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.
Top 10 Unexpected Things About Denmark
In August 2018, Trish Regan, who hosts The Intelligence Report with Trish Regan on Fox Business Network, created quite a stir when she disparaged Venezuela and Denmark in a searing commentary about socialism. In the US, a rising socialist movement, spearheaded by politicians such as Independent Bernie Sanders and Democrat Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, points to Denmark as a potential model for the US economy. But Regan vehemently disagreed.
“There’s something rotten in Denmark,” she said.
Regan argued that the country’s taxes are too high. Worse yet, just 3 of their 98 municipalities had more than half of the residents employed in 2013. She also ranted that “nobody graduates from school” in Denmark because they’re paid to go to educational institutions. You can see her commentary here.
No matter how you feel about socialism, we can admit that we all have preconceived notions of places where we don’t live, especially when we plan to travel to those areas. Americans are now paying more attention to Denmark and what to expect there after Regan’s dismissal of socialism in Denmark on television.
We thought it might be interesting to talk about the realities of life in Denmark and not just theories of government. Here’s what I personally did not expect when I traveled to the country.
10 Bicycle Structure And Where You Can Take Your Bike
Many people understand that Danes often use bikes to get around. This heavy reliance on bicycles sparks many differences between the ways in which Americans and Danes use them.
Danish people like to ride high on their bikes, and the bicycle structure is mostly very thin. My bike back home is a thick, mint green, average-size bicycle that a person can ride leisurely and plant her butt on easily. When I tried to purchase a similar bicycle in Denmark, I was told that I was not allowed to buy it because the bike was so short that it was child-size. I was told that it would hurt my knees. The seat was 1 centimeter (0.4 in) below my hip!
Additionally, when you live in America and want to travel to a city but you live too far into the suburbs to bring your bike with you, you have to find a place to squeeze your bike and yourself on a train or bus. Or you end up just abandoning your bike at home and settling for walking.
However, the S-tog (S-train) system in Denmark has designated cars where you can bring your bike as well as spaces to park the bike for the duration of your train ride. There are marked places where you bring the bike in and out the door so that no one struggles with transporting these vehicles in different directions.
You have to pay an extra fee to bring your bike on the Metro, but there is space for your bicycle if you purchase that pass.
Finally, even in suburban or rural areas of Denmark, bike paths are carved out for cyclists to get from place to place. I’ve been told by some Danes that there are groups of people in Denmark who want to get rid of the use of cars in the country altogether.
9 Bicycling Rules And Regulations
In the US, we are theoretically supposed to use hand signals to inform pedestrians and drivers of our directions. However, Americans rarely use them. We’re also supposed to wear helmets and refrain from texting while riding. However, little more than negative verbal reactions ensue if Americans do not follow these expectations.
If someone is found texting while riding or failing to use proper hand signals in Denmark, that person can be fined 100–700 Danish kroner. Danes also ride their bikes no matter what time it is, so it is expected that you will have bike lights. If you do not, people will panic about your safety and that of others during the nighttime.
To allow for the transportation of children, there are child seats that attach to the back of a bike and bicycles that have wagons in the front. While these are also offered in America, they are used much more often in Denmark.
Many pregnant women in the US know about the surgeon general’s long-standing warning: You should not drink while you are pregnant if you do not wish to inflict birth defects on your child.
However, in Denmark, studies have found that it’s okay to drink a standard serving of alcohol per day when you are pregnant. According to social norms, not only is it okay, it is expected.
7 Child Care
If you leave your stroller with your child inside even a few yards away from you in America, it is expected that you will have a fair number of people verbally armed and ready to chastise and scorn you as a parent or caregiver.
I have been a guilty party at one point, although I did not say anything directly to the mother (which may be just as bad). However, in Denmark, it’s normal to leave your child in his stroller one grocery aisle over or at the edge of a public room.
6 Water And Energy Conservation
Whether for tax purposes or in the spirit of ecological concern, Danes can be quite conscious of the ways and amounts they use their water and energy resources. Thirty-minute showers would probably not fly. Although laundry dryers can be in households, drying racks are preferred except in a laundry emergency. It is also expected that you turn off lights when you leave a room unless you plan to return to that room very soon.
Like any city, it is hard for people in Copenhagen to take care of their pets outside their apartments other than walking them in the city. However, if you step outside Copenhagen, people will let their pets run free.
I’ve seen cats roaming the neighborhoods. At first, I felt bad for the little strays. Then I learned that they were not strays, just cats that were let out to be free for the day. Their owners knew they would return for food and quality time with the family.
Depending on the individual person, Danes may be more lax on leashes for their dogs during walks as well. However, that’s not the case too often.
