1. Seattle Underground
In 1889, a raging fire destroyed most of the homes, sawmills, general stores, and other businesses in Seattle, Washington. City officials immediately began laying plans to rebuild the city and took the opportunity to raise the streets and buildings 20 feet above ground level to decrease the risk of flooding.
The new city of Seattle thrived and for decades, the old buildings and streets that had escaped the fire of 1889 remained forgotten under the city. In 1965, Bill Speidel began exploring Seattle’s underground and writing a book about its history. This eventually led him to open Underground Tours so that others could also walk the old sidewalks, tour shops from years gone by and visit Pioneer Square where Seattle was born.
Cost: Adults $22, Seniors $20, Students $20, Youth $10, Children under 6 Free
There is also a special combo ticket available for $50 that includes the underground tour and an Underground Paranormal Experience.
Hours: Tours every hour of the day. April to September 9 am – 7 pm and October to March, 10 am – 6 pm.
2. Fireflies of the Great Smoky Mountains
Once a year, the Great Smokies host an amazing display of fireflies and become another unusual place to visit in the United States.
These Photinus carolinus fireflies are one of the only fireflies in the world to synchronize their flash patterns during mating season. The Photinus carolinus mating season takes place in late May or early June and lasts for only 2 weeks.
During these two weeks, park rangers take a limited number of visitors to the Elkmont viewing area where a large number of fireflies gather. The swarming fireflies and their synchronized flashes, combined with the majesty of the Great Smokies make for an unforgettable experience.
3. Oldest restaurant in the world
One unusual place to visit in Europe is the Sobrino de Botín restaurant in Madrid, Spain. It has been serving up delicious Castilian cuisine for the last 290 years and according to the Guinness Book of World Records qualifies as the oldest restaurant in the world.
Botín started out as a tavern where travelers would bring their own food and have the tavern keeper fix it in a wood-burning oven. Today the old oven is still used to slowly roast lambs and suckling pigs and the building still flaunts its original facade. The menu has grown, though, and the customer service has improved to keep up with modern times.
Sobrino de Botín does offer specialty tours of the restaurant’s four floors and artwork.
Location: Calle Cuchilleros, 17, Madrid, Spain
Price: €75 per person, includes the guided tour, a six-course meal from the “Classics of Botin Menu”, as well as a ceramic gift for every family
Hours: From April to October the hours are Monday to Friday 10.30am – 4.30pm and Saturdays from 11am – 2pm.
From November to March the cemetery is only open on Thursdays from 11am – 3pm.
4. Greyfriars Kirkyard
In the early 1800s, the people of Edinburgh, Scotland had reason to wonder if their beloved deceased would remain in their graves for long. Again and again, graves were opened during the night and corpses disappeared.
Local businessmen soon saw the need for mortsafes and began designing solid concrete boxes, iron cages and heavy slabs of marble guaranteed to keep graves from being robbed.
Eventually authorities found that the local medical school was responsible for stealing the bodies and the grave thefts stopped.
The Greyfriars Kirkyard and other Edinburgh cemeteries, however, continue to be an interesting place to visit for their history, mortsafes and for the fact that they inspired, J.K. Rowling as she wrote Harry Potter.
5. Bunny Land
Nicolas Fuchs was born in 1887 and gradually developed a passion for taxidermy. Over his lifetime, Fuchs preserved more than 1,000 animals. Most of these he mounted in realistic settings, but his imagination took flight when he was presented with numerous rabbit carcasses.
Painstakingly he stuffed the rabbits, dressed them in clothes, and then set them to play cards, dance, and serve drinks in what he called Bunny Land.
You can visit Bunny Land and Fuch’s other educational animals at the Lloydminster Culture and Science Center in Lloydminster, Canada, right on the border between Alberta and Saskatchewan
Cost: Adults $7.50, Seniors $5.25, Students $6, Youth $5, Pre-School $3, Infants Free. There is a family discount rate of $17.
Hours: During the summer (May – September) the museum’s hours are Sunday 10am – 6pm, Monday through Wednesday 9am – 4:30pm, Thursday 9am- 9pm, Friday and Saturday 9am – 4:30pm.
In the winter (September – May) the museum is closed on Sundays and Mondays, but open Tuesdays and Wednesdays 9am – 4: 30pm, Thursdays 9am – 9 pm, Fridays and Saturdays 9am – 4:30pm
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Population in Bolivia: 10.89 million people as of 2016
Capital City: Sucre
Best time to visit the salt flats: January – April if you want to see the salt flats with water and May-November if you prefer the salt flats to be dry.
6. A Hotel Made of Salt
Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, covers over 4,000 square miles of land in Bolivia. During the rainy season which is from December to mid-April, a thin coating of water turns the salt flat into a breathtaking mirror. The rest of the year, the flat has a mineral crust that varies from several inches to several feet thick and provides an important source of salt and lithium.
The region around the Salar de Uyuni has several great hotels, but the most unique is the Palacio de Sal, the world’s first salt hotel. The hotel’s walls, floors, and ceilings, as well as some of its furniture and decorations are made entirely of salt. Along with being a unique place to stay, the hotel offers guided tours to the Salar de Uyuni, the Laguna Colorada where Andean flamingos breed and Potosí, a city near the world’s largest silver mine.
7. Giraffe Manor
Kenya has a wealth of wildlife, including rhinoceroses, elephants and giraffes, as well as numerous reservations and parks to protect these animals.
The Giraffe Manor is 140 acres of privately owned land that provides a home for Rothschild giraffes and an exclusive boutique hotel. Every morning and evening the giraffes visit the hotel for special treats and give guests the unique pleasure of having a giraffe stick its head into their room!
Giraffe Manor also offers safari tours tailored to their guests’ needs.
Location: Nairobi, Kenya
Best time to visit: All year long
For additional information: Call +254 725 675 830 or contact them online.
8. Dubai Miracle Garden
Every year during blooming season, the Dubai Miracle Garden welcomes about 55,000 visitors every week. The garden covers 775,000 square feet of land and includes millions of flowering plants. Some of these plants create intricate designs on the ground, while others grow on metal scaffolding shaped like famous buildings and cartoon characters. All of the flowers contribute to the dazzling colors in the garden.
Location: Al Barsha South 3, Dubailand Area – Dubai – United Arab Emirates
Dates: The dates that the Miracle Garden is open varies from year to year, so check their website for this year’s dates.
9. Pig Beach
The Bahamas consist of 700 islands just north of Cuba in the Atlantic Ocean. Some of the islands, like Nassau and The Exumas, are famous for their beautiful beaches and resorts, while another island, namely Pig Beach, is loved for its friendly, swimming pigs.
No one knows exactly how the pigs arrived on the island, but there is no doubt that they are thriving in their new habitat and love the attention of tourists. Along with being able to meet and feed the pigs, young tourists can pet stingrays, hold starfish and look for seashells along the clear waters of the Bahamas.
Location: 98775 State Hwy 111, Mecca, California
Hours: Call +1.6198401429 for seasonal hours
10. Banana Museum
Ready to go bananas? The International Banana Museum displays over 20,000 items related to bananas and offers apeeling banana puns at almost every turn.
Located in Mecca, California, the museum even offers a banana bar where you can order 4 different types of banana soda pop, banana chips, banana splits, and other special treats. If you are looking for an unusual place to visit with kids, don’t let this unique opportunity slip through your fingers.