This past November I went on a mini road trip with two of my good friends to Wisconsin. You may be asking yourselves why we we chose to visit a place as cold as Chicago and possibly have less action going on in the middle of November. We had a specific and very curious destination in mind: The House on the Rock.
If you’re still confused don’t worry, I had never heard of it before my friend Andie suggested we go. We had no idea what to expect because anyone we asked had the same vague descriptions: bizarre, awesome, “twilight zone-ish.” Soooo what is it?
The House on the Rock is an attraction designed and built by Alex Jordan Jr. The original structure, which Jordan opened to the public in 1959 is a Japanese style house that sits atop of Deer Shelter Rock in Iowa County, Wisconsin. Over the years Jordan added on various spaces, using rooms both small and large to display his vast collection of art, instruments and random knick knacks from around the world.
Since we were visiting in November, Christmas had taken over. Over 6,000 different Santas adorned the place, adding to the outlandish display. There weren’t many other spectators because it was their off-season, which often made us the only three people in a room. We took advantage of having the place almost to ourselves and leisurely strolled through the house, stopping to admire anything that caught our eye.
One of my favorite areas was the Infinity Room. It’s a space that extends 218 ft. over a cliff without any supporting beams, 150 ft. above the ground. It may not be your cup of tea if heights aren’t your thing, but lucky for me that’s not the case! Feeling the pressure of the wind against the structure while peering downward through the glass to see a dark green mass of trees beneath me was breathtaking.
Another impressive site was the massive recreation of Moby Dick. We walked on a raised platform that surrounds the whale, allowing us to look down onto an impressive ocean scene. There are ships trying to stay afloat while the whale and a giant octopus come crashing through the painted blue waves.
The attraction also houses the largest indoor carousel in the world. It began running in 1981, but Jordan began collecting and restoring individual figurines for the carousel and the ceiling above for many years prior. While the music plays different creatures and a huge display of lights go rushing in and out of view. If your gaze goes upward, angels and other creatures are suspended above.
Overall, I really enjoyed the relaxing day I spent there with my friends. If anyone is looking for somewhere inexpensive and unique to visit, I would highly recommend going. I doubt I’ll ever see anything quite like it again.