Recently we interviewed Chandler O’Leary of the fantastic illustrated travel blog Drawn the Road Again. We are thrilled to be sharing a series of O’Leary’s illustrations of roadside attractions, along with their place on Atlas Obscura, in a summer series.
Welcome to Roswell (illustration by Chandler O’Leary)
Journeying through Roswell, New Mexico, you’ll find the International UFO Museum and Research Center which boasts mysterious spacecraft models and autopsy reports, and, well, a UFO-themed McDonald’s (if you want to actually take a look at Area 51, the closest you can get is Tikaboo Peak in Nevada). But the truth out there isn’t quite as promisingly kitschy as the myth, as Chandler O’Leary found and illustrated for Drawn the Road Again. As she writes:
There weren’t alien tchotchkes everywhere, nor were we surrounded by roadside attractions. All we really found was a museum (closed that day), a couple of sparse souvenir shops, and a handful of scattered E.T. effigies — so few, in fact, that I couldn’t even fill one whole spread in my sketchbook. And that makes me sad, because just think of the things Roswell could learn from somewhere like Wall Drug!
However, O’Leary has discovered some delightful alien roadside attractions elsewhere, such as the two below, and you can find more at her site. And for more on searching for alien life, check out our Atlas Obscura Guide to First Contact.
Alien-themed BBQ restaurant in North Dakota (illustration by Chandler O’Leary)
UFO-shaped park shelter in Everett, Washington (illustration by Chandler O’Leary)
International UFO Museum & Research Center in Roswell (photograph by Stephen Hanafin)
We also recommend:
ÄNGELHOLM UFO MEMORIAL, Sweden
A memorial to a Swedish hockey player’s encounter with aliens
EMILCIN UFO MEMORIAL, Poland
Commemorating the most famous abduction case in Polish history
WORLD’S FIRST UFO LANDING PAD, Saint Paul, Canada
A Canadian centennial project designed to gather information about UFOs
UFO WATCHTOWER, Crestone, Colorado
A UFO themed campground with self-built “energy vortexes, UFO themed weddings, & magic bushes”
EXETER UFO FESTIVAL, Exeter, New Hampshire
Annual celebration commemorating the 1965 sighting of strange lights in the town
UFO WELCOME CENTER, Bowman, South Carolina
This set of rickety spaceships is prepared to give alien travelers a place to relax