Gone But Not Forgotten… Lost Roadside Attractions

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     As time marches on and progress continues to physically change the shape of ourlandscape around us, we’re losing so many of the places that are embedded in our memory of years past. Places we so vividly recall visiting or spending time at… happy places of our youth or our children’s younger yearsfamily-vacation-stacked-car-clipart. Some were a wonderful escape from day-to-day life, like a fantasy world, when things were much more ‘carefree’. Others were places we passed or stopped at on those long family road trips when life was moved at a much slower pace than today. Take a journey back with me into time and let’s revisit some of those places.

royer-park-train-rosevilleI started this list about 10 years ago with maybe a few dozen listings of attractions that have since closed down, due to whatever reasons, or have been abandoned, some have suffered from fires, floods, earthquakes, recession, finances, lack of funding to keep open or lack of interest from the ever-changing demographics of visitors causing loss of interest. The places listed here cover several generations, time-wise, from our parents, grandparents or great grandparents era of the late 1800’s all the way up to those that have gone out of business since the millenium. Lots and lots of pictures and links for you to enjoy & learn more about on your own.

Roadside attractions, amusement parks, theme parks, water parks, unusual city parks,
family fun parks, aquariums, zoos, petting zoos, aviaries, monterey-carousel-inside-the-edgewater-packing-company2museums, military bases with special features, themed restaurants, exotic floral gardens, strange oddities, bizarre structures & statues, and the like are all included. Some of the most difficult to keep up were all of the miniature golf courses, larger video arcades, bowling alleys, dance halls, concert venues, luxurious theaters, large recreation centers, malibu-grand-prix-redwood-citythemed campgrounds, public pools, etc. I’ve tried to include those that stood out among the rest for one reason or another. But I’m well aware there are tons more out there that you remember from growing up at.

There are now over 400 listings focussing predominantly in California, Arizona, Nevada,dinosaur-park-sun-valley-az Oregon, Washington & British Columbia, Canada. As one would imagine, the list will never be complete as that would be virtually impossible to keep up with, but I’m constantly finding more places through research that I had either forgotten about, never knew existed, discovered recently or have been referred by readers like you.  Updates, accidental omissions and additional closures will continue being added on this list on and ongoing basis as time permits for me. Please feel free to give me your input and alert me of places you know about that I have not included.

route-66-hwy-signWith all that said, please sit back and revisit, learn about and enjoy the following post.Please bookmark it or ‘follow’ so you can come back here from time to time to see what’s new. Once again los and lots of pictures and links for you to check out more in-depth are included within.

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Remembering Lost and Forgotten Roadside Tourist Attractions and Amusement Parks on the West Coast

Road Trip Green Road Sign with Dramatic Sky and Clouds.

 

 

 

Fun Family Attractions In Arizona

Are you looking for something to do with the kids this weekend – an opportunity to get out of the house and enjoy some family time together – maybe experience something new or going some place fun, educational or both that you haven’t been to before? Well, here you will find a whole plethora of fun adventures and activities to enjoy with the whole family. Use these ideas when boredom strikes or plan ahead for your next family excursion, vacation, weekend getaway or even a day trip in Arizona? There is definitely no shortage of things to do in this state that the whole family can enjoy together – whether you’re a local or just visiting. Lots of great outdoor activities to do when the weather is just right – as well as lots of air-conditioned indoor or water-related activities to do to cool off when the searing Arizona summer heat kicks into high gear.

This comprehensive guide to family oriented adventures, amusements and attractions feature those that are educational, fun, interactive, adventurous, competitive, sports-minded, exciting and/or relaxing.  Many of these promote curiosity, imagination, physical fitness and social interaction. The following listings focus on amusement parks, family fun centers, water parks, splash pads, wildlife parks, zoos, aquariums, guided tours, “hands-on” interactive children’s museums, kid activity centers, “family oriented” museums , exceptional parks, indoor playgrounds, go-karts, train rides, miniature golf, larger arcades, ticket/prize redemption centers, “soft-play” (bounce house type) play centers, laser tag arenas, exceptional paintball arenas, aquatic centers that feature waterslides or interactive water features, farm tours, caves and caverns that offer tours, and also unusual or unique attractions that may be geared towards kids or those that may appeal to all ages within the family or group. A number of lesser known places of interest have also been included here.

Now I’m also aware that there are bound to be additional attractions out there that I may not have included here – as there could really never be a “complete” list – but would appreciate your input in letting me know those favorites of yours that I haven’t included yet. None-the-less, this should still give you a decent selection of  places to check out.

I also strongly encourage you to check out the individual attraction’s websites before getting in the car and driving as a few of these are seasonal or subject to reduced hours  or days open – also there are a few requiring appointments or reservations in advance. Most will charge an admission or entrance fees – but not all – some are actually free of charge or accept donations. Some even offer reduced admission days or times. Also, due to the state of the economy as well as other factors, places do close down, go out of business, relocate, or switch over to an on-the-road type business.

