Bowlin’s Roadside Attraction ” The Thing” Gets A Major Overhaul


Earlier this year, yours truly, traveled from Washington state to Texas via California with my husband and kids in tow. The tail end of our trip led us through Arizona where we encountered miles, and I mean MILES of signs like the one below. Advertising the promise of something called “The Thing? Mystery of the Desert”.

Photo courtesy of!USA-trip8-2015/12b-benson-camp.html

Now, most of you are probably thinking, “wait, this isn’t the same “Thing” as John Carpenter’s iconic monster, right?”  Of course not!!! We were in the desert, not Antartica. Curiosity got the best of us, so we decided to stop and check it out. (Sounds like every victim in a horror movie, amirite?) 

Anyway, back to “The Thing”……..

Photo Courtesy of MorbidMommyNNN

To get a little backstory on the location itself, I’ve included their bio below.

Our Story:
In 1969, Bowlin’s acquired The Thing, a store/museum complex near Benson, Arizona, on Interstate 10. The Thing was not only the name of the store, but of the star exhibit of the museum, belonging to lawyer Thomas Binkley Prince, who quickly based a tourist stop and museum around the strange object. The old museum was reminiscent of an circus side-show and set up in a series of three consecutive metal buildings. Thomas Prince passed away in 1969, leaving the property to his wife, Janet.
Janet Prince, having little interest in running the day to day operations of the museum and store, leased the property to Bowlin Travel Centers. After a few decades of management, Bowlin’s purchased The Thing in 2010.
The museum and travel center are now undergoing a massive renovation that will be completed in the summer of 2018.
The Thing is located in Texas Canyon, a fairly remote stretch of I-10. Literally hundreds of billboards advertise The Thing to draw in the inquisitive traveler. A Dairy Queen restaurant and Shell gasoline are also available. As you’re able to continue your trip, you may want to stop in at Karchner Caverns, the Benson Railroad Depot and Visitor’s Center or just mosey off to historic Tombstone, Arizona.
– Bowlin’s The Thing, Facebook Page
Now that the renovations are underway, the attraction won’t look anything like what we encountered back in January. When we walked into the store it was filled with fun, random items. Clothing, artifacts, fireworks, hot sauces; all sorts of novelties. It was actually pretty rad. Then we found the object known as “The Thing” or what we assumed was “The Thing”. A mummified mother cradling her child……

Photo Courtesy of MorbidMommyNNN

Was it worth stopping for? Absolutely! We had a blast checking out the entire place and real or not, “The Thing” was interesting to see up close. 
So if you are in the area, we highly recommend stopping in and checking it out!! 
What’s Next For This Roadside Attraction??
After searching the interwebs and their facebook, it seems like they are going to incorporate two new aspects; Aliens and Dinosaurs! 
Whether or not they will include any original elements or artifacts is unknown but we are excited to see the final set up.

Photo Courtesy of

Want to stay in the loop?? See their contact info below!

Follow them on facebook for more updates>>
Want some of “The Thing” swag? Click here for their online shop >>
Got some questions? Call them >>>  (520) 568-2581
PLEASE NOTE: You may visit the attraction now, but as stated above, the location is currently under construction and expected to be completed sometime this summer! Be sure to call ahead to find out if they are fully operational to make your trip worth it!

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