After spending two days exploring Saguaro National Park, we hit the road to drive all the way to Lajitas, Texas and Big Bend National Park. It was going to be a VERY long day on the road. Luckily we came across a few fun roadside attractions along the way to break up the drive and provide some extra fun…
Interstate 10 in Southern Arizona is lined with giant yellow billboards advertising a roadside attraction called The Thing at a Dairy Queen/gas station travel center. There are so many billboards, that roadside travelers like us can’t help but wonder what The Thing is — and if you Google it, there isn’t much information either, so when Brian pulled in for gas, the kids and I headed inside to do some exploring and figure it out.
Apparently, since the mid-1960s, Bowlin’s The Thing (an alien mystery creature in a vintage car) sat in a shed behind the gas station store surrounded old cars and weird oddities and cost $1.00-$2.00 to see — and I was ready to drop a few bucks to see it.
But lucky for us, with the goal of competing with The Roswell UFO Museum in Roswell, New Mexico, Bowlin Travel Centers invested in a $3.5 million upgrade that was completed earlier this year. Now, instead of a weird roadside attraction sitting amid hokey junk, we found a large, lavish gift shop, sparkling clean restrooms, and a brand-spanking-new museum with a theme of Aliens vs. Dinosaurs!
Aliens vs. Dinosaurs Museum
The 12,000 square foot Aliens vs. Dinosaurs Museum, tells The Thing’s origin story and asks, “What if everything you know about history is fake?”
We paid the $10.00 family entrance fee and headed inside… and right away, our jaws dropped. It was not at all what we were expecting.
The museum tells a crazy story of Aliens coming to earth dominating the dinosaurs, then the dinosaurs rising up against the aliens in an epic battle. It also walks visitors through a historic timeline of actual human events that were supposedly influenced by aliens.
There are also giant statues of aliens and dinosaurs that make for some super fun photo opportunities. Natalie and Carter and I laughed our way through this entire museum totally fascinated and baffled at this nutty (but totally awesome) museum in the middle of the Arizona desert.
By the time we finished wandering through the museum, Brian came into the store to find us. We browsed the shop and grabbed a Christmas ornament and some snacks before hitting the road again.
Bowlin’s The Thing, now part of a fun Aliens vs. Dinosaurs Museum, is well worth your time and $10.00 family entrance fee is totally worth it for anyone who loves dinosaurs and aliens — or anyone who has kids who are tired of being in the car!
Know Before You Go
- Bowlin’s The Thing and Museum is located at 2631 N. Johnson Road, Dragoon, Arizona 85602 in Cochise County. It is off I-10, Exit 322 about 17 miles east of Benson and 40 miles east of Tucson.
- At the Bowlin Travel Stop, you’ll find a Gift Shop packed with western wear, pottery, cowboy hats, leather goods, fireworks, gifts, fireworks, jewelry, apparel, home decor, snacks, and food items.
- In addition to the museum and gift shop, you’ll also find a Shell gas station, a Dairy Queen, and clean restrooms.
- The Museum is open from 7:00 am to 7:00 pm daily.
- Museum Admission is $5.00 per person, $4.00 for active military, veterans, seniors, and kids under 12, or $10.00 for your whole family.
- There is call service and WiFi available.