Gap years are common for students who are at or near college age in Denmark. These students are not stigmatized or ashamed of their choice. Sometimes, it is natural for kids to take a year off between high school and college in Denmark.
I don’t know why, but people do not always consider Denmark or Copenhagen when they think of technologically advanced countries or cities, respectively. In America, we do not hear much about companies like Cisco anymore, but this firm is on the cutting edge of collaborative business technology.
Cisco has partnered with Copenhagen to build groundbreaking digital infrastructures. There’s also Khora, a virtual reality lab in the meatpacking district of Copenhagen, where people can try different virtual reality systems and games for a low price.
Copenhagen hosts a yearly Techfestival (motto: where humans and technology meet) and boasts the location of many other tech startups and well-established tech companies.
If you are invited to a dinner party in Denmark, you’d better set aside the whole night, starting at around 5:00 PM. It is not typically encouraged to jump from party to party if you have been invited to more than one on the same day. You eat dinner, drink, have dessert, and talk for nearly six hours.
Normally, the host has a seating plan and you should not arrive late or early. If you arrive late, it is rude. If you arrive early, it is worrisome to the host, who may not be fully prepared yet. It’s not necessarily about partying but more about having a good time together and catching up.
1 Going Out
Okay, so Danes are a lot more fun and adventurous than Americans. At least this American. People don’t start hitting the bars until 11:00 PM, and sometimes, they won’t start leaving until 3:00–5:00 the next morning. When Danes want to party, they party hard.
+ Perception Of Safety
In the US, women are often told to either go out in large groups or make sure they have a man around them if they go out after dark. However, people in Denmark, including women, don’t seem to be afraid to go out on their own.
I’m not about to say that Denmark is a utopia because no place is. I’ve biked home at 1:00 AM here, taken trains at midnight, and felt completely safe. Back home, if I’m waiting outside the catering hall where I work in my town and I hear a sound behind me—even at 9:00 PM—it would be enough to make me curl up into a ball and picture the worst possible scenario.
I’ve talked about this to other young women who are studying abroad with me. They have had no problems going home with Danish men. One even said that any time she felt harassed or in danger in Denmark, it was a foreigner, not a Dane, who made her feel threatened.
++ Danes Are Blunt, And That Is Okay
Danes will tell you their honest opinions—whether it’s believing that certain activities or customs are silly or telling you that you’re wrong about something and exactly why or correcting a social behavior that they believe is rude.
Or maybe they just laugh at you when you mispronounce a street name. The Danes understand that it’s okay to be up-front and honest and there’s a way you can do that without being straight-up mean. In fact, most times, you get a good laugh out of the interaction.
+++ Function In Fashion
Remember in 2008 when Selena Gomez and Demi Lovato wore high-top sneakers with their dresses? We thought it looked cute for a few years and then realized that it was just odd.
Danes don’t care. In fact, I’ve seen professors and women on my commute who wear the cutest dresses or outfits with the most beat-up sneakers either because they have to walk long distances or because they have to ride their bikes.
It’s actually made me reframe the idea of cute outfits with athletic sneakers to be wholly cute outfits. Danes also like to be warm. I’ve heard some Danish people tell me that it’s almost like Americans don’t care about the weather—they’ll wear what they think is good-looking in any type of weather and risk their comfort.
However, Danes will wear sweaters and parkas and scarves and make them look cute when they think it’s going to be cold. I’ve seen that even toward the end of summer. However, other American girls and I are wearing skirts and freezing our legs off here when we go out. We dream of how to wear jeans and leather jackets to be warm and cute like the Danish girls.
I’ve continued to learn that changes or differences in the ways that various people live are not bad. Most of the time, our “comfort zone” is really more of a barrier to how we could be experiencing life than an actual comfort.
For me while living in Denmark, that lesson certainly applies. Danes live differently than what I’m used to, but I’m not upset about it at all. In fact, I find myself constantly enthusiastic about this new way of living.
Maher is in her fourth and last year of undergraduate studies at American University in Washington, DC. She studies journalism and health promotion and is currently studying in Scandinavia to understand herself and the world around her more. Maher’s dream is to be an investigative journalist or to work for NPR. Honestly, what journalism student doesn’t have that dream, though?
10 Strangest US Roadside Attractions
Roadside attractions have been a staple of American culture since the first mile of Route 66 was laid down. Fodder for postcards, novelty-seekers, and Instagram shots, these various noteworthy stopping points are often quite unique and bizarre.
While classics such as the World’s Largest Ball of Twine seem weird enough, an in-depth look reveals much stranger sights. Here are ten of the strangest US roadside attractions. (For those curious, the ball of twine is in Cawker City, Kansas.)
