike). Also called Uniroyal Gal, bobble heads of the star spangled giantess are available.
6. World's Largest Light Bulb, Edison
You'll find the 14'8" bulb atop a 131' tower at 37 Christie Street along with the Menlo Park Museum. Recently renovated, the bulb burns bright. Museum hours are 10-4 from Thursday-Saturday and admission is free, though there is a $5 suggested donation. Don't miss it!
7. Peterson's Service Center Sculptures, Egg Harbor City
Head to 308 N White Horse Pike and enjoy some of the most whimsical sculptures you have ever seen. Made of old auto parts, you never know what you'll spot. This photo was taken in 2013. Every sculpture is unique and absolutely incredible.
8. Lucy The Elephant, Margate City
This massive mammoth cannot be missed. A quintessential Jersey Shore attraction, Lucy can be found at 9200 Atlantic Avenue. Built in 1881 as one of America's first roadside attractions, visitors have the opportunity to take an interior tour of the six-story structure. Stop by during her 135th birthday celebration on July 23rd.
9. Fairy Tale Forest, Oak Ridge
A nostalgic New Jersey attraction, this wacky wonderland was closed for years but is in the process of reopening (as of March 2016). The boot and castle are visible from the. roadside at 2 Grove Street.
10. Mighty Joe, Shamong
This 25-foot-tall gorilla stands watch outside Mighty Joe's Gas, Grill & Deli at 1231 US Hwy 206. A quirky roadside attraction, it is also a beautiful tribute.
11. World's Largest Tooth, Trenton
Around 15 feet tall, this tremendous tooth is always being watched - the onlookers in this photo are sculptures as well. It can be found at 637 Sloan Avenue.
12. Giant Cowboy, Woodstown
Located just outside of Cowtown Rodeo, the longest running weekly rodeo in the United States, this massive muffler man was made to look like a cowboy.