It can takes years and years of hard work, along with millions of dollars, to complete a building, landmark, or monument. Despite all that effort, sometimes, landmarks are left unfinished. The reasons can include lack of manpower, lack of funds, or even the deaths of those involved with the construction.
Some of the world’s unfinished landmarks are beautiful just the way they were left, and they deserve a visit. What is can be just as good as what was supposed to be. Here are ten famous unfinished landmarks from around the world.
10 Crazy Horse Memorial
When most people think of a gigantic mountain carving in South Dakota, they think of the famous Mount Rushmore. But there is another carving in the mountains of South Dakota that will dwarf Mount Rushmore—if it is ever completed. High in the Black Hills of South Dakota sits the Crazy Horse Memorial.
The project was started in 1948 by sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski, and he worked on it until he died in 1982. Chief Henry Standing Bear was an Oglala Lakota Chief and invited him to carve a memorial honoring all native North Americans. The carving is supposed to be a representation of the Lakota leader Crazy Horse.
By the 1990s, Crazy Horse’s head had begun to emerge from the Black Hills. Most of the time spent carving so far has been on the head, which stands at 22 stories tall. Over the last seven decades, crews have blasted and hauled millions of tons of rock from the site. The entire carving will be more than 64 stories tall, and Crazy Horse’s eyes alone are 5 meters (17 ft) wide. Money from the project comes from admission fees and donations only, and it could take another several years just to finish carving his arm.
9 Mingun Pahtodawgyi
In the small town of Mingun, which lies in the Sagaing region in Northwestern Burma, you will find Mingun Pahtodawgyi. King Bodawpaya wanted to build the largest pagoda in the world. The gigantic construction process began in 1790, but the project was never completed.
King Bodawpaya acquired thousands of prisoners and slaves during his war campaigns, and he used them for the construction of this large project. The construction process started taking a toll on the state’s finances, and people created a prophecy which stated that the kingdom would perish as soon as the pagoda was completed. Variations of the prophecy also said that the king would also perish with the kingdom.
The unfinished pagoda is 50 meters (164 ft) high, which is one third of the proposed height, and its base is about 42 square meters (450 ft2). Huge cracks can be seen on Mingun Pahtodawgyi because of an earthquake in 1839. It is known as one of the largest piles of stone and brickwork in the world.
8 Hassan Tower
The Hassan Tower, also known as Tour Hassan, is a massive minaret in Rabat, the capital of Morocco. The project, ordered by Yaqub al-Mansur in the 12th century, was supposed to be the tallest minaret in the world, and the mosque it was to be part of would have been the largest. Construction of the project came to an end, though, four years after the death of al-Mansur.
The huge mosque was going to be the centerpiece of the new capital and a celebration of the sultan’s victory over the Spanish Christians. The tower currently stands at 44 meters (144 ft) high, which is just over half of the intended height. There are about 200 columns scattered across the marble floor that indicate just how large the mosque would have been if finished—it would have been able to hold 20,000 worshipers at once. In 2012, the Hassan Tower was granted World Heritage Status.
7 Cathedral Of St. John The Divine
One of the largest churches in the world is an unfinished masterpiece. A guide to the Cathedral of St. John the Divine from 1921 proposed that it may take 700 years to complete the building due to the true Gothic building methods and the lack of a wealthy backing.
Right Reverend Horatio Potter helped start the movement to have the cathedral built, but he passed away in 1887, before any construction was started. His nephew, Henry Codman Potter, began to solicit financial support for the construction of the cathedral, and a 13-acre site was eventually purchased. The cornerstone was laid in 1892, the first service was held in 1899, and ground was broken for the nave in 1916.
The Cathedral of St. John the Divine is located on Amsterdam Avenue in New York City. It is currently over a century old, and it will continue to be constructed over the coming decades. There is no timetable for when it will reach its completion because funding is currently being prioritized to serve the community in various ways.
6 Ta Keo
Ta Keo is a temple-mountain located in the ancient city of Angkor, and it contains five sanctuary towers arranged in a pyramid. It could have been one of the greatest temples ever constructed, and one of the largest, but it was never completed. Even though it is unfinished, the structure is large enough to see from afar. The main temple is five tiers high, and the final pyramid rises 14 meters (46 ft) higher than the second terrace. The five large towers are arranged to form a quincunx, and the outer walls are surrounded by a moat.
The large landmark is constructed from sandstone, and the reason for it not being completed is unknown. Recovered inscriptions suggest that construction was halted after lightning struck the temple, which is considered an evil omen. Some experts believe that the child king Jayavarman V struggled to maintain his throne, causing construction to never be finished. Even unfinished, the temple is a magnificent sight to see.
