We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

“This Road Stop Is In Terribly Poor Taste”
Review of Thing

Thing
Ranked #4 of 4 Dessert in Benson
Cuisines: Fast Food
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Dining options: Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Off-Street Parking, Seating, Takeout
Description: It is 17 miles east of Benson and about 40 miles east of Tucson on Interstate 10 (Exit 322). Look around the spacious gift shop and purchase a few gifts, a couple of pieces of Indian Handmade or gold jewelry, some pottery, or one of the many other items available at this location. Do your shopping before you tour the museum and look for The Thing. Because afterwards you will probably want to compose yourself and just sit awhile sipping a cold soda or try to calm your nerves by scarfing up an Ultimate Burger or shoveling down a cold DQ Blizzard at the Dairy Queen located right next door. This location also offers self-serve Shell fuel with 24 hr. Pay at the pump service.
Fort Myers Beach, Florida
Level Contributor
330 reviews
126 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 174 helpful votes
“This Road Stop Is In Terribly Poor Taste”
Reviewed March 12, 2013

Hitler At Bowlins? You’ve Got To Be Pulling My Leg!
We stopped at the four Bowlins stores on I-10 in New Mexico. They advertised “The Thing” at exit 322 in Arizona. As a lead up at the Butterfield Stage stop on the way from Deming to Lordsburg they had a mannequin in an old car. It was supposed to be a skeleton, perhaps an old-time miner. On the bumper was the sticker The Thing Exit 322. We were expecting a typical western bad guy as the thing. We couldn’t believe it when we paid $2.00 adult admission and followed the yellow footprints behind a closed door to find Hitler seated in the back of a 1930’s Rolls Royce. What does this have to do with the west? What about the light, spoofy atmosphere of Bowlins? We were so offended that we left, not knowing what to do with the bumper sticker we’d bought ahead of time in eager anticipation.
My husband says “The Thing” was a 50’s alien sci fi movie. Is Hitler the ultimate space alien? Following the Americans’ cartoonish image of Hitler, somehow they think this fits.
P.S. We saw The Thing on the last day of our 76-day odyssey from Tucson to the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal, to Europe, and back. On the very first day we saw a Herbie car, a Volkswagen Beetle, by the side of the road with "Hitler made this car" scrawled across the windshield. Arizona seems to be full of the cartoonish side of Hitler.
P.S.S. The only redeeming feature of this pit stop is the wonderful view of Texas Canyon just down the highway.

  • Visited August 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
16 Thank Linda C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Write a Review

22 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    3
    7
    7
    1
    4
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
55 reviews
31 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Nice truck stop”
Reviewed May 26, 2012

When Traveling down I 10 into Willcox there are many billboards advertising, "The Thing" You can get gas, visit Dairy Queen, and buy reasonable trinkets and t-shirts. You can pay a small fee to see "The Thing". Not worth the small fee to see, but you should see it once. What is it? I will let you see it for yourself.

Visited March 2012
Helpful?
1 Thank Mary H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Benson, Arizona
Level Contributor
23 reviews
13 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Quirky and fun”
Reviewed April 9, 2012

Strictly a tourist trap, wall to wall souvenirs, but worth a trip to see The Thing. It's a small entry fee, and a lot of very interesting items to see along the journey. I recommend it to all my visitors.

Visited August 2011
Helpful?
1 Thank cctsflwr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Elfrida, Arizona
Level Contributor
4 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
“Cool place for AZ souvenirs.”
Reviewed March 25, 2012

This place has a ton of neat souvenir type stuff to look at and the DQ is great.

Visited December 2011
Helpful?
Thank Rodney L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bullhead CIty, AZ
Level Contributor
163 reviews
78 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 153 helpful votes
“An Old 60s Roadside Attraction, now a Bowlin's Travel Stop”
Reviewed January 13, 2012

My first recollection of "the thing" was when travelling to Tucson, AZ as a boy in the early 60s; the yellow billboard signs with red letters advertising "The Thing" started just outside of Palm Springs, CA & continued every few miles along Highway 60 &70 (later Interstate 10) all the way across the desert. The signs included little teasers, such as "The Thing?: mystery of the desert... The Thing?: bring your camera... The Thing? what is it??" The problem was on these trips of my youth, my family was always driving to Tucson to visit my grandparents, & thing"The Thing" was further down the highway. The closest I ever got to 'The Thing" was the last billboard in Tuscon, announcing the place was a mere 30 minutes away.

SPOILER ALERT! :) I finally experienced The Thing when driving to San Antonio, TX from California when I was in the US Navy in the late 70s. At that time, all there was to see was a large Indian-themed gift shop typical of many found in Arizona, and door in the back of the building leading to "The Thing". The cost of admission to go through the door back then was $3, which I paid & had my life-long curiosity finally satisfied. Out in back of the building is something of a cross between a junkyard and what was known in the 60s as a "trailside museum"... lots of old cars, mining equipment, & junk found along the byways of Arizona. The "museum" culminated with "the thing", which is what appears to be some sort of mummified (apparently) Native American Indian, with what appears to be a similarly mummified baby in her arms. The exhibit is in a large glass case, and looks like it could just as well be a paper mache fake.

Now fast-forward to 2012. The Thing still has billboards, but they are similar in style & advertising worth to the other Bowlin's travel stops & curio shops found along Interstates 10 & 40 in Arizona and New Mexico. The establishment now has a Daily Queen, a 24 hour gas station, and a large gift shop with tons of ersatz "authentic southwestern stuff", and entry to "The Thing" is now $1. For a buck, it may be worth going though the door & seeing what is behind the store... but the real attraction is that this is a historical site for anyone interested in old US highway memorabilia. If you get excited at the thought of hotels that look like teepees, or like the weird and offbeat on Route 66, then "The Thing" should not be missed. However, if this sort of thing (no pun intended) does not trip your trigger, then the gas is Cheaper and the food better in Tuscon.

  • Visited January 2012
    • Value
    • Atmosphere
    • Service
    • Food
Helpful?
8 Thank Qualnurse
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

Been to Thing? Share your experiences!

Write a Review Add Photos & Videos

Owners: What's your side of the story?

Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.

Claim Your Listing