The Singing Ring Tree is one of the more unusual and ethereal Texas attractions. Made to stand as a landmark of the 21st century Renaissance, it is a distinctive and towering sound sculpture that harnesses the wind to make its extremely unique sounds. It is well worth visiting Abilene, West Texas, to experience.
The Singing Ringing Tree is a fantastic sculptural attraction made of stainless steel piping, which was moved to Abilene, West Texas, from Manor outside Austin in 2022. The sculpture was made by Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu and is one of three in the world and the only Singing Ringing Tree in the US.
What Is The Singing Ringing Tree?
Singing Ringing Tree? What on earth is that? Well, as the name suggests, the Singing Ringing Tree is a large tree-like architectural art installation that sings and rings in the wind. So, what is so special about this artwork, and why all the fuss?
- The Singing Ringing Tree in Texas is one of three Singing Ringing Trees in the world.
- The Singing Ringing Tree comprises many different lengths of stainless-steel pipes.
- The sculpture itself defies gravity and is an architectural marvel.
- The original Singing Ringing Tree formed part of a group artwork called the Panopticon.
- The Singing Ringing Tree does literally ‘sing.’
The Origins Of The Singing Ringing Tree
We will begin with the sculpture’s origins. The concept was that several large art installations would act as landmarks for the modern age and was thought up by the East Lancashire Environmental Arts Network in England.
Later on, you will see the UK version in action.
The Singing Ringing Tree was inspired by a German fairytale, which was brought to East German television in the late 1950s; as the tale goes, a demanding Princess required her suitor to bring her a Singing Ringing Tree – a special tree whose leaves could sing of love.
The project produced four Panopticons, each designed by a different artist/architect. The original Singing Ringing Tree was created in 2006. It stands out in the countryside on a hill overlooking Burnley in Lancashire, England, and can be accessed via a walk of a few miles.
The Singing Ringing Tree In Abilene Texas
The Singing Ringing Tree that can be found in Texas was commissioned by John Bird, who brought the original designers, architects Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu, out from England. The sculpture was made under their instruction in 2016 by local fabrication wizards JK Welding and was originally installed in Manor, Texas.
The artwork is the only one of its kind in the western hemisphere.
In July 2022, the Singing Ringing Tree was moved to its new home in Abilene, West Texas, thanks to a South Texas art collector who donated it to the city. It took an entire three days to reassemble.
But the effort was well worth it not only due to its pull as a tourist attraction but also because of its literary origins, as Abilene is the Storybook Capital of America.
The sculpture can be found on the grassy median outside Frontier, Texas! Museum, bringing it much closer to the public.
The Texas Singing Ringing Tree has been positioned in such a way that it will make the most of the wind that blows through the town, as Abilene is well known for the wind that buffets it regularly.
This new, more public home will allow more people to enjoy the amazing spectacle of the Singing Ringing Tree, which is both visual and auditory.
What Is The Singing Ringing Tree Made Of?
Although the name includes the word tree, there is no wood in its construction. The sculpture comprises hundreds of galvanized steel pipes of varying lengths with diameters between 11 to 12 inches. Twenty-two levels of piping start in shorter lengths to create the trunk, and these get longer as they rise in a swirl to form the tree canopy.
It could also be likened to a Tornado due to the twirling nature of the construction, with the broad upper section that tapers down to its base.
In looking at the sculpture, it does seem almost impossible that it is able to stand with such a top-heavy section; however, the architects have been able to use physics and thick hollow pipes in the construction to balance the weight.
The sculpture weighs 27 tons and stands 22 feet tall, making it a decidedly impressive sculpture. The Singing Ringing Tree is worth about $500 000 thanks to its beauty, rarity, and design.
What To Expect When Listening To The Singing Ringing Tree
Although the Singing Ringing Tree is a very large sculpture, you may hear it before you see it; it will all depend on the strength of the wind and the direction it is blowing from.
Generally, the Singing Ringing Tree can be heard from 100 to 400 feet away, although it will depend on wind strength and direction. The Singing Ringing Tree sound may be heard from further away if the wind strength and direction are just right.
