The pretty backdrop of fall colors may entice you travel down unexplored roads. Ramble beyond the city and watch your kids flip out about Illinois’ kitschiest treasures, including the world’s largest catsup bottle and a remake of Pisa’s leaning tower. Flip through our photo album and discover the roadside oddities that have “family photo op” written all over them.
World’s Largest Catsup Bottles – Collinsville, Illinois
Built as a water tower in 1949 to service the plant that bottled Brooks Catsup, this piece of Americana was suddenly in jeopardy when the parent company decided to sell the property in 1993. A preservation group was formed and the landmark lives on so others can enjoy its rich and tangy history. Legend has it the looking at the tower causes red hair in the unborn, as many expectant moms who’ve visited can attest.
The behemoth condiment is located near a World Heritage Site and National Historic Landmark that are destinations worthy of their own road trip. Cahokia Mounds was the site of the most sophisticated prehistoric native civilization north of Mexico. The fate of the ancient Cahokians is unknown, but the clues of the thriving economy they left behind makes for an amazing day of family exploration. Highlights include exploring Woodhenge, where strategically placed 20-foot-tall red cedar timbers served as a calendar; and climbing the many man-made earthen mounds that provide amazing views of the St. Louis Arch a short distance away.
Distance from Chicago: 254 miles southwest
800 S. Morrison Ave., Collinsville, Illinois (618-344-8775)
What is your kid’s favorite roadside landmark? Let us know in the Comments section below.
— Maria Barnes