10 Unusual Tourist Attractions: Photos
July 6, 2011 --
Summer is in full swing and if you haven't gone on a vacation yet, it's not too late to start planning. If you're looking for a vacation with the family, why not try a theme park? If you're looking for a little rest and relaxation, you can't beat the beach. (We even have a list of the best and worst beaches so you know where to go this season.) But what if you're looking for something entirely out of the ordinary? Explore some of the most unusual tourist attractions in this slideshow.
Museum of Bad Art: Boston
You've been to the Louvre, you've seen the British Museum and you've dropped by the Galleria degli Uffizi. But now you're looking for a change. After all, who wouldn't get tired of seeing the greatest creative achievements in the history of humankind? If you're an art lover searching for a different, more ironic kind of "masterpiece," look no further than the Museum of Bad Art, or MOBA, in Boston. No, you won't find any works by da Vinci, Monet, Picasso, Cézanne or other masters. What you'll find instead are portraits, landscapes, sculptures and abstractions by lesser-known artists, many of whom had the good sense not to add their names to their works. Instead of Klimpt's "The Kiss," you'll see "The Itch," by Anonymous. And who needs any of Holbein's Henry VIII portraits on the throne when you can see "Sunday on the Pot with George," an intimate portrayal on a shirtless man on a toilet? Mona Lisa may draw a crowd, but you can be sure then when you see "Mana Lisa," you'll be the only one in the room.
BLOG: Bacteria Help Restore Aging Art
Hobbiton: New Zealand
When Frodo first left the Shire, he bravely journeyed into the land of Mordor on his quest to create one of the most successful film franchises in cinema history. And now, you can be a part of that history. See where Peter Jackson and crew filmed "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy throughout Middle Earth -- or rather, New Zealand. Situated on a private farm near Matamata on the North Island, Hobbiton, the setting for the Shire, is a great place to start your adventure. And don't forget to try the lamb burgers. We hear they're magic.
BLOG: The 'Hobbit' Fossil
Karni Mata: India
The Karni Mata temple in India has something every wandering soul in search of spiritual fulfillment yearns for: thousands and thousands of large rats. At the temple the rats are considered sacred and are offered food and shelter by devotees. The temple is dedicated to Karni Mata, a 14th-century mystic who was believed to be the incarnation of Durga, the goddess of victory. The rats are said to be reincarnated members of her tribe. Although the site does attract its fair share of curious tourists, most visitors to the temple are Hindu pilgrims.
NEWS: Binging Rats Get Hooked on Junk Food
Marfa Lights: Texas
If there's one thing we like here at Discovery News, it's a good UFO conspiracy. On clear nights on Mitchell Flat near U.S. Route 67, mysterious orbs of light can be seen hovering just above the ground. The lights have been attributed to everything from the reflections of car lights to swamp gas. However, others have different interpretations. Some resident Marfa UFO hunters believe the lights are of alien origin. Why not drop by and check out the Marfa lights for yourself and let us know what you think?
BLOG: Russian Dead Alien Video Surfaces
We've all heard of Stonehenge. But if you live in the United States, why bother traveling thousands of miles to see a bunch of old rocks when we've got the next best thing right in America's heartland? Meet Carhenge. Crafted by Jim Reinders in 1987 with 38 vintage automobiles spraypainted stone gray, the site mimics Stonehenge in its current state rather than how it originally appeared.
BLOG: Stonehenge Drew Prehistoric Tourists
Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant: Ukraine
Twenty-five years ago the Chernobyl Power Plant was the site of the world's worst nuclear disaster. Now in 2011, the site has become a tourist hot spot (literally and figuratively). Areas within the 30-mile exclusion zone, where tours are conducted, are still radioactive. But the good news is that the dose of radiation is no more than what you'd get on the flight there. Once there, you'll get to see local wildlife, such as elk and owls that still live on the radioactive site, and tour what now is the ghost town of Pripyat, which was once home to 50,000 residents.
WIDE ANGLE: Chernobyl: 25 Years Later
Underwater Hotel: Florida
Hotels above ground are a dime a dozen, but if you're looking for a truly immersive vacation experience, then dive into an underwater hotel. Some hotels host underwater attractions, such as bars or restaurants. Others, such as Jules Undersea Lodge in Key Largo, Fla., (pictured here) even offer guest rooms that are underwater. You might miss out on some amenities available in other hotels, like a balcony or oxygen in the hallways. But you can't beat that view of the ocean.
PHOTOS: Floating 'Ark' Hotel Can Deal with Rising Sea Levels
Open-Air Karaoke: Germany
With all the concerts and music festivals going on this summer, what makes Mauerpark's open-air karaoke in Berlin, Germany, so special? Answer: the audience. Unlike the average karaoke bar, which will attract maybe a dozen tone-deaf listeners, karaoke in Mauerpark park can attract an audience of thousands. If the weather is right and you can sing, expect a crowd of thousands of cheering fans. Of course if your voice sounds like fingernails scraping against a chalkboard, let's hope it rains.
VIDEO: App Makes Bad Singers Better
World's Largest Train Set: Germany
Don't be fooled by what looks like a wide-angle view of a city street. This shot actually shows a small section of what is the world's largest train set in Hamburg, Germany. But given how many "world's largest" attractions there are in the U.S. (such as the world's largest ball of twine in South Dakota or the biggest yo-yo in California), why travel all the way to Germany to see the largest train set? Called "Miniatur Wunderland," the nearly 12,500-square-foot train set will contain sections inspired by different geographic regions around the world. There will be a section for Germany, Australia, Switzerland and even the U.S. for anyone who's feeling homesick (including a scale model of Mount Rushmore for anyone stuck with the all-too-common conundrum of choosing between South Dakota and Germany). If you can't see the train set this year, don't worry: The project won't be complete until 2014, when it is expected to cover nearly 19,500 square feet.
BLOG: Tiniest Train Ever!