Weird, wacky, and wonderful sites to visit in IllinoisIn this updated edition, it’s plain to see that the state of Illinois has only gotten weirder. Where there was once just a single Popeye statue in downstate Chester, today the town has monuments to Olive Oyl, Swee’ Pea, Bluto, the Sea Hag, and more. The creepy Piasa Bird petroglyph on the bluff in Alton now has a roadside pullout with picnic tables, and the two-story outhouse in Gays has a new contemplative garden. With almost twice as many destinations as its predecessor, this edition boasts detailed information on each site—address, phone number, website, hours, entry fees, and driving directions—as well as maps, photos, and a wealth of regional history in the descriptions. Some new sites include Henry’s Rabbit Ranch, the World’s First Jungle Gym, Ahlgrim Acres (a miniature golf course at a funeral home), the Leather Archives and Museum, General Santa Ana’s two wooden legs, the World’s Largest Sock Monkey, the Friendship Shoe Fence, a truck stop with a marionette show, and a coin-operated fire-breathing dragon. There is more between Chicago and St. Louis than cornfields and plenty of fascinating places in the Windy City that aren’t on Michigan Avenue, and here is a chance to see these underappreciated sites throughout the state.
Reviews“One irresistible guidebook.” —Chicago Tribune
“This Bible of cultural attractions is essential for any travelers who want to know (almost) everything about the Land of Lincoln . . . Oddball Illinois is an amazing historical/topographical document.” —West Chicago Press
“For those who are up to an adventure, but don’t like to venture too far from home.” —Tri-County News-Williamsfield Times Edition
“Interesting and unusual.” —Chicago Parent
“A view of quirky and under-appreciated destinations in Illinois and Chicago.” —Kane County Chronicle
Author BiographyJerome Pohlen is an editor and educational author who has written 10 travel guides including Oddball Indiana, Oddball Iowa, Oddball Wisconsin, and Progressive Nation. His travel writing has appeared in the Chicago Reader, Readers Digest, and TimeOut Chicago. He has been a regular contributor on travel and culture for the 848 Show on WBEZ (Chicago's NPR affliate). He lives in Chicago.