If you’re an adventurer at heart who’s buying a home in Midland, we have great news for you: There are five truly amazing, weird, wild and wonderful places you can visit in and around Midland that are definitely worth a road trip. Check out these five off-the-beaten-path attractions near Midland to plan your next few weekends.
5 Off-the-Beaten-Path Attractions Near Midland
Right in Midland, we have the Petroleum Museum featuring the world’s largest collection of antique oil rigs, so that’s a great start if you’re sticking close to home. When you visit the Petroleum Museum, which is partly owned by ConocoPhillips, you’ll discover oil companies’ point of view on energy use and consumption. But if you’re venturing out of town, check out these five unbelievably cool attractions:
- Stonehenge Replica in Odessa
- The Wink Sink
- Balmorhea State Park Pool
- Blood Lake in San Angelo
- National WASP WWII Museum in Sweetwater
Here’s a closer look at each.
Stonehenge Replica in Odessa
The Stonehenge replica in Odessa is just as mysterious as the stone formation it’s named after – but you can see this one with just a short drive west of town. This modern monument, built in six weeks (unlike the original Stonehenge, which many experts believe took more than 2,000 years) and designed to simulate the experience you’d get with the real deal, is located on East University Boulevard in Odessa.
The Wink Sink
The Wink Sink actually refers to two massive sinkholes that are freaking out local authorities – and as they grow, there’s a good chance that they’ll merge together and create a catastrophic collapse. Experts say that drilling in the area – particularly between 1926 and 1964 – created a very unstable landscape that allowed fresh water to find its way deep underground, where it’s dissolving interbedded salt layers and creating problems for the landscape. Wink Sink 1 formed in 1980, and Wink Sink 2 formed in 2002 about a mile away. You can see them on County Road 201 in Winkler County, near the towns of Wink and Kermit. (Map it here.)
Balmorhea State Park Pool
The Balmorhea State Park Pool is spring-fed, and it’s so deep that you can use it for SCUBA diving. The water is incredibly clear, even as you reach its lower depths of around 25 feet, and more than 15 million gallons of water circulate through it each day. It was sectioned off by the Civilian Conservation Corps, which operated between 1933 and 1942. The pool is open daily, and you can use it after paying your park entrance fee (the pass office closes before the pool does, though, so make sure you’re there early enough to get in). The water temperature stays pretty steady all year, ranging from 72 degrees to 76 degrees regardless of season.
Blood Lake in San Angelo
Blood Lake in San Angelo is remarkably red – and it turned that way due to Chromatiaceae bacteria, which thrives in oxygen-deprived water. What was once a fabulous fishing spot called the O.C. Reservoir is now a mucky pool that you wouldn’t want to swim in, but it’s definitely worth seeing. Scientists say that all the reservoirs in the area have begun to dry since a severe drought has hit more than 75 percent of the state, and in particular causing this one’s downgrade from an actual lake to a pond.
National WASP WWII Museum
The National WASP WWII Museum in Sweetwater commemorates the 1,074 Women Airforce Service Pilots, or WASPS, who were the first-ever female pilots to join men behind the controls of fighter planes. The museum, founded in 2003, is located on the edge of Avenger Airfield in Texas. WASPs flew more than 60 million miles in non-combat missions during WWII out of 120 bases and airfields across the U.S. before the U.S. government refused to recognize them as part of the military and disbanded the program. Exhibits include the last known Bamboo Bomber, which was used to train WASPs on Avenger Field, a glimpse into the living conditions these women had during training, and more.
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