10 Unclaimed Baggage Center
Born from the mind of a man named Doyle Owens in 1970, Unclaimed Baggage Center (UCB) is a secondhand store with a unique supply chain: US airline companies. As of today, it is the only store in the country which sells lost luggage. The size of a city block, UCB has forged alliances with most major airlines, not only selling lost luggage but also random carry-on items which get left behind.
Originally sold on card tables in a rented house in Washington, DC, the nearly 7,000 new daily items were moved to their current home of Scottsboro, Alabama, by Bryan Owens in 1995. Thanks to the exclusive contracts signed with the major airlines of the US, UCB boasts more than a million visitors per year. In addition to their storefront, they also have a museum of oddities and curios, items which are not for sale. (An African djembe is one of the more unique exhibits.)
9 Lucy The Margate Elephant
Located just a short distance south of Atlantic City, a 20-meter (65 ft) building rises from the Margate sands. This isn’t your ordinary building, though; it’s in the shape of a large elephant, and its name is Lucy. Since its construction in 1881, news of a giant elephant appearing to sailors began to trickle into various parts of the East Coast. Determined to uncover the truth, visitors began to flock to Absecon Island, shocked when they realized it was no mirage.
The brainchild of a man named James V. Lafferty, Jr., Lucy was eventually patented in 1882, with Lafferty receiving one for the invention of a “building in the form of an animal.” Later owners of the building eventually began guided tours, with such visiting luminaries as President Woodrow Wilson. At various times through its history, Lucy has been a summer home for an English doctor and his family, a tavern (which nearly resulted in it burning to the ground), and a tourist attraction, which it remains to this day.
8 Wall Drug
Perhaps the most famous tourist trap in the entire country, Wall Drug got its start in 1931 on the edge of the South Dakota Badlands. Using his last $3,000, Ted Hustead brought his wife and child to the small town of Wall and purchased a small pharmacy. Business was tough, and they struggled to make ends meet for years while the Great Depression rolled on.
However, to this day, their biggest draw might still be one of their first: free water. Hustead’s wife, Dorothy, had the idea come to her while she tried to sleep one hot July afternoon. Due to her idea, and a number of ingeniously placed billboards, people flocked to the store, filling up on ice water as well as the occasional ice cream cone. Today, more than two million people visit each year, bringing more than $10 million with them.
7 Nicolas Cage’s Tomb
In a move which seems to solidify his eccentric reputation, Nicolas Cage purchased a tomb in an infamous New Orleans graveyard in 2010. Thanks to its below-sea-level elevation and numerous outbreaks of disease throughout its history, the city has strict rules about where cemeteries can be located, unless they’re aboveground. Those rules are what led Cage to purchase a 2.7-meter-tall (9 ft) stone pyramid in the St. Louis Cemetery No. 1.
However, the exact reasoning behind the tomb’s purchase has been kept secret, though some locals are angry he was able to even get into the cemetery in the first place, going so far as to accuse the actor of knocking down much older burials in order to make room for the pyramid tomb. The first New Orleans graveyard with aboveground burials, St. Louis Cemetery No. 1 is also the final resting place of Marie Laveau, the infamous voodoo queen of New Orleans.
6 Airstream Ranch
An homage to Cadillac Ranch, an art installation using junked Cadillac automobiles, Airstream Ranch was located not far from Tampa, Florida, and used old RVs as its medium. It was the pet project of Frank Bates, a man who, coincidentally, happens to run an RV dealership nearby. Controversial for much of its existence (such is the life of modern art), state courts reversed local orders to tear it down after Bates fought for nearly two years.
Created in 2007 to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the Airstream company, the ranch was originally intended to be built using brand-new RVs, but Bates ended up deciding to get one from every decade of the company’s existence (though he only managed five decades’ worth). Bates had hoped to add to the ranch, envisioning a future where his installation would have become a park, as well as a home for weddings. In the end, however, Airstream Ranch was torn down to make room for a new Airstream dealership in 2017.
Another roadside attraction reminiscent of Airstream Ranch is Carhenge, located in Alliance, Nebraska. It’s exactly what it sounds like: Stonehenge, made of cars.
5 Cross Island Chapel
Otherwise known as The World’s Smallest Church, the Cross Island Chapel was built in 1989 in the small town of Oneida, New York. In addition to having been certified by Guinness World Records, it also sits on a small dock in the middle of a pond. Only big enough for three standing people (or two seated), the church has nevertheless served as the location for a number of weddings. On one such occasion, wedding guests had to anchor their boats nearby.