5 Pyramid Of Neferefre
The ancient Egyptian pharaoh Neferefre built a pyramid in the necropolis of Abusir. He died before the pyramid was completed, and it was soon converted into a mastaba and mortuary temple. The pyramid started with a large base approximately the size of the Pyramid of Sahure. Builders dug a pit in the middle of the base where the burial chamber would be located.
An entrance corridor was constructed on the north side, and a trench led from the entrance to the pit. Few remains were found of the pharaoh’s body, and they indicated that he died at the early age of 22 or 23. Only one step of the core of the pyramid was completed, giving it the shape of a mastaba. The mortuary temple was completed in three phases, and it consisted of an open vestibule and three chambers.
4 National Monument Of Scotland
The National Monument of Scotland sits high up on Calton Hill in Edinburgh. Instead of being a national treasure as was hoped, it is often referred to as “Scotland’s shame” instead due to the amount of unfinished construction. The monument was going to be a memorial to Scottish soldiers and sailors who died in the Napoleonic Wars, but it was never completed.
The foundations for the monument were laid in 1824, but construction came to a quick halt in 1829, when the money provided by public subscription ran out. There have been several attempts to finish the large monument, but it still remains very much unfinished. A completed version of the National Monument would have resembled the Parthenon in Athens, but the current structure only features 12 pillars.
3 La Sagrada Familia
La Sagrada Familia, which was inspired by nature and faith, has been under construction since 1882. The basilica is currently 70-percent completed, and they are working on building the six central towers. After more than 130 years of construction, the site could be less than a decade away from reaching completion.
The total construction cost of the large Roman Catholic church located in Barcelona is almost impossible to figure, but the annual budget now is around $27 million and is paid by entrance fees and private donations. The tallest new tower will rise to 172 meters (564 ft), making it one of the tallest religious structures in Europe. The structure is on track to be finished by 2026, but some extra time could be needed for decorative elements.
2 Bara Kaman
Bara Kaman is the unfinished mausoleum of Ali Adil Shah II, who was the eighth and second-to-last king of the Adil Shah dynasty in Bijapur (also known as Vijayapura) in India. The goal was to build a mausoleum more beautiful and large than anyone had ever seen. Bara Kaman means “12 arches” in English, and the building was supposed to consist of 12 arches built horizontally and vertically surrounding the tomb of Ali Adil Shah II.
Construction on the mausoleum began in 1672, but it was never completed. Ali Adil Shah was murdered by his own father before the work could be finished. It is said that once the mausoleum was completed, the shadow would haved touched Gol Gumbaz. Ali’s father did not want Bara Kaman to take away from Gol Gumbaz, so he killed his son to prevent him from completing the project.
The Archaeological Survey of India now takes care of the property. The garden in front is well-maintained, and visitors can enjoy the architectural skill of the arches and pillars that make the monument.
1 Ryugyong Hotel
The Ryugyong Hotel in North Korea should have been opened in 1989, but the structure was never completed. At that time, it would have been the seventh-largest skyscraper and the tallest hotel in the world. Construction of the large hotel began in 1987, but an economic depression halted work. The hotel was supposed to consist of 3,000 rooms, seven revolving restaurants, casinos, nightclubs, and lounges.
The pyramid-shaped hotel has yet to host a guest, but construction may soon resume on the 105-story building. There have been various times throughout the years where work was done on the hotel, but it has yet to open. There have been recent pictures showing cranes and construction vehicles outside the building, which may prove that construction will restart. The Ryugyong Hotel would be one of the most amazing places to visit if it ever sees a completion date.
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10 Secret Rooms Inside The World’s Most Famous Landmarks
Millions of people travel across the world to experience the beauty, grandeur, and heritage of some of the planet’s most popular landmarks. However, there is often more than meets the eye to many historic attractions, things most tourists will never realize are there. For example, many famous landmarks house hidden spaces you may not notice at first glance.
Here are ten secret places inside the world’s most famous landmarks. Some of them can be visited by those with sufficient funds or the right connections. Others are entirely off-limits.
10 Mount Rushmore
South Dakota, US
Mount Rushmore is easily one of the most recognizable landmarks in the United States, as it depicts four of the arguably most famous presidents in US history: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and Abraham Lincoln. Yet, many people might not be aware that behind the chiseled sculpture of Abraham Lincoln is a hidden room, which is known as the Hall of Records. The secret room is roughly lined up with Lincoln’s forehead, and it contains text from some of America’s most important documents.
The designer of the famous political monument, Gutzon Borglum, originally wanted the room to serve as a vault for a selection of US documents. In fact, his vision was to install an 240-meter (800 ft) stairway that would lead to the grand hall, which would measure 24 meters by 30 meters (80 ft x 100 ft) and would be directly behind the US presidents’ sculpted faces. Inside the hall would be busts of great Americans from history, as well as a list of US contributions to industry, science, and the arts. Tragically, Borglum’s vision was halted due to his death in 1941. However, in 1998, monument officials chose to make Borglum’s dream a reality by maintaining records from American history in the secret hall.
