Off the Beaten Path: The Weirdest Tourist Attractions
By: Bambi Turner
About This Quiz
There's no shortage of amazing things to see in the world, but for every great museum or monument, there's a roadside attraction or kitschy sideshow just waiting to be discovered. Step outside of the typical tourist track and check out these off-the-cuff attractions!
In Nebraska, you can find a Stonehenge model made out of these.
Constructed in 1987, Nebraska's Carhenge consists of 39 cars arranged into a copy of the ancient Stonehenge monument. If this isn't enough kitsch for you, a similar creation in Florida recreates Stonehenge using old Airstream trailers.
What put a tiny alley behind Higuera Street in San Luis Obispo on the tourist map?
A 15-foot long alley behind Higuera Street has been dubbed Bubblegum Alley thanks to the thousands of pieces of chewed gum that people have stuck to the walls. Seattle had its own gum wall at Pike Place Market until the gum was removed and the wall cleaned in 2015 -- though people quickly moved in to re-gum the area.
What was the first city to offer official tours of its sewer system?
There may be plenty to see above-ground, but Paris opened its sewer system up for tours way back in 1867 -- making it the first city on the planet to let visitors step into the sewers on a guided tour. Combine this with a trip to the Catacombs for the perfect rainy day activity.
Which of these are you most likely to find in an ossuary?
More than 200,000 people each year visit the Sedlec Ossuary in the Czech Republic to marvel at the remains of an estimated 40,000 to 70,000 people. Like all ossuaries, this one contains bones. Unlike many others, the bones at Sedlec are on display in an unusual way -- used to decorate the ceiling and craft works of art.
The Shin-Yokohama Museum in Japan is dedicated to this food.
Love noodles? Head to the Shin-Yokohama Ramen Museum in Japan. The museum features many different types of ramen from famous vendors, as well as a scale model of Tokyo from 1958 -- the year ramen was invented.
What type of animals wander through the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis?
Since the 1930s, visitors to the Peabody Hotel have been treated to a twice daily duck parade. The well-behaved and carefully trained Peabody ducks parade from their home to the fountain in the hotel lobby and back each day, much to the delight of visitors.
A reserve in Devon, England holds the Guinness World Record for largest collection of these.
More than 25,000 people head for Devon's Gnome Reserve each year to view an estimated 2,000 garden gnomes spread over four acres.
What does the Buddhist term Naraka mean in English?
Want to see hell on Earth? Head to Thailand's Hell Garden, a temple garden with artistic depictions of Nakara -- the underworld -- based on Buddhist teachings.
Bright yellow billboards across the American Southwest advertise this amazing attraction.
Anyone who has driven through the American Southwest has likely spotted one of the giant yellow billboards advertising The Thing. If you're ever in Arizona, stop by and see for yourself what all the fuss is about. Spoiler alert -- it's supposedly a mummified mother and child.
What is Missouri's Adventure Trail built over the top of?
Missouri's Nuclear Waste Adventure Trail sits on the site of an old uranium refining plant. Rather than remove the waste, developers simply encapsulated it in a mini mountain that now serves as a fun recreation site.
What hangs around the Isla de las Munecas in Mexico?
The caretaker of the Isla de las Munecas, or Island of the Dolls, spent half a century hanging discarded dolls around the island to honor a drowned child. Today, it's a spooky attraction for those visiting Mexico City.
Which U.S. state is home to the famous Corn Palace?
Heading for the Black Hills or the Badlands? Make a pit stop in Mitchell, South Dakota, to see the Corn Palace, a building constructed primarily from corn. First built in 1892 and rebuilt several times since then, the structure attracts more than 200,000 visitors each year.
Bathurst, South Africa is home to the largest man-made version of this fruit.
Modeled after the original giant pineapple in Queensland, Australia, South Africa's giant pineapple measures more than 50 feet tall. While you're there, you can gaze across the fields of pineapples growing nearby. That's right -- pineapples grow on the ground, not on trees.
Tonopah, Nevada, is home to a hotel with this theme.
Love them or hate them, the Nevada Clown Motel has plenty of clowns to offer. Even those who think clowns are a laugh might find this place freaky, given that it's situated right next to a graveyard.
Who is the mascot at South of the Border on the East coast?