Though it lost its title of World’s Smallest Church only a few months after its certification (a Swiss church holds the record), the Cross Island Chapel still attracts its fair share of visitors, most of whom come to pray or just take a look. Built to honor God, the building no longer sits on “Cross Island,” as the water level has risen, forcing a dock to be built to house the 2.7-square-meter (28.7 ft2) chapel.
4 The Hobo Museum
Located in Britt, Iowa, the home of the National Hobo Convention, an annual event which began in 1900, is the Hobo Museum, a building dedicated to the memory of hobos and their history. Housed in an old theater, the museum began its life with nothing more than a single box of random items. Today, the building is full, and exhibits extolling the origins and virtues of the hobo lifestyle are abundant. (To be clear, a hobo is a traveling migrant worker, whereas a tramp is a traveler who avoids work. A bum neither works nor travels.)
In 2008, students of various classes at nearby Iowa State University began work on getting the building onto the National Registry of Historic Places, as well as plans to remodel/restore the former glory of the theater. Other sites throughout the city honor hobos, such as the Hobo Jungle and the Hobo Cemetery, a section of a larger graveyard reserved specifically for hobos.
3 Ben Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard
Have you ever wondered what happens to discontinued ice creams, such as Festivus or Dublin Mudslide? Fear not, for they have gone to a better place: the Ben Jerry’s Flavor Graveyard. A tongue-in-cheek place for a tongue-in-cheek company, the graveyard is not only a page on their website but a physical place, located at their factory in Waterbury, Vermont.
Originally opened in 1997, the graveyard only consisted of four flavors, with many more added over the years (35 at last count). Most of the graves are empty, with the exception being What A Cluster, for which they held an actual funeral. (Whether or not the pint of ice cream actually made it underground is anybody’s guess.) While it isn’t the most popular attraction on this list, Sean Greenwood, Ben Jerry’s head of publicity, says people do come to pay their respects to their favorite discontinued flavors, going so far as to leave flowers near the elaborate granite headstones erected there.
2 The Octopus Tree
Bearing no relation to the mythical Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus, the Octopus Tree of Oregon is an enormous spruce tree, notable for its branches, which resemble the tentacles of an octopus. Believed to be the largest Sitka spruce in the state, debate continues on the story of its origins, with Native American activity being the most likely. Coastal tribes, such as the Tillamook tribe, were said to shape the trees as part of their ceremonial rites.
The idea behind the Native American theory is that the tree was used to hold cedar canoes, as well as other objects of ritual importance. As far as the Octopus Tree goes, it has been estimated to be hundreds of years old and has often gone by the name “The Council Tree,” as it was said that elders also congregated at it in order to make decisions.
1 World’s Largest Collection Of World’s Smallest Versions Of World’s Largest Things
This one is going to take a little explaining. Intrigued by the great American pastime of creating the largest versions of things, artist Erika Nelson decided to riff on that idea. What sprung from her thought was a traveling attraction containing miniature replicas of said things. Extensive research on each and every exhibit is performed before construction, with precise measurements done on the originals.
Appropriate materials are used whenever possible; for example, the World’s Smallest Version of the World’s Largest Ball of Rubber Bands was made using miniature rubber bands. In addition, a photo is taken of each exhibit sat in front of its original. While it is normally on the road, and best seen there, when the attraction is not traveling, it calls Lucas, Kansas, its home.
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.
Hotel Ritz Aarhus
Hotel Ritz Aarhus is a comfortable base while visiting Aarhus and is close to everything the area has to offer....
Scandic Aarhus City
Scandic Aarhus City is a contemporary base when visiting Aarhus and is close to everything the area has to offer....
Hotel Royal Aarhus
Situated in the centre of Aarhus, this hotel features an on-site casino along with a sauna. It is moments from...
City Hotel Oasia
City Hotel Oasia provides an elegant setting while visiting Aarhus and is close to everything the area has to offer....
Le Champlain Hotel
Centrally located, Le Champlain Hotel allows for easy access to Quebec City’s popular sightseeing and retail areas. It also offers...
Located in the centre of Quebec City, this hotel features a charming restaurant and a night club. It offers free...
Hotel Manoir Victoria
Set in the heart of the city, Hotel Manoir Victoria offers easy access to Quebec City’s main shopping and sightseeing...
Trip Ideas6 months ago
10 Famous Unfinished Landmarks From Around The World
United Kingdom8 months ago
Studios 2 Let Apartments London
USA8 months ago
Egypt8 months ago
Aqua Blu Sharm El Sheikh
Trip Ideas7 months ago
10 Fascinating Proposed Tourist Traps
USA8 months ago
United Kingdom8 months ago
Britannia International Hotel Canary Wharf
United Kingdom8 months ago
London House Hotel