9 The Eiffel Tower
The Eiffel Tower is one of the most famous landmarks in the world, which is why the city of Paris welcomes millions of tourists year after year. You might, however, be surprised to learn that the historic landmark features a secret apartment. Those who are lucky enough to visit the top of the structure will not only absorb the mesmerizing views of the French capital, but they might also enjoy a glimpse inside the secret apartment and office, which has only recently been opened to the public.
Gustave Eiffel, the structure’s engineer, built a private apartment for himself inside the landmark in 1889, and only he had access to this hidden room throughout his lifetime. In fact, many Parisians offered to rent the apartment for one night only, but he always refused, wanting to keep the space all to himself and the occasional guest. Visitors can now finally take a step inside the private apartment, which has been restored to its original condition. They can also view mannequins of Gustave, his daughter, and Thomas Edison, who he regularly entertained at the apartment.
8 Waldorf Astoria
New York City, US
The Waldorf Astoria is deemed one of the most luxurious hotels in New York. While many more modern hotels have emerged over the ensuing decades, it has continued to welcome every sitting US president, from Hoover to Obama. Many people might, however, be unaware that there is a secret train station located below the hotel, as the secluded platform was introduced to help President Franklin D. Roosevelt to inconspicuously travel from the presidential suite to Hyde Park, which was his childhood home. Track 61 was an integral mode of transportation during World War II, as the president’s private railway car could pull up inside the station, and he could take an elevator to gain direct access to the hotel. It is also believed that FDR used the train to hide his paralysis from the public.
The platform remains in use today, and it can be reached within minutes from JFK Airport. The Secret Service has been sworn to secrecy regarding some of its features. While the platform is still in working order, FDR’s custom locomotive now sits abandoned under the hotel.
7 The Statue Of Liberty
New York City, US
Millions of people visit the Statue of Liberty every year, with many tourists stepping inside the structure’s crown to enjoy beautiful views of New York City. Yet, many people might be unaware that it is possible to climb higher within the structure. Until June 30, 1916, tourists were able to enter a room located inside the Statue of Liberty’s torch, which offered breathtaking panoramic views of the city.
However, access was denied to the public when the pier between Jersey City and Black Tom Island was blown up by German agents. Sadly, the explosion ripped through various buildings nearby, which caused serious or fatal injuries for hundreds of people. Debris from the explosion became embedded within the Statue of Liberty’s arm, which made the route to the panoramic room unsafe for the public. The arm was repaired, but only National Park Service staff can enter the torch, and they must climb a narrow 12-meter (40 ft) ladder to gain access to the torch and maintain the floodlights.
6 Leonardo Da Vinci Statue
Travelers are welcomed into Rome by the Leonardo da Vinci statue located at Fiumicino-Leonardo da Vinci Airport. Yet, there is more to the structure than you might realize at first glance. Despite the 18-meter (60 ft) bronze statue being unveiled in 1960, the hidden hatch located halfway up the structure was not found until its renovation in 2006.
Workers found two parchments inside the statue. One parchment detailed the area’s history in classical Latin, while the other listed the attendees from the opening ceremony. It is believed both the hatch and parchments were the brainchild of Assen Peikov, the Bulgarian artist who won the competition to design the work of art.
Anaheim, California, US
You will not find a drop of alcohol in Disneyland unless you step inside the exclusive Club 33. It would be easy to walk past the club, as it sits behind an unmarked door in New Orleans Square. It was originally created as a place for Walt Disney to entertain his guests and business associates. Unfortunately, he died five months before Club 33 was officially opened.
Only those who become a member can now step inside the club, which offers both a restaurant and jazz lounge, known as Le Salon Nouveau, as well as access to the 1901 Lounge in California Adventure. Membership is not cheap; depending on the level of membership, the initiation fee reportedly costs between $25,000 and $100,000, followed by a $12,500 to $30,000 annual fee. The waiting list is reportedly years long.
4 Niagara Falls
New York, US
Niagara Falls is the umbrella name of the three waterfalls located along the international border between the state of New York and the province Ontario. Located a stone’s throw away from Niagara Falls is Devil’s Hole State Park, which many people visit to experience the beauty of the waterfalls. A cave inside the park was given the nickname “the Cave of the Evil Spirit” by the Seneca due to their belief that an evil spirit was trapped inside. It was believed that only warriors who were ready for battle would enter the cave.
The Devil’s Hole Massacre was a battle that took place between the Seneca and British soldiers in 1763. After the Seneca won the battle, they warned the British of the cave to prevent them from trespassing on the land. There is also a superstition that anyone who steals a rock from the cave will experience bad luck.
