It’s been memorialized in song, movies and photography since it was first created, so a visit to Cadillac Ranch is really much more than just a road side stop. It’s a conversation yet to happen, an “I’ve been there” moment, a facebook profile picture, a happy memory.
Here are My Mommy Tips for making the most of your visit.
If your kids, or you, don’t scare easily, then check out these fun ghost stories about Cadillac Ranch in the Amarillo Globe News. Click HERE.
1. You Either Get it or You Don’t
Here’s the thing, if a row of old Cadillacs buried in the dirt that you can paint on doesn’t sound like something you just HAVE to see, then nothing I can say is going to convince you, no more than I could change someone’s mind about a Jackson Pollock. It’s a sculpture, it’s ART, and you either appreciate it or you don’t.
One way or another, it won’t be here forever, so if you want to see it, do it while you have the chance.
2. Know Before You Go
Cadillac Ranch is located on I-40, West of Amarillo. It’s pretty hard to miss if you are looking for it, but it’s not as close to the road as I expected, so you will need to look for it.
There is not parking except along the access road, and it can get a little busy. Watch your little children!
Dogs are allowed, but keep on a leash and pick up after them, please.
No restrooms. No picnic tables. No shelter from the wind or rain. No kiosk describing the work, or who did it, or why. Just ten cars buried in the ground, with paint cans littered all around it.
3. The Cadillacs
The cars have been there awhile. The glass and seats are all gone. They can be climbed on and even walked through!
4. Paint and the Cans It Rode In On…
Pick up some spray paint or even small paint pens. Some people bought a background color to cover up the paint underneath, then painted their name, etc with another color. There is a Home Depot about 5 miles away on I-40.
If you don’t have a spray can, there are cans lying around everywhere that usually have a little bit left in them, for the next person to use! If you empty it, throw it away.
Last on this topic, I was very pleasantly surprised about the nature of the trash, and the graffiti on the cars. There was no bad language on the cars, negative comments, etc. Mainly just names. The trash was just that, trash that had been blown in. No beer cans, no broken bottles, no remnants of late night visitors.
5. Disposable Gloves
Grab some disposable vinyl or latex gloves! My little guy had so much paint on his hands that we couldn’t wipe it off with a baby wipe (a travel staple) or wash it off with water! We ended up purchasing a can of mineral spirits at Home Depot to clean it up!
6. Be creative
Some of our favorites were pictures that took advantage of the car parts!
7. The History of Cadillac Ranch
The Cadillacs have been here since 1974, when artist who were part of a California group named Ant Farm came up with the idea to pay homage to the evolution of the Cadillac, especially the defining tail fin. They secured a patron in Amarillo native, Stanley Marsh, who donated the land for the installation.
In 1997 the cars were moved 2 miles West of their original location.
The cars are routinely painted for different reasons, including for the Route 66 Landmark Restoration Project.
8. Obey the Signs
It’s okay to paint on the cars, but not on anything else.
9. The Beauty is in it’s Temporariness
Cadillac Ranch is a busy place, and no sooner do you take your picture and step away, than someone else is leaving their mark on that moment in time. While I love this concept, young children DO NOT quite get it! Best advice for traveling with kids, when you are finished, take a picture and let them look at it while you walk away, and don’t look back. By the time we reached our car, someone had already painted over ours!
Don’t worry, just get in the car, find Springsteen’s version on YouTube, and drive off in the sunset with the whole family is singing along!
9. Cadillac Ranch RV and Gift Shop
Located just east of the art exhibit is a little gift shop where you can purchase Cadillac Ranch and Route 66 memorabilia, wash your hands and use the restroom. The Cadillacs out front are the same cars as those buried and covered with paint, which made it a neat stop to show the kids what they looked like when cruising up and down Route 66!
10. Local Attractions
After visiting Cadillac Ranch, we headed into Amarillo to see the historic Route 66. Click HERE to read more about it.
I- 40, West of Amarillo
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