There’s nothing quite like an old-fashioned road trip with the family - gas station food, over-priced souvenir shops, and of course, quirky roadside attractions.
But when you think of roadside attractions, what comes to mind? The world’s largest ball of twine in Kansas, or perhaps the Cadillac Ranch near Amarillo?
Being that we are in the business of reading glasses, we thought it would be interesting to see if we could locate at least 18 roadside attractions related to eyewear. While it was fairly difficult, we did it.
From Buddy Holly’s authentic frames to bizarre glass eyeballs, gas up the car and take a trip to one of these unique eyewear roadside attractions near you.
1 | Buddy Holly’s Real Glasses and Photo Op
Lubbock, Texas | 33.578525, -101.842649
The Buddy Holly Center offers exhibitions and programs dedicated to fostering interaction between the local community and its artists. Here you will find a collection of artifacts from West Texas artists and musicians, including Buddy Holly, aimed at educating and entertaining those who visit.
If you didn’t already know, Buddy Holly was known for his iconic black-rimmed glasses and foot tappin’ grooves. Unfortunately, he perished in a plane crash in Iowa.
Stop by the exhibit to view his glasses found at the crash site and to snap a selfie next to the larger-than-life sculpture of the famous black frames. The Buddy Holly Center is located at 1801 Crickets Avenue, Lubbock, TX.
2 | Tony Tasset’s Three-Story Eyeball Sculpture
Dallas, Texas | 32.781407, -96.798312
There’s a giant eyeball in downtown Dallas keeping a close watch on the Joule Hotel. Chicago based artist, Tony Tasset, photographed his own eye and crafted a three-story fiberglass replica.
In an interview, Tony mentioned there’s not a deeper meaning behind the eye; he just wanted to “create something awesome”. Between the attention to detail and the sheer size, this sculpture is something you’ll want to check out. You can view the eyeball at 1601 Main St in Dallas, TX.
3 | Spectacle Wearing, Martini-Drinking Pink Elephant
Fortville, Indiana | 39.929881, -85.850312
In Indiana, there is a pink elephant wearing black frames and it’s worth a stop. However, if you find this quirky mammoth missing upon arrival, it can be found cruising down the street during a local parade or other events. The creature is located at Elite Beverages - 308 W Broadway St in Fortville, IN.
4 | Elton John’s Sunglasses at Rock n Soul Museum
Memphis, TN | 35.138547, -90.052133
Sir Elton John owns over 250,000 pairs of glasses and his iconic heart-shaped frames can be found at the Rock ‘n’ Soul Museum of Memphis. However, at one time, these glasses went missing while they were on loan to the museum from the Hard Rock Cafe International.
They were eventually recovered by the Memphis Police Department and returned to the museum. While these glasses will go back to Hard Rock at some point, many of Elton’s glasses are floating around their various cafes. See them while you can at 191 Beale St in Memphis, TN.
5 | Southside Flying Pizza’s Giant Sunglasses Photo Op
Austin, Texas | 30.241090, -97.752893
In Austin, there’s a giant pair of sunglasses tucked away in the parking lot of a South Congress pizza joint. There’s no real reason behind their existence, at least that we know of anyway, but they deserve to exist nevertheless.
So, if you find yourself near the famous SOCO district of ATX, stop by Southside Flying Pizza for a hearty slice and photo in front of these scintillating spectacles. Southside is located at 2206 S Congress Ave in Austin, TX.
6 | Mysterious Rusty Glasses in the Desert
Taos, New Mexico | 36.459698, -105.593645
Roadside art can be found in the most unexpected places such as in the mountains near Taos, NM. These giant glasses were the original prototype for the photo op at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock.
The frames are part of the larger Bareiss Gallery in El Prado which includes several other metal sculptures crafted by artist Steve Teeters. The picturesque landscape behind the eyewear is just as jaw-dropping as the sculpture itself. The exact location of the gallery is 15 NM-150, El Prado, NM.
7 | 20’ Frames at the Old American Optical Company of 1826
Southbridge, Massachusetts | 42.074881, -72.026136
Located across the street from the clock tower of the old American Optical Company Headquarters, these colossal frames are a reminder of the past. In 1826, American Optical Company was established by William Beecher when he decided he could “do it better” - and he did.
American Optical has since abandoned the original location and it is now home to the Southbridge Conference Center. Stop by for a quick photo with these historic frames at 14 Mechanic St, Southbridge, MA.
8 | Gol Cooper’s Glass Eye at the Museum of Appalachia
Clinton, Tennessee | 36.180033, -84.069554
Eyewear comes in many shapes and sizes, including Gol Cooper’s glass eyeball. At the age of six, Gol was tying his shoe while wielding an open pocket knife in the same hand. While he was pulling his shoestring tight, it snapped, forcing his arm upwards and causing the knife to pierce his eye.