The hollow pipes at different lengths act as a multitude of recorders or wind instruments and let out various notes, some melodic and others quite haunting. It is peaceful, eerie, and very beautiful to listen to as the notes rise and fall with the wind.
A word of advice, if the day is still, it is unlikely you will hear the Singing Ringing Tree as its sound can only be produced with sufficient wind. Fortunately, Abilene is known to be a windy city.
Due to its singularity, the Singing Ringing Tree is well worth a visit.
What You Need To Know To Visit The Singing Ringing Tree
If the Singing Ringing Tree sounds like something you would like to visit, here are some tips for getting the best experience when heading out to Abilene.
- The closest major city to Abilene is Fort Worth which is just over 140 miles away.
- The closest major airport is the Fort Worth/Dallas International Airport.
- The closest airport is the Abilene Regional Airport which is 4 miles from the city center.
- The hotel closest to the Singing Ringing Tree (which may be close enough to hear it on an extremely windy day) is the Econo Lodge Inn and Suites.
Staying In Abilene, Texas – Hotels
The Singing Ringing Tree is situated almost right in the city’s center, so most hotels are close to the site. The Econo Lodge Inn and Suites is the closest hotel within 1.2 miles of the sculpture. Other hotels are further afield and will likely require the use of a bicycle or taxi.
- Econo Lodge Inn And Suites – one of the most cost-friendly accommodations, but it is also very simple.
- Holiday Inn Express is another hotel within walking distance of the Singing Ringing Tree.
- Hampton Inn And Suites is a more upmarket hotel situated under 3 miles from the Singing Ringing Tree.
Staying in Abilene, Texas – Parks
For those with RVs and who enjoy camping, there are also a few great parks to stay in, which is a great idea if you decide to add the Singing Ringing Tree in Abilene to your cross-country trip.
- Abilene Koa Kampground.
- Abilene RV Park.
- Abilene State Park.
- Buck Creek RV Park.
- Lake Fort Phantom Hill.
- Ridgeview Abilene RV Resort.
- Tye RV Park.
- Whistle Stop RV Resort.
Getting About Abilene Texas
As with most of Texas, things are quite spread out, so unless you stay very close to the Singing Ringing Tree, you will probably need some transport. Fortunately, getting into Abilene is easy thanks to their Regional Airport that is serviced by American Airlines – American Eagle.
Other transportation on offer are as follows:
- ABI Taxi – local Abilene taxi-service.
- AVIS Rent-A-Car.
- Budget Car Rental.
- Central Texas Rural Transit District.
- CityLink Bus Services.
- Roadrunner Taxi.
- Greyhound Bus Services.
- Hertz Car Rental.
- Classic Cab Inc.
- Arrow Ford Car Rentals.
Singing Ringing Tree – Burnley Lancashire, UK
Singing Ringing Tree FAQs
Where Is The Singing Ringing Tree In Texas?
The Singing Ringing Tree was initially installed in Manor outside Austin, Texas. Still, it was moved to the center of the city of Abilene in west Texas in 2022 thanks to the generosity of an art collector from South Texas who donated it to the city.
Who Created The Singing Ringing Tree?
Mike Tonkin and Anna Liu, who form Tonkin Liu Architects, designed and created the Singing Ringing Tree in 2006.
How Many Singing Ringing Trees Are There?
There are 3 Singing Ringing Trees; one is in Abilene, Texas, while the first Singing Ringing Tree can be found in Lancashire, England. The last Singing Ringing Tree sculpture can be found somewhere in Saudi Arabia, although its location is unknown.
What Is The Furthest Distance To Hear The Singing Ringing Tree?
The Singing Ringing Tree can be heard from up close to as far as 100 to 400 feet away, depending on the strength and direction of the wind.
Which Hotel Is Closest To The Singing Ringing Tree?
The Econo Lodge Inn and Suites is the closest hotel to the Singing Ringing Tree, just 1.2 miles away from the sculpture.
- Singing Ringing Tree: wikipedia.com
- Panopticons: wikipedia.com
- International Tourist Attraction Singing Ringing Tree Arrives: abilenecac.org.