Wisconsin Dells, WI – Midwest Family Traveler Recommends!

The Midwest Family Traveler has shared a few fun photos from the Wisconsin Dells, making this vacation destination the first Wisconsin entry on Retro Roadmap!

Wisconsin Dells has been a tourist spot for well over 100 years, with the original draw being the scenic gorge and sandstone formations along the banks of the Wisconsin River. While now it boasts as being the Water Park Capital of the World, a quick Flickr Image Search reveals that there are still some vintage signs and evidence of retro vacation fun still worth snapping photos of, like this swell neon Holiday Motel sign. So on the map it goes, for snapshots at least!

Midwest Family Traveler writes:

I love this shot of the dinosaur at this Sinclair gas station:
Sinclair Gas Dinosaur Wisconsin Dells Midwest Family Traveler

(Now I had been under the impression that Sinclair gas stations had gone the way of the dino, as I have never seen one in my travels – tho I remember their iconic green dinosaur fondly  as I had a green plastic bank in the shape of one, and the children’s area of the library in the town I grew up in had one of their sparkly green dinos on top of the book cases. And now of course I want one for our yard 😉 I now know that Sinclair is still around in about 22 states – and as you can tell, they’ve been smart enough to keep their eye-catching prehistoric pal as a calling card!

Midwest Family Traveler also included some snaps of some modern muffler me!

Here’s another spot in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin. It’s the muffler man outside of Paul Bunyan’s Restaurant. I love finding these muffler men as we travel – they are totally vintage and just make you feel like you should be cruising the road in an old Bel Air. 🙂
Paul Buynan Muffler Man Wisconsin Dells Midwest Family Traveler

(Here’s an article from the MFT with some history on Muffler Men – both modern and vintage)

 This one is located outside of Buffalo Phil’s Restaurant and Arcade in Wisconsin Dells. Right down the road from the Sinclair dinosaur.

Buffalo Phils Muffler Man Cowboy Wisconsin Dells Midwest Family Traveler

So there you have it! The Dells may be a bit big and commercial now, but if you’re in the area,  you may be able to take a vintage snapshot or two.


The Wisconsin Dells

View WI – Wisconsin Retro RoadMAP in a larger map

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  • TheDessertEngineer and TheTrav
    August 3, 2012 at 8:31 pm

    We love roadside attractions! We actually found an auto repair shop near Weeki Wachee, Florida, that’s housed in a dinosaur building, just like the picture above. I like that you have included a map on the blog post.

    • Mod Betty
      August 4, 2012 at 7:30 am

      Oh that must have been fun to stumble across a dino like that – I’m keeping my eyes peeled for ’em on all future Retro Road Trips.

      And I’m So Glad you like the maps! That was one of the main things I wanted to make sure all of my posts had – to show folks how easy it is to get to some of these places, or how close they are to other cool things. I love seeing where things are in context, and I come from a long line of map fans.

  • Debra Jane Seltzer
    September 2, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    The Dells Cowboy is not a Muffler Man — but he was crudely modeled after them. Muffler Men were produced in the 1960s . I believe the Dells Guy is much more recent.

    The Cook Shanty Paul Bunyan is also not a Muffler Man. He was produced by FAST or one of the predecessors in Sparta, WI (Muffler Men came from California). I shot the mold at FAST recently:

    • Mod Betty
      September 4, 2012 at 9:23 am

      DJS – thanks for making the distinction in my head between Muffler Men and other Roadside Giants- I’ll refer to them all accordingly from now on. Good thing to know, especially since I saw the Cowboy Muffler Man this weekend at Cowtown, and spotted a giant Amish man at Shirey’s in Dover DE. I obviously need to do some more studying of Roadside America’s “How to Identify a Muffler Man” page!

  • Debra Jane Seltzer
    September 2, 2012 at 12:48 pm

    There are still lots of the smaller vintage Sinclair dinosaurs out there — particularly in Nebraska where there must be dozens. However, the Sinclair dinosaur in the Dells is unique. It was produced by FAST in 2006. More about it and other Sinclair dinosaurs at this page (the Dells dino at the bottom):

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