3 Empire State Building
New York City, US
The Empire State Building has been a tourist hot spot for nearly a century, as visitors have been enjoying the New York skyline since 1931. While most people can view the city from the observation deck on the 86th floor and the top deck on the 102nd floor, you might be surprised to learn that some visitors can experience an even better view on the private 103rd floor.
The secret deck offers only a knee-high ledge with a low railing, and visitors need to take a series of escalators to reach it. The elevator ride alone will be a unique experience, as visitors will pass the inner workings of the building on their journey up to the secret floor. It is an experience often only available to VIP guests, such as celebrities and dignitaries. For example, Taylor Swift had the pleasure of experiencing the VIP observation deck back in 2014.
The Colosseum welcomes four million tourists annually, who visit the landmark to view the Flavian Amphitheatre, which dates back to AD 80. Yet, many people might not realize that there is a network of (now exposed) underground tunnels below street level, called the Hypogeum, which were used to house various animals, such as lions and bears, which were then lifted into the gladiator arena via a pulley.
The maze was hailed as a superb archaeological discovery when it was initially uncovered. The Hypogeum is now open to the public, but tours are limited to a maximum of 25 people each time. Archaeologists have, however, criticized the tours, as they believe they could put the structure at risk.
1 Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square might be well-regarded for its remarkable architecture and beautiful fountains, but it also features a hidden room you could easily miss. The public square is the home of Britain’s smallest police station, which is located on the southeast corner of Trafalgar Square.
The tiny station was built in 1926 to serve as a watch post, as the square was often the location of many protests, riots, and marches. It therefore only offers enough space for one police officer or two prisoners. The box is no longer in use by the police and is now simply used as a broom closet for Westminster Council cleaners.
Elisabeth Sedgwick is An English freelance writer. You can view her growing portfolio at clippings.me/elisabethsedgwick.
Top 10 Record-Breaking Water Park Attractions
Summer means days of sun, swim, and fun. Families all over the world migrate to water parks to combine all three, hopefully avoiding danger. Whether they’re local pools or extreme waterslides, water-based attractions provide no shortage of excitement and entertainment. The International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA) reports that in the US alone, these parks directly contribute over $50 billion to the economy annually and provide jobs to upwards of 2.3 million people.
Despite nearly all water parks providing a family-friendly atmosphere, there is no doubt that these enjoyable summer destinations also provide attractions to satisfy even the most hardened thrill-seekers. These extreme rides have been known to cause injury or even death. The following list is sure to intensify your thirst for water adventure (pun intended) while also providing relief from the soaring temperatures and scorching sun of the summer season.
10 World’s Tallest Waterslide
Measuring a staggering 51.4 meters (168.6 ft) tall, the dangerous Guinness World Record–holding Verruckt waterslide translates from the German language to “crazy” or “insane.” The waterslide, located at Schlitterbahn in Kansas City, Kansas, was announced late 2012. The ride, delayed by construction complications, eventually opened to the masses at the end of July 2014. The ride was designed by the co-owner of the water park, Jeff Henry, to accommodate three people in an adventure that plummets 17 stories downward at speeds of up to 100 kilometers per hour (60 mph). The spectacular slide is taller than both Niagara Falls and the Statue of Liberty (not counting the base). The controversial design features hundreds of steps to reach the top.
In a gruesome incident which took place in August 2016, Caleb Schwab, son of Republican state representative Scott Schwab, suffered a “fatal neck injury” while riding Verruckt and died immediately. His death shocked the community and ultimately resulted in the (still) planned demolition of the slide. The Associated Press suggests that Kansas “is known for its light regulation of amusement park rides.” Unfortunately, it appears the slide was too extreme and resulted in catastrophe.
9 World’s Longest Waterslide
Located at Action Park in Vernon, New Jersey, the world’s longest waterslide measures 602 meters (1,975 ft) long, which equates to over one-third of a mile! The unnamed waterslide is composed of 20 sections, each 30 meters (100 ft) long. The primary material of the slide is polyvinyl chloride, which is also used to make the bounce houses that children enjoy. You guessed it: That means that this slide is inflatable. It takes over two hours to fill with air, utilizes approximately 3,800 liters (1,000 gal) of water per hour, and offers rides that can last up to 90 seconds.
The slide was certified by Guinness World Records in 2015 as the longest waterslide, but it was not open to the public. The ride hadn’t established a weight limit, so its potential for danger was relatively unknown. Another factor was the “lengthy process” of state certification. However, a select few employees were allowed to take their turn on the record-setting ride.
8 World’s Longest Water Coaster
It’s not just a slide; it’s a water coaster! Mammoth, located at Holiday World Splashin’ Safari in Santa Claus, Indiana, is constructed of a combination of slides as well as a conveyor belt, allowing riders to have a similar experience to a roller coaster, while being drenched in water. The ride, which opened May 2012, dethroned its record-holding predecessor, Wildebeest, which is located at the same water park. Mammoth’s unparalleled twists, turns, and rises total a length of 537 meters (1,763 ft.)
