125 Wacky Roadside Attractions: Book Review
“Mom, there’s something we missed in Gatlinburg!” Our daughter stabbed at a photo in the book she held in her lap. In the picture, shelves overflowed with various colorful ceramic characters.
“The Salt and Pepper Shaker Museum,” she declared and proceeded to read the rest of the page aloud about the 20,000 Salt and Pepper shakers housed in a little place in one of our favorite towns in Tennessee.
Okay, so our daughter reigns as the family foodie, but Salt and Pepper Shaker collections? She constantly surprises me. Her nose disappeared again into the colorful pages of the 125 Wacky Roadside Attractions book. (These days, anytime I see her dive into a book without my prompting is a cause for celebration in our house, or at least an embarrassing mom happy-dance.) What was this book that had snagged her attention?
125 Wacky Roadside Attractions is a 112 page National Geographic Kids book stuffed with vibrant photos and brief anecdotes about the weirdest and wackiest, kookiest and most eccentric places around the world. Divided into sections like Loony Lodging, Spooky Sights and Radical Replicas, there is a little something to pique everyone’s interest.
My teenage son soon grabbed the book and quickly pointed out our own state’s wacky attractions like the mermaids of Weeki Wachee and zip-lining over gators in St. Augustine (seriously, would you do that?). But his favorite Wacky Attraction was the giant scary Gollum in New Zealand. He’s a Lord of the Rings fan, need I say more?
Marissa Gawel, a National Geographic Young Explorer, personally visited these unique stateside attractions to gather facts and photos for this book. She has her bio featured at the back of the book. What an awesome job! It’s an eccentric collection of kitschy, cool and bizarre places. And even though this book was meant for kids, being a traveler, and collector of random facts, I loved reading it as well. I found myself feeling nostalgic over the mention of South of the Border, a little resort in South Carolina that my parents used to stay at on our drives to Florida from up north. We would count the miles on the billboard signs all the way- and I think they started at around 250 miles (maybe more). I think we might be including some Wacky Attractions into our own adventures in the future.
This is a great read for factoid collectors, the nostalgic, travelers and just the plain curious. Also it’s great for planning that side trip to remember on your next travels: giant eyeball in Dallas anyone?
Watch out for 125 Wacky Roadside Attractions (published by National Geographic Partners LLC) in your local bookstore and school book fairs.
What’s your favorite wacky roadside attraction?
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