The glass eye is located at the Museum of Appalachia which also hosts a restaurant, wedding venue, and gift shop. The address is 2819 Andersonville Hwy, Clinton, TN.
9 | Optical Heritage Museum
Southbridge, Massachusetts | 42.080368, -72.035119
Believe it or not, eyewear has its place in history. At the optical Heritage Museum, you can explore thousands of artifacts surrounding the scientific discovery of modern eyewear. From early microscopes to antique frames and lenses, you’ll find yourself lost in time. The museum can be found at 12 Crane St, Southbridge, MA.
10 | Harry Caray Statue at Wrigley Field
Chicago, Illinois | 41.948449, -87.655327
For those who don’t know, Harry Caray was a sportscaster who covered five Major League Baseball teams throughout his career and his personality was as big as the glasses he wore.
During his 11 year run with the Chicago Cubs, Caray popularized the song “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the 7th-inning stretch of games. While he passed in 1998, his legacy lives on via an elegant statue at Wrigley Field in Chicago - 1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL.
11 | “Eyes” Lawn Sculpture
Williamstown, Massachusetts | 42.713443, -73.209320
The “Eyes” sculpture was installed in 2001 at the Williams College Museum of Art by artist Louise Bourgeois. The piece was commissioned by the college to celebrate the 75th anniversary of its art museum.
It’s best to visit this stunning work of art at night as the eyes glow admiral blue. You can find the museum at 849 Main St, Williamstown, MA.
12 | Buddy Holly Crash Site Photo Op
Clear Lake, Iowa | 43.220383, -93.381401
If you can’t make it to Lubbock to see Buddy Holly’s real glasses, you can visit the original crash site in Clear Lake, IA. To access the actual crash site, you will need to walk down a path marked by a pair of replica black frames.
It’s a fairly long walk, but totally worth it if you are in the area. The entrance can be found at 22728 Gull Ave, Clear Lake, IA.
13 | A Cow Wearing Glasses
Guthrie, Kentucky | 36.643589, -87.200914
Located in the parking lot of a small town convenience store near the Tennessee/Kentucky border, this statue shows that the right eyewear can make anyone look instantly stylish! Find this fashionable cow at 10406 Russellville RD in Guthrie, KY.
14 | Santa Claus Statue
Oxnard, California | 34.222792, -119.136114
This 18’ tall, sunglass-wearing Santa Claus hasn’t always lived in sunny Oxnard. He was once attached to the roof of a business alongside his other holiday pals on Santa Claus Lane near Santa Barbara.
His new location is often closed but you can see him through the attraction’s gate. You can find Santa chilling at 2801 East Ventura Blvd in Oxnard, CA.
15 | Hugh Mongous
Virginia Beach, Virginia | 36.813943, -75.989393
Hugh Mongous watches over the Ocean Breeze Waterpark with a 45-foot vantage point. While both children and adults alike adore this casually dressed gorilla, others don’t quite feel the same.
In 1989, Hugh Mongous required medical attention after he was shot with a flaming arrow. Luckily, he made a full recovery and returned to the park in 1996. You can find him at 849 General Booth Blvd in Virginia Beach, VA.
16 | Brian the Beach Boy
Unger, West Virginia | 39.419219, -78.260045
Also known as the Swimmer Dude, this sunglass-wearing, board shorts-sporting statue literally lives among giants. The 26-foot swimmer is located at the Farnham Fantasy Farm alongside other giant statues and muffler men.
On the farm, you will also find various vintage art and free-roaming animals. The Farnham Fantasy Farm is located at 14633 Winchester Grade Rd in Unger, WV.
17 | The Roy Orbison Museum
Wink, Texas | 31.755648, -103.157249
From Elton John to Iris Apfel, many celebrities are known for their specs and Roy Orbinson was no different. In the small Texas town of Wink, there is an entire museum dedicated to his existence. Here you will find his personal belongings on display among other items celebrating his life. The Roy Orbison Museum is located at 213 East Hendricks Blvd in Wink, TX.
18 | Bugsy’s Sunglasses at the Mob Museum
Las Vegas, Nevada | 36.172826, -115.141232
If you end up in Vegas and want a break from the slots, this attraction is a must-see. Tucked away beneath the shadows of the dim-glowing neon lights just outside of downtown, the world-famous Mob Museum houses a large collection of historic gangster artifacts, including Benjamin “Bugsy” Siegel’s famous sunglasses.
The sunglasses were found at his friend George Raft’s home after his death and are now on display for the world to see. Visit the Mob Museum at 300 Stewart Ave, Las Vegas, NV.
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