This year, you don’t have to go on an epic family road trip to see some of America’s most iconic roadside attractions.
You can see everything from South Dakota’s Mount Rushmore to New Jersey’s Lucy the Elephant at the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C. Well, at least a version of those iconic landmarks.
The giant pineapple water tower of Honolulu, built 1928, provided water for the Hawaii Pineapple Co., which later became Dole Pineapple. The tank, which was painted like a pineapple with 46 steel “leaves” on the top, was 40 feet tall and held 100,000 gallons of water. The topmost part of the tower stood almost 200 feet above sea level and was also a beacon for arriving ships. The Dole pineapple cannery closed, the water tower fell into disrepair, and ultimately in 1993 it was dismantled and put into storage. The common name “pineapple” was an archaic term for pine cones, and English explorers confused the pineapple (Ananas comosus) fruits for pine cones. Bromelain, a mixture of enzymes found in pineapples, is capable of breaking down raw meat and can be used as meat tenderizer. It is also responsible for the feeling of mouth-soreness that some people experience after eating pineapple. Our pineapple water tower is made from sugar pine cone scales, palm paddles, willow, honeysuckle vine, kiwi vine, esterealla, badam pods, and gourd.
Since 2004, the U.S. Botanic Garden has teamed up with Paul Busse and his Kentucky-based firm to create models made from plants and other natural materials. This year’s “Season’s Greenings: Roadside Attractions” features 40 different models of attractions from across the country.
“This year’s ‘Roadside Attractions’ really celebrates that there’s all these quirky, fun things across America.”
According to the U.S Botanic Garden, the most commonly used plant materials for these models include pine cone scales, willows, cinnamon sticks, grape tendrils and acorn caps.
Beyond the roadside attractions that have model trains circling them, the Botanic Garden also has a collection of 13 different D.C. landmarks ranging from the Washington Monument to the Lincoln Memorial.
“It’s a collection we grow every year,” Dotson added.
The most recent addition is a botanical version of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
Each of the models that are part of the holiday show will be on display until Jan. 1. After that, Dotson said the U.S. Botanic Garden starts brainstorming for the next year.
You can find out more about each of the iconic landmarks and what the models are made of by clicking here.
Read more stories from Alix Hines on Circa.