• Roadside attractions offer Stonehenge substitutes

    2014-07-28

    Europe travel fans get the benefit of visiting places with thousands of years of continuous culture to draw on, leading to attractions such as Rome's famous Colosseum or England's Stonehenge. While United States travel destinations can't match that kind of history, they've done their best to replace it with ingenuity.

    If you want to visit Stonehenge, the famous monument believed to serve as a kind of solar calendar or temple, but you'd rather take a road trip than an international flight, America has got you covered. These roadside attractions may not be as astronomically accurate as their druidic inspiration, but they offer a modern, whimsical update to the real thing.

    Carhenge
    Located in Alliance, Nebraska, Carhenge is probably America's best-known Stonehenge stand-in. Recently named one of the best quirky landmarks in the U.S. by USA Today, Carhenge was designed by Jim Reinder, an installation artist, and built using 38 cars arranged in roughly the same position as the stones at its namesake. The circle of cars actually serves a more heartfelt purpose than it may appear to at first. According to the attraction's official website, Carhenge was conceived in 1982 to honor Reinder's father and built by the surviving family members five years later.

    Foamhenge
    Despite the fact that it's probably the most fragile, Foamhenge may be the most accurate Stonehenge replica around. Designed by Mark Cline, a sculptor and operator of Enchanted Castle Studios, Foamhenge is, unsurprisingly, a Stonehenge look-alike carved entirely out of foam blocks. Although it's certainly a lot lighter than the original, Cline worked hard to get his proportions right, according to Amusing Planet. He corresponded with tour guides at the actual Stonehenge to make sure that his measurements were correct, and even carved the blocks to look as much like their stone counterparts as possible.

    Stubby Stonehenge
    Another precision replica, Stubby Stonehenge sits on the campus of the University of Missouri at Rolla Rock. The truncated stone blocks were carved to demonstrate the high pressure water carving equipment at a lab at the school. Carving the slabs took just one month, rather than the years that it would have taken the original Stonehenge's builders, as a plaque at the site explains. Roadside America reported that the attraction was honored by the National Society of Professional Engineers with an award that has also been given to such engineering feats as the Hubble Space Telescope.

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