The coaster is designed for rafts of up to six people, situated to face inward, ensuring that families can enjoy the record-setting fun together. These brave Mammoth riders will experience six drops along the coaster’s track. Spinning down the winding path, which overlooks the rest of the expansive Holiday World Splashin’ Safari water park, may be the optimal ride for the ultimate thrill-seeker.
7 World’s Tallest Water Coaster
Schlitterbahn Galveston Island’s water coaster, MASSIV, lives up to its name. The depth-defying attraction, located in Galveston, Texas, is perched 24.9 meters (81.6 ft) in the sky and was created to mark the site’s tenth anniversary. The water coaster consists of several uphill climbs and a compensating triple drop near the end. The ride has been certified by Guinness World Records as the tallest water coaster.
Although riders simply enjoy the waterslide for its thrill, there was no lack of exacting science that went into its creation. Schlitterbahn’s lead designer, Emily Colombo, remarked on how balancing “g-forces, ride dynamics, and velocities” was vital to yielding a successful ride. The coaster is sure to be enjoyed by all, due to its variation in speed and vigor. The park’s general manager commented that this versatility is “something we are always looking for in our attractions.”
6 World’s Longest Lazy River
Providing some respite for thrill-seekers and Heaven for relaxers, the lazy river at BSR Cable Park in Waco, Texas, is just shy of 1.6 kilometers (1 mi) long. This earns it the title of longest lazy river in the world. The lazy river offers parts drenched in sun and parts covered in shade, catering to all riders’ preferences.
While it doesn’t vary greatly from other lazy rivers, what it lacks in uniqueness, it makes up in sheer size. The river is adult- and kid-friendly and guaranteed to satisfy the need for summer refreshment, especially given the sizzling temperatures Texas can see during the season.
5 World’s Largest Outdoor Wave Pool
The first non-US destination on the list is Siam Park City (a water park, not a city) in the Khan Na Yao district of Bangkok, Thailand. Not only is it Asia’s largest water park, but it certifiably possesses the world’s largest wave pool, according to Guinness World Records. The wave pool is an astounding 13,600 square meters (146,400 ft2) and a destination for young children and adult thrill-seekers alike. The pool has the potential to generate waves up to 1.5 meters (5 ft) high but is controlled not to exceed 60 centimeters (24 in) to ensure the safety of all patrons.
Despite the countermeasures in place, wave pools still pose a safety threat, especially to children. When children enter a wave pool to a depth above their height, the constant flow of water and uneven conditions make it the perfect storm for drowning. But for most, this wave pool can be a great compromise between the flowing waters of a lazy river and the rushing rapids of a water coaster.
4 World’s Largest Indoor Wave Pool
Shifting back across the globe to the West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is the World Waterpark, which features the world’s largest indoor wave pool, called Blue Thunder. Blue Thunder possess four active wave bays, each containing two panels powered by a 1,500-horsepower hydraulic implement. There are two additional wave bays that have been deactivated, a consequence of overwhelming injury due to the excessive intensity of the waves! When all panels were enabled, the waves were too high and rough for even the most experienced swimmers.
With the seemingly endless rush of water feet above a swimmer’s head, the outcome is never promising. Thus, Blue Thunder today generates waves of 1.5 to 1.8 meters (5–6 ft), utilizing only the inner wave bays. The pool can hold a whopping 12.3 million liters (3.2 million gal) of water. Blue Thunder is also frequently used after hours for private surfing, kayaking, paddleboarding, and other related endeavors. The waves are then adjusted accordingly to become more intense.
3 World’s Longest Tube Waterslide
What is located in Erding, Germany, is 356.3 meters (1,169 ft) long, and ensures enjoyment along the way? The Magic-Eye at Galaxy Erding water park, of course. This ride is the longest inner tube waterslide in the entire world, as certified by Guinness World Records in November 2010. No recent attempts have been able to surpass the legendary length of Magic-Eye. The waterslide opened May 2007 and was built by Klarer Freizeitanlagen AG, Switzerland, a world-renowned leader in waterslide construction.
Magic-Eye’s record-setting length is complemented by its 22-meter (72 ft) height. The tube slide features a distinct interior distinguished by continuous seemingly glowing lines that create an unmatched viewing experience while riding. The design can be overwhelming to some patrons due to its strobe-style effect, which could arguably be potentially fatal if someone with epilepsy were to ride the waterslide alone.
