In Middletown, CT, you can find one of the strangest pieces of art in New England – a 50-foot tall structure known to be the largest jack-in-the-box. Since 2008, motorists driving past Wild Bill’s Nostalgia Center have been greeted by this unexpected sight. Many end up stopping in just out of curiosity, but the attraction has also gained a reputation and attracted out-of-town visitors, tourists, and locals. Our Connecticut adoption professionals think the jack-in-the-box and nostalgia center are both a worthwhile visit for anyone who lives in or is passing through the Middletown area. Here is some more information:
In 2008, the owner of Wild Bill’s (Bill Ziegler) was also the owner of a 600-pound clown head which formerly belonged to Bob Keeshan (aka Captain Kangaroo and Claribel the Clown) and an empty brick silo. An artist named Chris Hausback approached Ziegler about combining the two for a large-scale art project – the largest jack-in-the-box on earth. Fast forward a few months, and they had created one of the most striking roadside attractions in this part of the country. This attraction has surely had a positive effect on business at Wild Bill’s, as it easily stokes the curiosity of passing motorists who want to stop in and see what the place is all about.
Wild Bill’s Nostalgia Center
Wild Bill’s Nostalgia Center is a vintage shop featuring a huge selection of pop culture items, rare toys and games, books, magazines, and various other random objects and collectibles. Just about every generation in your family should be able to find something here that brings back fond memories of their youth. Along with the jack-in-the-box, Wild Bill’s is home another striking feature – the world’s largest bobbing head. This reproduction of Wild Bill greets you as you enter at the Grand Entrance.
Wild Bill’s is an homage to classic fun houses, with fun features like:
- 20-foot tall painted and buried boats
- A book and record store
- Artistic installations
- Large character cutouts like the Wicked Witch of the East and the Good Witch of the North
- Carnival and sideshow decor
We love visiting here with our kids because it’s usually fun to show them the kinds of toys we played with when we were growing up. There are also so many unique items here that have aged well and have a timeless appeal, so you can pick up something that brings back good memories of your childhood and your kids can enjoy playing with them as well.
Some examples of items you can expect to find at Wild Bill’s include:
- Bobbing head dolls
- Old-school and new posters
- Vintage magazines
- Whale bones
- Wacky wobblers
- Petrified turtle shell