Roadside Oddities &
Quirky New Mexico
New Mexico's Big Bird
New Mexico Fun
Facts & Trivia
Incident and the International UFO Museum & Research Center
Smokey Bear Historical Park, Museum & Grave in Capitan
Snakes Alive in Albuquerque
Tiny Town - Art That Dies to Live
know of a
quirky attraction that we should list on our
Roadside Adventures, please send us an
The only monument to
Lucien B Maxwell, the owner of the largest land
grant in the United States is a primitive concrete folk-art sculpture in
However, the current curator of the
Aztec Mill, Buddy Morse, tells a story that the statue was actually
built for Henry Springer, but when the artist presented it, Henry didn't
like it and stated that statues were to be built for people who were dead,
so between the two of them, it was decided that the statue would be of
instead. Photo June, 2006, Kathy Weiser.
(Update: We've been informed by a reader that Tiny Town no longer
exists). Just north of the ghost town turned artist colony of Madrid, sits an
unusual array of bones, discarded toys, bottles, old cars, and other
cast-off material that a local artist has created on an acre of the
As you enter this
quirky exhibit, a sign proudly displays "If it isn’t broke, dead, or
rusted, well I just can’t use it." As the sign implies, a short
sojourn through this roadside display will turn up all manner of
strange displays in this ever-evolving miniature ghost town.
Created by Tammy Jean Lange, known familiarly in the
area as Tatt2 Tammy, for her years as a tattoo artist, her specialty
is creating art from "road kill."
Atop an old trailer, painted to look like it’s made of brick, sits a
chopper motorcycle made of bones and old bicycle parts. Hanging
on metal poles and wooden stumps, more collections of bones, antlers,
and skulls can be found by the curious traveler.
searches for road kill as a source of bones, so much so that she
encourages area locals to alert of new finds, which she uses for her
most "special” art. When alerted to a new "find,” she is happy to
retrieve the animal carcass which she then buries so it can decompose,
later digging it up to clean and bleach the bones.
At least nearby Madrid
doesn’t suffer from the plight of many small towns where junk is piled
haphazardly next to homes and in yards – these folks have a ready and
accepting artist who will happily accept take their cast off
Earlier reports by travel
writers describe this acre as having its own saloon, church, courthouse
and jail; rivers made of broken glass, and roads made of tarpaper,
complete with yellow lines. However, when Legends of America
visited, there was little sign of the acre of haphazard material
resembling a town. Perhaps this is because several years ago an art
scout came upon Lange’s town and arranged to have much of it boxed and
shipped to the
Art Museum in Baltimore.
this was the jumping board for success, as the artist now sells many of
her creations in local shops. We were told by a reader in 2015 that Tiny
Town went away sometime after our visit in 2006.
Boasting 350 days of sunshine per year and a history that dates back some
4,000 years, Las Cruces, New Mexico
has become a popular southwestern destination, offering a number of events
being said, one of its most distinctive attractions is a giant roadrunner,
crafted entirely of trash, that beckons a warm welcome to visitors at a
rest stop on I-10 about ten miles west of Las Cruces. This whimsical
statue, made entirely from junk retrieved from the city dump, was built in
1992 by artist Olin S. Calk.
Standing atop a hill
overlooking I-10, the roadrunner, representing
state bird, can’t be missed as she stares endlessly across the fertile
Mesilla Valley at the majestic Organ Mountains across the way. This
giant bird, approximately 20 feet tall and 42 feet long, was actually
built at the city dump, until it closed several years ago. The city
fathers, wondering what to do with the larger than life sculpture, made an
excellent decision when they decided to move it to the roadside stop in
large bird, touted as the world’s largest roadrunner, has a belly created
with old shoes, with other parts of its body sporting everything from
office fans, to computer parts, to children’s toys.
This 42 foot long Roadrunner looks out upon
Valley near Las Cruces,
rest stop and big bird are on the
south side of
Interstate 10, about ten miles west of Las Cruces between mile markers
Las Cruces is located in the Mesilla Valley in south-central New Mexico
and is the second largest city in the state (yes, larger than Santa Fe).
Fridgehenge - It seems as if replicas "Stonehenges"
are dotted throughout America, including this unique one, also referred to
as "Stonefridge," located just outside of
This unique piece of art, created by Adam Jonas Horowitz, sits atop the
former site of the municipal landfill overlooking Santa Fe.
Comprised of some 200 discarded and donated refrigerators, it stands 2.5
refrigerators high in most places and 3.5 in others. This "cool"
treat sitting among the desert cactuses and lizards was assembled
with human-power only - no mechanical cranes or heavy lifting equipment
here! Working with several volunteers, Horowitz and his team used
teepee poles, ropes, and pulleys to heft the large appliances one
atop the other.
Though surrounded by a
chain-link fence, these many colored Kenmores and Whirlpools already
show the signs of passing visitors as they add their "art" and
graffiti to this monument to man's vapid consumer appetite.
Rather than being aligned with the sun
and the stars, Stonefridge is aligned with its own atomic power source
- Los Alamos National Laboratories to the northwest.
These sprayed and decorated metal hulks
are all lined up in a 100-foot diameter circle where they seemingly
worship several inner towers. Horowitz has been quoted as
calling it "a
post-modern, post-apocalyptic temple to waste and consumerism."
Alive in Albuquerque -
These days there
is pretty much a museum for everything including this Rattlesnake
Old Town. Tucked away among the galleries and boutiques, this
museum might be small, but it’s certainly big enough to be called home
to over a hundred rattlesnakes of more than 30 different species.
Included in this
diverse collection are exhibits of snake science, snake culture, snake
art, and snake mythology right along side the creepy crawly critters
themselves. And if that isn’t enough, the snake gift shop offers
all manner of rattlesnake gear, t-shirts, fangs, skin, books, and
particular traveler finds it extremely high on the creepy scale,
director Bob Myers says that there are actually very few people that
balk at the entrance or refuse to go within striking distance of the
Myers conceived of
the idea with two objectives – to help people overcome their fear of
rattlesnakes and to educate them on the influence these snake have on
The snakes represented
come from all parts of North and South America, each housed in a
vivarium with natural "furnishings” native to its
visitors move down the corridor, peering at the snakes, many of the
creatures greet their arrival with a steady buzz of rattles at work,
coming from such species as the canebrake, northern blacktailed, desert
sidewinder, tiger rattlesnake, and many, many more more. These crawly
critters also come in a variety of colors, from green, to pale-yellow, to
black, gray, and albino.
you’ve had your fill of the "real” thing, you can also check out a
collection of snake beer, snake flags, snake photos, snake games, snake
jewelry, snake kits, snake pottery, ……. It’s endless, but not
Myers, a former biology teacher, says he has enough snake stuff to fill a
building ten times the current size of the museum and hopes to expand one
202 San Felipe NW
of America, updated March, 2017.
Legends' General Store
Legends of America and
Legends' General Store has collected a number of DVD's so that
you can check out your destinations before you travel. Sixty minute
videos will provide you with
treasures, cultural icons, natural wonders and portraits of Americans from
coast to coast revealing the heart & spirit of the U.S.