Texas is more than meets the eye if you look beyond Big Bend, river tubing, barbecue restaurants, and the other most popular attractions. If you just dig a little deeper and wander off the beaten path, you’ll discover a whole new world of fascinating places to explore. These 10 barely even scratch the surface of what our state has to offer, but they’re certainly some of the most interesting.
1. Dinosaur Valley State Park (Glen Rose)
The life-size dinosaur statues that greet you at the park's entrance are enough to convince you that similar creatures walked the earth millions of years ago...
And that's before you even see the colossal footprints fossilized underneath the river. Little ones love to step in them and see how their foot size compares to that of some of nature's greatest monoliths. The park's address is 1629 Park Road 59, Glen Rose, TX, 76043.
2. Stonehenge II (Ingram)
Wait, Stonehenge? I thought this was an article about Texas! If you're a bit confused right now, no worries - I was when I first heard of this place, too. It's an exact replica of the famous, mysterious Stonehenge in England complete with Easter Island heads. If you want to see it for yourself, it's 64 miles west of San Antonio, and you can take exit 505 off I-10 to FM 783.
3. Old Tunnel (Fredericksburg)
This tunnel might look abandoned, and in a sense, it is...by humans, anyway. A railroad used to run through it, but now it's home to over 3 million Mexican free-tailed bats. Every night at dusk between May and September, you can watch them turn the night sky into a cloud of darkness by following Highway 290 in Fredericksburg until you see a brown sign directing you to the tunnel.
4. "The Gas Station" (Bastrop)
Halloween might be over, but it's always a good time to stay in the place where one of the scariest movies of all time, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, was filmed. You might want to sleep with one eye open because you don't know what you might wake up to otherwise. Find it at 1073 SH304,
5. The Orange Show (Houston)
Many people think "The Orange Show" is a fancy metaphor for something much deeper, but in reality, this entire exhibit was created to pay homage to oranges. Yes, the fruit. Jefferson McKissack single-handedly built the amusement park-like structure just shortly before his passing. Luckily, the Houston art scene formed a cult-like following around it, preserving it and opening it to the public. Today, it hosts many events and donates money to other art projects in the area. You can see it for yourself at 2402 Munger St., Houston, TX, 77023.
6. Cathedral of Junk (Austin)
Nobody would suspect that in the backyard of Vince Hannemann's seemingly normal Austin home, there sits 60 tons of discarded items. Most of it he didn't even have to collect himself - people simply donated their unwanted junk. The Cathedral is located at 4422 Lareina Drive, Austin, TX 78745, and is free and open to the public.
7. Munster Mansion (Waxahachie)
It doesn't get much weirder than an exact replica of the Munster Mansion. This couple in Waxahachie was so infatuated with the TV show, they built their house exactly like that of the fictional family. Although it's a private residence and isn't open to the public for tours, you can drive by it at FM 813, 1313 Mockingbird Lane, Waxahachie, TX 75165.
8. BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir Temple (Stafford)
This breathtaking Hindu temple looks more like the Taj Mahal than something right here in Texas. Take a tour of this Aladdin-esque palace at 1150 Brand Ln, Stafford, TX 77477.
9. Buffalo Bayou Cistern (Houston)
Underneath the unassuming streets of downtown Houston lies a former drinking water reservoir that's now empty. You can tour the creepy, dark cistern from Thursday-Sunday at 105 Sabine Street, Houston TX 77007.
10. Painted Churches (Schulenburg)
You've probably seen these stunning architectural wonders in magazines or on TV - they're kind of a big deal here in Texas. Between the intricate ceiling designs and marble columns etched in gold, you'll think God himself crafted these masterpieces. I can't provide an exact address since the churches are scattered throughout the county, but if you visit Schulenburg and ask anyone about the Painted Churches, I guarantee they'll guide you in the right direction.
Wow, I had no idea our state was full of so many unique things to do.
Have you been to any of these places? What other off-the-beaten-path attractions exist in Texas?
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