When cruising down Highway 288 through Houston, Texas, be careful not to swerve off the road when suddenly confronted with the low-flying planes and imposing steel creatures looming in front of the Texas Pipe and Supply Company.
While the planes don’t fly and the animals don’t move, the Eclectic Menagerie Park offers a collection of giant-sized landmarks. This collection of 26 titanic sculptures is the work of grizzled 64-year-old artist Ron Lee, who uses his on-site workshop to construct over-sized versions of animals and even a few machines from the company’s unused pipes and equipment.
The grassy knolls outside the pipe company are home to such creatures as a towering daddy long legs spider, a fairly friendly looking King Kong hanging from an unused crane, and a massive armadillo whose rusted metal plating looks like it could survive a bombing. In addition to the science-fiction animals there are also more abstract constructions such as a tall soldier made of swirling coils of wire and a terrifying crow-man sketched in twisted metal. The collection of scrap art continues to grow with the next planned installation being a titanic fishing pole that has hooked a Mazda Protege.
As enticing (or simply attention grabbing) as the unmarked monuments may be, they are located on the Texas Pipe Company’s private property and the company discourages visitors from approaching the metal monsters lest an errant gust of wind animates one of the beasts and sends it crashing into them.
Know Before You Go
Take TX-288 south, then take the first exit after 610. Ride parallel to the highway on the service road until you see the sculptures on your right. If you're coming from the south, best drive past it and make a u-turn; it isn't visible from the other side of the highway.