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Roadside Religion

Whether your group is on a pilgrimage or just stopping by, consider these seven religious roadside attractions in the United States—because faith is a journey, too.

Ave Maria Grotto
Cullman, Alabama

The four-acre park is home to 125 miniature reproductions of some of the most famous historic buildings and shrines of the world. Brother Joseph Zoettl, a Benedictine monk of St. Bernard Abbey, spent nearly his entire life on "Jerusalem in Miniature."

Christ of the Ozarks
Eureka Springs, Arkansas

The third-tallest Jesus in the world stands 67 feet tall atop Magnetic Mountain and weighs over 2 million pounds. Built by Emmet Sullivan and donated by Gerald L.K. Smith, Christ of the Ozarks was the first attraction built for the Great Passion Play religious theme park.

Church at the Cross
Orlando, Florida

The 199-foot-tall cross sits on the grounds of the First Baptist Central Church and Central Florida Christian Academy. It's easily visible from Highway 408, but if you stop to take a closer look, each side of the base depicts a biblical scene and accompanying verse.

Cross at the Crossroads
Effingham, Illinois

The Cross at the Crossroads, made from 180 tons of steel, stands 198 feet tall and 113 feet wide. It's easily visible from Highway 57 and 70 by day and illuminated at night. Ten stations are situated around the based of the cross, where visitors could hear one of the Ten Commandments and a short message. A visitor's center also showcases a short film on the cross' construction.

Cross in the Woods
Indian River, Michigan

The sculpture of the crucified Christ, called "The Man on the Cross," stands 28 feet tall from head to toe, with outstretched arms spanning 21 feet. The Cross in the Woods parish has six other shrines on-site, including their "Our Lady of the Highway Shrine," who serves as "the patroness of millions of travelers and pilgrims who visit the Cross in the Woods."

Shrine of the Red Rocks
Sedona, Arizona

The Shrine of the Red Rocks is located in Sedona, Arizona. The giant neon cross was built by the Masons of the Verde Valley on top of Airport Mesa and is located behind the elusive Mason Temple. The site was dedicated by Arizona Senator Barry Goldwater in April 1961.

Salvation Mountain
Calipatra, California

Leonard Knight spent nearly 30 years painting Salvation Mountain, which stands 50 feet high and 150 feet wide. From the Sea of Galilee at the bottom, to the giant red heart in the middle, to the cross at the top, the mountain stands as Knight's "tribute to God."

Written by Cassie Westrate, staff writer for Groups Today.

Photo courtesy of Cross in the Woods.

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