Saturday, June 11, 2011

7 Strange Tourist Attractions

As much as people joke about them or make fun of them, everybody loves tourism and tourists. There’s nothing quite like visiting a new place and seeing all the people and places, and all the unique history that a place has to offer. You can both unwind from a hard job and learn something about somewhere else. Of course, some history is more…unique than other kinds of history, and you’d be surprised what people are able, let alone willing, to turn into a museum or attraction. For example!

1. The Drug Enforcement Administration Museum

The Drug Enforcement Administration is at the forefront of the War on Drugs, bringing in marijuana dealers, coke dealers, and vicious criminals. You’d think, however, that there isn’t much there for a museum. You would be wrong.

Head shops, poppies, pills, it’s all here at the DEA Museum in Arlington, VA. Admission is free, it’s open most weekdays, and it even has a gift shop where you can buy official DEA merchandise. No, we meant mugs and stuff like that. The other kind of “merchandise” you get from Southeast.

2. The Falling Star Memorial

A small, sleepy town in Alabama has one thing that makes it unique that even most of the residents aren’t aware of: it’s the one location in human history where a person has actually been struck by a meteorite. Understandably, citizens being pegged by space rocks isn’t something the town has been terribly eager to play up, but that was before they realized they could get a statue out of it.

Yep, in Sylacauga, AL, there is a statue commemorating one woman with the absolute worst luck known to man. Fortunately, it’s actually quite a handsome monument, done by an actual sculptor, and not just a random chunk of rock with her name on it. Probably because the statue doesn’t even have a plaque.
3. The World’s Largest Chest of Drawers

Image Source

North Carolina is known for a lot of things. Such as…um…well, you see…OK, we give up. We assume it has industries and stuff since people live there, and we know it’s a bit humid, and that they have a good college basketball team. They also, apparently, had at least one small town that went utterly insane.

High Point, NC, is home to the World’s Largest Chest of Drawers. Apparently, the socks represent the fact that this town makes a lot of socks, and the drawers represent that it makes a lot of furniture. Why, exactly, they chose this particular method of civic pride, we’re not sure. We’re assuming alcohol was somehow involved, just because it usually is with things like this.

4. An Inedible Chunk of Beef

OK, OK, this is the actually “The World’s Largest Preserved Steer, and at two and a half tons, it is pretty impressive. It also happens to be in Indiana, which we guess doesn’t have much that’s “impressive” for tourists, but it IS in Kokomo, which was the subject of a Beach Boys song so we’d think they’d be trying to get more mileage out of that.

Personally, we’re wondering why they’ve hung onto “Old Ben”, the enormous steer in question. Steers are for eating, the last time we checked, and, trust those of us from cow country, there is little impressive about cows even when they’re alive. They basically stand there, eat grass, and deplete the ozone layer in about the most disgusting way possible short of using Aqua Net. We can’t imagine a dead cow is any more exciting, unless Old Ben was turned into a robot.

5. The Timexpo Museum

So you’re out with the kids, in Connecticut, because you got lost, or you were tricked by their tourism department into crossing the border. Mostly, you’re just grateful you survived I-84 because you hit it during rush hour in the middle of Hartford, and nobody told you it would be quite so violent or that you’d have to explain what the nice woman on the billboard is doing in that nice man’s lap. You need something to do while you get food, water, and ammunition to prepare to jump the wall.

That’s where the Timexpo Museum, the official museum of the Timex Corporation, comes in handy. See the random Easter Island statue! Look at all the watches on freaky disembodied arms! Realize that this is what passes for culture in Connecticut! Then weep as you realize you’re trapped and will be forced to live in the suburbs together.

But hey, at least you’re not stuck in Rhode Island.

6. Grant County Historical Museum

Located in Oregon, the Grant County Historical Museum offers all sorts of interesting history and tidbits about Grant County. Which we know sounds incredibly boring, and it is a lot of the same stuff; old clothes, old signs, farming implements, the house and writings of some writer than nobody cares about except the guy writing his graduate thesis about how the town’s minor luminary is a forgotten genius and the grad student really deserves a doctorate for discovering him. But that’s until you realize this place used to be part of the Gold Rush, and is curated by somebody who is absolutely, positively, the most incredibly morbid person on the planet, or at least in Grant County.

For example, for some reason, the museum has chosen to hang onto the skulls of the first two men ever hanged in Grant County, because hangin’ s are hilarious! Similarly, a bunch of two-headed monster cows were born in the county and they’ve been preserved for all time to put you off of steak for life. Also, the various mannequins in the museum are home made, and guaranteed to haunt your nightmares!

7. The Moxie Bottle House

If you’re not familiar with Moxie, it’s basically a licorice soda. How, you ask, does something like that never leave New England? Well, for the same reason most things never leave New England; they’re secretly eldritch horrors from beyond the veil of human perception. Also, Moxie tastes like crap.

The Moxie Bottle House is also one of the few tourist attractions in Maine that don’t involve overcrowded beaches or eating bottom-feeding sea bugs. It was originally designed to tour the country and impress people with how awesome Moxie was by living in a wooden replica of the bottle: look, it was simpler times, OK?

The Moxie Bottle House was then sold off, turned into an actual house, and then bought and reassembled by the Moxie Congress (even Moxie’s fan club is weird) in the Matthews Museum of Maine Heritage. It must be a nice break from all that Stephen King memorabilia.

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