2 The United States’ Largest Outdoor Water Park
Noah’s Ark Water Park in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin, is the United States’ largest outdoor water park, totaling 70 acres. Although the park doesn’t possess any record-setting attractions of their own accord, the 51 rides work together, marking Noah’s Ark as the crown jewel of Wisconsin Dells, dubbed the “water park capital of the world.” Despite the town’s small population, it contains 28 water parks, with Noah’s Ark undoubtedly the focal point.
Thrill-seekers can enjoy rides that, for example, offer a near-vertical drop in which the floor gives out beneath riders or a 400-meter-long (1,300 ft) water coaster that showcases unexpected turns and bumps. On the other end of the spectrum, those in search of a more relaxed day at Noah’s Ark Water Park can enjoy a ride on the lazy river or a dip in the wave pool, which alternates wave functionality on and off every ten minutes.
Some of the more extreme rides have been known to malfunction. For instance, it is not uncommon for riders to get stuck on the Scorpion, in which they actually do a loop (similar to a roller coaster). This goes to demonstrate the truly risky nature of water entertainment. Although the weather of Wisconsin fluctuates from sweltering in the summer to freezing in the winter, Wisconsin Dells also provides an abundance of indoor water parks that will fulfill aquatic adrenaline-chasers’ desires year-round.
1 World’s Largest Indoor Water Park
Rounding out the list, we’re headed back to Germany to the sprawling Tropical Islands Resort, located in Krausnick, a bit southeast from the capital, Berlin. This jaw-dropping indoor water park utilizes more than 16 acres of land and can accommodate up to 6,000 guests at any given time.
The luxurious Tropical Islands Resort serves patrons of all ages, featuring paddling areas and proportionate waterslides for youth as well as bigger attractions and a Bali-inspired lagoon, perfect for adults seeking both adventure and relaxation. Tropical Islands Resort is climate-controlled and topped with a glass roof, allowing everyone to immerse themselves in the sunshine, regardless of the varying temperatures, all year long.
10 Fascinating Proposed Tourist Traps
Tourism is a great source of income for every developed country. While we know all about the many tourist traps that ended up being built, most people haven’t heard of these crazy proposals.
10Michael Jackson’s Laser Robot
In the mid-2000s, Michael Jackson was planning on a huge comeback by securing a residency in Las Vegas. Jackson and his crew developed a variety of ideas for arenas, costumes, and shows but needed a huge advertising statement. Many ideas hit the drawing board before Jackson settled on his favorite: a 15-meter (50 ft) walking robot that would circle Las Vegas shooting laser beams.
Robot Michael Jackson was going to be fully mobile. It would stalk the desert around Las Vegas, focusing on being under the flight paths for airlines flying into McCarran Airport. (Nobody knows for sure if the robot would just walk or do Michael Jackson’s trademark moonwalk.) To complete the idea, robo-Jackson was going to have laser beams shooting from its eyes that could be seen from all parts of Las Vegas. It is unknown whether those would have been just laser lights or real, damaging laser beams. Unfortunately for Jackson, it was impossible to get any of the real estate moguls to invest in the design (possibly as a result of Jackson’s sex scandals), and the team had to drop their idea.
Instead of the giant robot, Jackson’s team decided on a “scaled down” plan to make a Michael Jackson–themed hotel and casino. They also refused to give up their dreams of robotic entertainment and planned to have Jackson’s shows involve a “giant audience-interactive video game with human cyborgs.”
All of these ideas never took off. Jackson did not have enough money and eventually decided against a Las Vegas residency. The city was spared from being stalked by a giant, laser-shooting Michael Jackson robot.
9Miami’s Artificial Sun
Miami is well known as a popular tourist area due to its perpetually warm weather and wonderful beaches. A pair of Swedish architects hope to capitalize on the sun-drenched city by erecting exactly what Miami needs: another Sun. Creatively named “Miami Sun,” the building is intended to be a 150-meter-tall (500 ft) half-orb with a hotel and casino. The exterior of the building is designed with screens that allow it to replicate the most vibrant sunsets during the day and to look like the Moon during the night.
If the architects get their way, Miami residents can look forward to a huge, otherworldly Sun-Moon combo right on the bay. As terrifying as that might sound, the Swedish architects have some practical reasoning behind their idea. The Miami Sun will be big enough to block out the real Sun during key summer months for people right near it. By doing this, tourists can have the joy of experiencing a sunny day without risking damage from dangerous UV rays. Fortunately for Miami residents, the city is extremely skeptical about the design, and it does not look like Miami will be building the artificial Sun anytime soon.
8Life-Size USS Enterprise
In 1992, the mayor of Las Vegas announced a project to redevelop downtown Vegas to pull some tourist money away from the big casinos on the strip. Countless project proposals were submitted, but the most interesting of all was the plan by the Goddard Group to build a life-size replica of the USS Enterprise from Star Trek.
