The Thing. What is it? Many wonder as they drive the stretch of highway
along I-10 in Arizona, seeing signs that span El Paso, Texas to Tucson, AZ. We just
had to stop at exit 322 in Dragoon, Arizona and find out what all the hype was about!
The Thing is located in the back of a large gas station/gift shop that is also attached to
a Dairy Queen. For a mere . 75 cents to a dollar you can journey
through the artifacts to reveal the mystery of The Thing! The mystery builds as you
follow the yellow big foot prints along the floor and through the different
shed-buildings. There are so many odd and interesting items housed in dusty cases as
you wander through. It’s fun to wonder if they are actually labeled correctly. For
example, there is a vehicle that claims to have been owed by Hitler!
From what I understand, a quirky collector gathered all of the odd pieces and displayed
them at a different location in the 1950’s. In the 1960’s they moved the attraction to the current location
in Dragoon, near Benson. Although it is no longer owned by that collector, they have maintained the same
dusty, wacky atmosphere.
The last shed contains (drum-roll please), the actual “Thing” that
everyone is anticipating. Is it real? Is it fake? Who knows? And, honestly, I don’t really care. We were
excited as we approached the stone box with the sign over it that reads, “The Thing, What is it?” Inside
the box is actually two things. The mysterious “Thing” turns out to be two mummies!
Some say it’s from Egypt, and others say it is an ancient Native American mom and baby. And, yet others say
it’s a nicely made paper mache creation. Does it really matter whether or not The Thing or any of the other
“things” in the strange museum are real?
Either way, it’s a
dollar’s worth of entertainment and a true piece of road-trip Americana. It is a great
place to stop and get the kids out of the car. My kids all LOVED it. The kitschy-oddities were
perfect to laugh at and think about. And, they enjoyed looking at the touristy gift shop and all of the goofy
southwestern and Thing merchandise. And, of course, we had to stop at Dairy Queen! I hope
they never change it and I sure wish there were more of these tourist traps along the way…it makes life on
the road interesting.
You can find the thing at:
2631 N Johnson Rd Dragoon,