Driving down I-95 in the Southeast, it's likely you've seen one of the hundreds of billboards featuring Pedro, a Mexican bandido famous for his terrible puns, such as "You never sausage a place." Despite the signs, many stop at the kitschy roadside attraction situated on the border between North and South Carolina.
What does Wall Drug offer for free to get tourists to stop by?
Wall Drug started in 1931 as a tiny drugstore in South Dakota. The owners attracted shoppers by offering free ice water, and now the place is one of the state's biggest tourist attractions. And yes, you can still get free ice water there.
What U.S. state is home to the Ben and Jerry's Flavor Graveyard?
When Ben and Jerry's abandons a flavor, they give it a spot in their Flavor Graveyard outside of their Waterbury, Vermont factory. More than 300,000 factory visitors each year step outside to pay tribute to concoctions like Wavy Gravy and Turtle Soup.
A faux branch of this luxury store sits on an isolated Texas highway.
Artists built a faux Prada store along U.S. 90 near the tiny town of Marfa, Texas, in 2005. Within a week, someone broke in and stole the purses and shoes. The place was quickly restocked and now attracts curious drivers passing through the area.
A steel sculpture of this creature sits in a prominent spot in Point Pleasant, West Virginia.
West Virginia has been known for rumors of a mysterious Mothman since the '60s, but it wasn't until "The Mothman Prophecies" came out in 2001 that the town of Point Pleasant decided to erect a stature to commemorate the creature.
What state is home to a man-made structure known as Salvation Mountain?
Work on Salvation Mountain began in 1985, and today the adobe and paint-covered structure -- complete with painted Bible verses -- is more than 50 feet high. It sits next to the Salton Sea in California, which was once a hot vacation spot, but is now nothing more than a oddity for curious tourists.
In Idaho, you can stay in a hotel shaped like one of these dogs.
The Dog Park Bark Inn in Idaho -- know locally as Sweet Willy -- opened in 2003 and resembles a giant beagle. Dog lovers can come spend the night in the hotel room within the belly of the beast, and yes, you can bring your dog.
Cawker City, Kansas, is home to the largest one of these on the planet.
The giant ball of twine in Cawker City has a circumference of 40 feet. To make sure it holds onto its title as world's largest twine ball, citizens have a twine-a-thon each year when anyone can add to the ball.
Rachel, Nevada, has a hotel dedicated to this curiosity.
Rachel, Nevada, celebrates all things otherworldly. You can cruise into town via the Extraterrestrial Highway, then stay at the Little A'Le'Inn while keeping an eye on the sky for UFOs.
Billy goats should steer clear of this city, which is home to a giant troll hidden under a bridge.
The 18-foot-tall Freemont Troll lurks under a Seattle bridge. Coincidentally, Seattle is also home to the tallest statue of Lenin -- salvaged from the Czech Republic -- in the U.S.
What's unique about the Yunessun Spa Resort in Japan?
At Yunessun, visitors can soak in libations ranging from wine to coffee to sake, all while surrounded by giant wine bottles or beer barrels.
At the Capuchin Catacombs in this country, the corpses are kept out in the open.
There's something in the air in Italy's Capuchin Catacombs that helps preserve and mummify corpses. Visitors can tour the catacombs, where more than 1,800 bodies line the walls in plain view, many held in place via hooks around their necks.
What does the Karni Mata Temple in India pay tribute to?
More than 25,000 rats call Karni Mata home, but they are protected because they are believed to be the descendants of a Hindu goddess.
Leshan, China boasts the largest one of these in the world.
The Leshan Giant Buddha was carved straight into a cliff around the year 800. At more than 230 feet tall, it's the largest Buddha on the planet. While you're there, head to the nearby panda-themed Leyi Hotel, where even the staff dress as pandas.
What is Manneken Pis doing that makes the statue so unusual?
The tiny Manneken Pis is a urinating statue in Brussels dating back to the 1600s. A female version, Jeanneke Pis, was added in the 1980s, and a urinating dog, Zinneke Pis, was constructed in 1998.
What is Bolivia's Palacio de Sal built from?
First constructed in 1995, the Palacio de Sal was rebuilt in 2007 using one million blocks of salt. The structure sits in one of the world's largest salt flats, so there's no problem coming up with raw materials for repairs or additions.
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