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Best Local Tourist Attraction You've Probably Never Heard Of Phoenix 2001 - Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Have you had it up to your disposable camera with Western-themed tourist traps featuring fake cowboy shoot-outs and chuck-wagon dinners served in mining pans?

Then dare to look beyond the obvious at Somewhere Over the Rainbow, a three-acre oasis of oddities near Cave Creek and Sweetwater roads, assembled by 77-year-old retiree Gus Brethauer. He has spent the past 25 years turning his property into a glorious pack rat paradise, and these days, he gladly gives tours in return for a voluntary donation.

The kids will enjoy highlights like a UFO landing pad, a prehistoric Temple of Doom, a grove of artificial Christmas trees (complete with plastic forest denizens), a "haunted" bungalow, and a mirror maze fashioned from discarded reflective surfaces. Older visitors will get a kick out of old Phoenix rubble -- decorative plastic "WP" trim from West Plaza Shopping Center and a stone gargoyle from the old Fox Theatre. Come prepared to walk (tours through the desert terrain take about two hours), and leave your disbelief at home.

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