Cathedral of Junk – Visiting Austin, Texas
Cathedral of Junk: Things to Do in Austin with Kids
Cathedral of Junk: The Beginning
Remember when you were a kid and you and your friends decided to make a club? First you needed a name, then a secret handshake, a sign along the lines of “keep OUT!” and voila…a CLUBHOUSE!!
In 1988 Vince Hannemann began creating a sculpture tower in his Austin backyard. One tower became three and then his creation grew and grew and GREW and became the craziest, biggest, and most awesome clubhouse EVER! He has always called it a clubhouse but his mom dubbed his 60-100 ton creation “Cathedral of Junk’ and like all moms…she was right. The name stuck.
Cathedral of Junk: Visit
Step right up with your children to the Cathedral of Junk and look up. Immediately your eye will scan and then settle on the familiar, “Is that a hobby horse like the one I had as a kid?” Take someone with you so you can have fun exclaiming things you never thought you would say like, “A toilet full of rubber duckies!”.
Somehow the Cathedral of Junk is solidly put together without welding! Vince doesn’t divulge his secrets but we saw evidence of wires, straps, and cement. Once upon a time, those who do not appreciate art in this form tried to force Vincent to take it down. So, Vince had it inspected by structural engineers and much to the dismay of the art naysayers, the structure was found to be safe and sound. It now has a building permit. Be sure to look up!
The kids will take off ahead of you so walk inside! Climb the stairs and go down the slide. Have fun searching for and identifying objects with kids. Show them what computers and telephones looked like back in your day. Laugh at the pile of irons. With all the wash and wear clothing available now, have your kids even seen one? Some of the things from your youth are in again – like troll dolls! This place is a GREAT conversation starter!
Every inch is covered with cool and interesting stuff. The stairs are tires with cement centers. Pressed into the cement? Tools! Bicycle chains! Cookie Cutters and keys! What a crazy family adventure spot!
What do you see?
I think my favorite is the blind folded Barbie. So…..weird?
Kids appreciate this art on a grand scale. For them was is not to love? After free time for exploring, how about a Cathedral of Junk scavenger hunt??
Younger kids can look for colors or letters. Give them all something to look for and turn them loose!
Like all wonders of the world there are rules for the Cathedral Of Junk:
1) BYOL – Bring your own liquid. There are no water fountains and traveling kids get thirsty.
2) Go before you arrive! – There is no bathroom facility.
3) Bring your $10 donation. That is $10 per GROUP not per person.
4) Call ahead, this is in Vince’s backyard and you can only go in with permission and with him as an escort. 512-299-7413
5) Park on the nearby cross street and walk. His neighbors have tired of all the visitors and who can blame them?
For me this artistic creation is the very essence of Austin, which is proudly weird – so weird that it’s city motto is actually ‘Keep Austin Weird’. Bring the whole family with your $10 to see the craziest and most fun piece of art EVER and tell Vince, The Educational Tourist sent you.
Austin has a LOT to offer traveling families. Read these related articles for more tips on visiting Austin Texas – the state capital.
Happy artistic travels,
Natalie, The Educational Tourist