The plan was an enormous undertaking. The Goddard Group proposed to build the Enterprise exactly to scale, making it a 300-meter-long (1,000 ft), 70-meter-tall (230 ft) attraction. Fittingly, the attraction would need new engineering techniques to keep the pylon and saucer held up without any external support. Instead of fitting the Enterprise with a hotel and casino as is standard for Vegas development projects, the ship was mainly geared toward shows, restaurants, rides, and other fan attractions.
Unfortunately, Paramount did not give the go-ahead for the licensing. Stanley Jaffe, CEO of Paramount, thought that the project would flop. Jaffe told the Goddard Group: “In the movie business, when we produce a big movie and it’s a flop—we take some bad press for a few weeks or a few months, but then it goes away. The next movie comes out and everyone forgets. But this—this is different. If this doesn’t work—if this is not a success—it’s there, forever . . . ”
Without the support of Paramount, the project stopped, and Las Vegas decided to go ahead with the Fremont Street Experience light show instead. Although a full-size Enterprise never came to fruition, the Goddard Group later built Star Trek: The Experience in the Las Vegas Hilton. This gave Star Trek fans the attraction they had waited for, until the Hilton tore it down in 2008.
7Valravn Roller Coaster
Unlike the other entries on this list, the Valravn roller coaster is one that you may actually be able to experience in your lifetime. It is currently under construction at Cedar Point in Ohio. When completed, the Valravn will break 10 world records, including one for the biggest dive roller coaster. Other roller coasters may have drops that seem vertical, but a dive roller coaster puts the riders through a long, 90-degree vertical drop. When the drop occurs, the riders are in complete free fall; the only thing keeping them in their seats are the restraints.
The Valravn has a 68-meter (223 ft) drop, ensuring that the riders get a few terrifying seconds where they are just falling. Because the drop is so long, the Valravn will also break the record for the fastest dive roller coaster at an insane 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph). Utilizing that fast speed and energy, the Valravn will put the riders through three inversions throughout the ride, once again breaking a world record while doing so. It is slated for completion in spring 2016, so brave riders can get ready to experience the feeling of complete free fall.
6Aeroscraft Flying Hotel
Large airships lost favor with the public after the Hindenburg explosion and due to the slow speed of airships. Since passengers wanted to get where they were going quickly, the idea of flying on a slow airship was uninviting, especially in the era of fast jet airliners. In recent years, many investors and designers have proposed bringing back the airship, but the most spectacular of them all is Igor Pasternak, who wants to build huge flying hotels that lumber across the world.
Named Aeroscraft, these airships will be the largest in the world at nearly 200 meters (650 ft) long and 50 meters (160 ft) tall. Aeroscraft will travel at a slow speed of 280 kilometers per hour (175 mph), which will allow it to cross the United States in 18 hours. That might seem like a long time, but riding in an Aeroscraft is not about the arrival at the destination but the experience of getting there. Aeroscraft will carry 250 passengers in utmost style. Interior amenities will include full staterooms, bars, lounges, casinos, conference rooms, and anything else a person may need on their flight. For transatlantic flights, Aeroscraft will basically be a flying hotel.
This may seem far-fetched, but Pasternak has already begun development on the project. Various investors have given him money, including the United States Department of Defense. Not only will Pasternak’s airships be good for passenger travel, they also have uses for freight lifting and defense. A half-scale airship called Dragon Dream took to the air in 2013, making the flying hotel seem like a future inevitability.
Currently, DisneySea is the name of an aquatic theme park in Japan, but most people do not know that it’s based on an insane and complicated Disney park planned for California. Plans started in the late 1980s, when Disney began buying up real estate in Long Beach with plans to make Port Disney, a huge resort area on the California coast.
As Disney was buying land, it also made two other purchases, the RMS Queen Mary and the “Spruce Goose” airplane, which were key parts of the Port Disney plans. Disney planned to convert the Queen Mary into one of Port Disney’s five hotels. Plans for the port also included a huge marina that would serve as home for Disney cruise ships. The centerpiece of this oceanic property was a new Disney theme park, DisneySea.
The theme park would have been a huge architectural undertaking. Initial plans show that it had five huge domes, each one focusing on a different part of marine life and offering different attractions. Among these attractions were huge aquariums, natural history museums, a few rides, and—most surprisingly—an attraction where guests sat in steel cages in shark tanks so they could experience swimming with the sharks. DisneySea would also offer research opportunities to biologists studying marine life.
Even though the plans seemed impressive, residents of Long Beach opposed the project, and costs skyrocketed, becoming too high even for Disney. Instead of opening Port Disney, the company decided to develop the much more conventional California Adventure park next to Disneyland. Years later, architects used the DisneySea plans for a Tokyo theme park, which gave tourists a glimpse of what could have been.
