YOU LIKELY WILL NOT FIND this Mason City attraction listed on any official tourism website.
But Rancho Deluxe Z Garden, a quirky sculpture garden created on a half-acre of land in this northeastern Iowa community, is precisely the type of homespun arts spot that draws my interest.
If not for Mason City resident, blogger and friend, Beth Ann Chiles, though, I likely never would have visited this community, thus missing out on Max Weaver’s creative oddity located at 500 Second Street Northeast. Beth Ann knows me well enough to know I would want to visit the Rancho while visiting her.
So off we drove, aiming for this sculpture garden at the end of a dead end street on a hot and humid Sunday afternoon in late August. We weren’t the only ones there. A photographer was doing a senior photo shoot in a spot apparently popular for such portraits.
And this summer, participants in Iowa’s Ragbrai, an annual bike ride across the state, toured the Rancho, a stop documented in signatures upon a cement block. The garden features bikes suspended from trees, fences and elsewhere, incorporated as works of art, making this Ragbrai visit especially appropriate.
Beth Ann and I, cameras in hand, meandered through the garden while my husband, Randy, clipped along. The Rancho calls for a slow study and multiple times walking through the garden to take in every detail. I expect I missed much, even at my snail’s pace. And, noted, Beth Ann, the garden is ever evolving.
From signs to hub caps, bikes, dolls, license plates, rocks, statues, wheels, painted cement blocks and more, this garden presents an eclectic mix of stuff artfully placed on this plot of land.
You just have to see Rancho Deluxe Z Garden to believe this almost indescribable place. If you appreciate odd and quirky and art outside the box, then head for Mason City and Max Weaver’s unique sculpture garden.
FYI: Check back tomorrow for more photos from this sculpture garden.
If you like quirky places, consider also touring the “antique theme park” at Hot Sam’s Antiques, rural Lakeville, Minnesota. Click here to read about my visit there two years ago.
© Copyright 2014 Audrey Kletscher Helbling