Kitschy Family Fun

Last weekend we went on a family outing that was far closer to those from my childhood. It was my brother’s turn to pick, and his main destination was Albert the Bull – a giant bull statue in Audubon, Iowa. It was another thing we’d seen as children, so a re-visit seemed like a good idea. But it wouldn’t take all day for a picnic, so I found some other things. Only the museum I had in mind didn’t open until one p.m. Oddly enough, we arrived early, so we did a quick drive through of Audubon – which has some very interesting buildings:

At one p.m. We headed to the Nathaniel Hamlin Museum and Park. Despite the information on the website, the museum was closed with a sign that said weekends were available by “appointment or chance”. hubby called the provided number and we contented ourselves with looking at the elks.

The momma wandered over for a bit, and after some snaps we were ready to head off to Albert when a car pulled up and a lady who works for the historical society got out to do a couple of things. Though it hadn’t been her intention (she had not gotten our message yet) she was awesome enough to show us around the house and grounds.

Besides the house there’s a blacksmith shop, a one room schoolhouse that is fully furnished (even down to books and slate pencils! It’s like a movie set!), and a huge machine shed full of random stuff, such as the flintstone car above, as well as lots of antique farm equipment, old stoves, and other things of interest. The whole site exists on goodwill donations, so it’s a very good value. We could have spent a lot more time looking at everything, but we didn’t want to keep the lady too long, since we didn’t have an appointment and she was taking unplanned time out of her Saturday.

Oh, and after the tour we finally got to see daddy elk.

Elk family

Elk family

I have a better photo on the real camera but the *&^%ing eye-fi card keeps freezing the laptop and I’m out of patience.

Anyway, after that we bought lunchmeat and cheese at the grocery store then headed to the Albert the Bull park for a picnic dinner and some photo posing with a giant bull statue. It’s free, of course, and the little kiosk talks to you (which is pretty cool IMHO) so it was an enjoyable experience and worth a stop if you’re in the area, or of you like giant things, or bulls.

Clouds rolled in, so we packed up early. However as we passed Exira, we decided to backtrack to the plow in the tree park. This was yet another kitschy reminiscent stop. The story goes that a man was plowing his field when union soldiers walked by. At seeing them he unhitched his horse, leaned his plow against the tree, and immediately joined up. In some versions he is then killed, and in others he returns to find the plow already being eaten by the tree. Probably none of it is true, but it’s a fun story, and one of those old tourist traps that aren’t a trap anymore because modern people want to see more than a bit of metal sticking out of a tree.

From there we stopped in Griswold to buy circus tickets (for the show tomorrow), and came home through a storm.

All in all it was a good day, and pretty cheap, too! Now to go see the little mermaid one of these days!

Have a good one!

Jo 🙂


About Joleene Naylor

An independent author, freelance artist, and photographer for fun who loves anime, music, and writing. Check out my vampire series Amaranthine at or drop me a line at

5 responses to “Kitschy Family Fun”

  1. dm yates says :

    What a fun time. I love old buildings.

  2. Juli Hoffman says :

    I LOVE looking through old towns, old museums, old…anything. LOL

  3. Just Plain Ol' Vic says :

    What a wonderful trip. I love going to those “little” towns that have so much character and a little funky vibe! Trips like that are what make lasting memories.

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