4ACME United Nations Memorial Space
UN memorials are not usually big tourist attractions, but the United Nations Memorial Space in Chungju, South Korea will attract tourists from around the world. Chungju is the birthplace of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon. The Memorial Space will be the focal point of a large UN Peace Park. The ACME proposal did not win the design competition, but it is certainly an interesting building.
ACME designed its building as a series of cells that resemble a honeycomb. To determine the cell arrangement, ACME used a Voronoi diagram. This is a mathematical diagram that partitions a plane based on a series of predetermined variables. By using Voronoi diagrams to decide on the design of its structure, ACME gave the Memorial Space building a fascinating and seemingly random facade quite unlike other buildings. This odd structure symbolized the UN’s unity—all countries coming together for a single purpose.
The inside of the Memorial Space building houses a 1,500-seat assembly hall, conference rooms, theaters, and exhibition areas. Due to the cellular design, each area can be easily reconfigured for different purposes without affecting the structure of the building. To top it off, ACME placed a garden area on the roof for delegates and tourists to experience fresh air. ACME architects also made the center of the building hollow to allow for natural light to illuminate the corridors. Oddly, the UN has not released the second place and winning designs. With ACME’s spectacular building taking third, the winning design is probably breathtaking.
3Russian Commercial Space Station
Space tourism is all the rage now, with companies across the world gearing up to offer tourists a once-in-a-lifetime experience for a price. Not to be outdone by American space companies, the Russians are getting into the game. Aerospace company Orbital Technologies made plans for the first ever commercial hotel space station. Designed to be serviced by Soyuz and Progress capsules, the Russian space hotel was intended to launch by 2016, but setbacks in the program have pushed the date closer to 2020.
When completed, the yet-unnamed space station will be the first hotel in space. The design is big enough to hold seven people and can host research projects, if other countries prefer to use it instead of the larger International Space Station. But the science part is secondary. Orbital Technologies is looking to rake in tourist money from wealthy vacationers. A short stay at the station will cost around $1 million.
Orbital Technologies also expects to use the space station to host media productions and large parties. The firm has attempted to gain US support by stating that ISS astronauts could use the station as a backup if they need to evacuate. Investors have put some money into the project, and Orbital Technologies is confident that it will succeed.
2The Berg: Artificial Mountain
Everybody loves mountains. They are beautiful, scenic, and provide a variety of wonderful, touristy things to do, like skiing. Unfortunately, not everybody has easy access to mountains. Most people have to travel to visit them, and many might not have the time or money to make such a trip. The city of Berlin, Germany is bereft of tall mountains. Architect Jakob Tigges wants to change that by building a huge artificial mountain in the middle of Berlin.
In 2008, Berlin demolished the historic Tempelhof airport, clearing a huge swath of land in the city. German politicians do not know what to do with the land. Into the vacuum jumped Tigges, who believed that an artificial mountain called “The Berg” could invigorate the country. Chief among his proposal was the chance to ski right in the city without taking a trip to the Alps. With beautiful slopes and alpine features, The Berg would attract tourists from around the world while being a cutting-edge architectural project.
Tigges is not clear on exactly how to construct The Berg, but he is still working on getting approval for the project. In the late 2000s, support for the project was rapidly developing, with people around the world expressing interest in The Berg. However, development has stalled, and it seems that any chance that The Berg had has now evaporated. Still, it remains on the table as an odd way to reinvigorate Berlin.
1Hilton Hotel On The Moon
In an episode of AMC’s hit series Mad Men, hotel mogul Conrad Hilton asks protagonist Don Draper to work on an ad campaign. The subject? A forthcoming Hilton hotel on the Moon. The show portrayed it as a quirk of Hilton’s character, but the Hilton Moon hotel was a real project and one of the earliest attempts at outer space tourism.
Plans for the Lunar Hilton began to really take shape in 1967 and gained the public’s interest after the movie 2001: A Space Odyssey introduced people to the idea of commercial space travel. Nobody knows if the plans were sincere or just a way to get more people interested in the Hilton company. Whatever the case, by the end of the 1960s, everybody was talking about the Lunar Hilton. The company even started to sell souvenirs and reservation cards for the eventual opening of the hotel. Designs showed a fairly conventional hotel, with the biggest selling point being the view. Nothing could compare to waking up to a view of the Earth. With the lunar landings in 1969, the Hilton project remained in the public eye.
As time went on, excitement over the project waned. Lunar Hilton dropped out of the public eye, turning into a mere curiosity of the early space program. But the Lunar Hilton rarely stays dead. Talks about the project began again in the 1990s. This time, Hilton discussed building two hotels: one in orbit around the Earth and another on the Moon. These plans are shelved for now, but when it becomes possible, Hilton will create one of the most interesting tourist traps in the solar system.
Zachery Brasier is a physics student who likes to write on the side.
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