So check out the endless possibilities below. There should be plenty of choices here for all ages.


Fun Family Attractions in Arizona

Please Note:  All attractions are arranged and listed alphabetically by city:

  • AguilaRobson’s Mining WorldAn old-time gold mining town offering an impressive collection of antique mining equipment, gold panning, explore Native American artifacts and petroglyphs and see the Gold Mine.
  • AnthemAnthem Community Park – An incredible 63-acre park featuring Adventure Playground (large size highlighted by  a 3-tier castle), Daisy Mountain Railroad, Splash Pad, a half-pipe Skateboard Park, an In-Line Hockey Rink, Catch & Release Fishing Pond, Community Center, Big Splash Water Park (see next listing) and much more.
  • AnthemBig Splash WaterparkUse limited to residents and guests
  • Apache JunctionSuperstition Mountain Museum
  • BensonKartchner Caverns State ParkGuided Cave Tour & Discovery Center
  • BisbeeBisbee Mining & Historical Museum
  • BisbeeQueen Mine ToursRide the mine train deep underground into the Queens Mine and learn it’s history from the miners-turned-tour-guides.
  • Bullhead CityColorado River Museum
  • Bullhead CityScooter’s Family Fun Center (no website found) Facebook Linkfeaturing 2 miniature golf courses, mini Indy raceway, batting cages and arcade
  • Camp VerdeFort Verde State Historic Parkfeaturing 3 historic museums on site.
  • Camp VerdeOut of Africa Wildlife ParkHome to over 400 animals on a 104-acre preserve the Park features wild animals from all over the world, including Lions, Tigers, Giraffe, Rhinoceros, Black Bear, Camel, Jaguar, Ostrich, Cobras and more! The animals enjoy natural, spacious habitats and you can share in this one-of–a–kind wildlife experience.
  • Casa GrandeCasa Grande Valley Historical Society & Museumfeaturing vintage fire engines, a vintage schoolhouse, miniature agricultural display, mining exhibits, railroad exhibits
  • Chandler Arizona Railway Museum
  • ChandlerDesert Breeze Park & Railroad featuring the Desert Breeze Express Train Ride, Carousel, newer playgrounds, old time train station and lake
  • ChandlerMakutu’s IslandIndoor Playground & Family Fun Center
  • ChandlerRawhide Western Town At Wild Horse Passfeaturing a Desert Train Ride, Butterfield Stagecoach Rides, Gold Panning, Burro Rides, Rock Climbing Wall, Six Gun Theater Stunt Shows, Spirit of the West Theater Stage Shows and Shootin’ Gallery
  • ChandlerTumbleweed Park/PlaytopiaPlaytopia is a FREE 2.5 acre playground and picnic section of Tumbleweed Park featuring several themed play zones (such as Farm Land, City Land, Critter Land) based on Chandler’s heritage — an ideal place for endless imaginative play and attracts families from all over town — Come out and play!
  • ClarkdaleVerde Canyon Railroad
  • CottonwoodBlazin’ M Ranch Featuring an all-you-can-eat Chuckwagon Dinner, a Live Western Stage Show and a wide variety of Western sights and activities for the whole family to enjoy.
  • DragoonThe Thing(no website found)story and details featured Here and Here
  • FlagstaffLowell ObservatoryThe world’s largest private astronomical observatoryExplore interactive “hands-on” exhibits & experience cinematic, widescreen multimedia shows in the auditorium.
  • FlagstaffMuseum of Northern ArizonaOpened June/2009
  • GilbertBounce U
  • GilbertFreestone Park & Railroad featuring a Miniature Train Ride around the Park, Carousel, Mini Ferris Wheel, Wave Runner Kiddie Ride and Playgrounds and lake.
  • GilbertGilbert Historical Museum “Explore the Past, Experience the Present, Imagine the Future” – 7 themed rooms to explore with tons of exhibits – some “hands-on”
  • GilbertMother Nature’s Farm
  • GlendaleAdobe Mountain Desert Railroad Park & Museum/Adobe Western RailroadTrain Ride LinkRide the Train from the South end of the park to the Museum. Displays include a small, narrow-gauge 1884 locomotive plus model railroad layout.
  • GlendaleAquatic Playground Splash PadAn 8,500-square-foot aquatic playground “featuring nearly 30 different nozzles and buckets, from cattails to ground geysers
  • GlendaleCerreta Candy Companyoffering free factory tours – Staff-guided (30 minute tours) and self-guided tours are available. Television monitors through out the facility provide plenty of information while you watch chocolate sensations being created right before your eyes. The Cerreta family has been hand-crafting chocolates for nearly 70 years. This small factory is a great place to take the kids for a tour of a working candy factory as well as to sample the candies.
  • GlendaleSpeed Street Indoor Race TrackKart Racing Facility
  • GlendaleTolmachoff FarmsAn authentic working family -run farm featuring guided farm and field trip tours, farm animals, (corn mazes, bounce house  and train rides during selected events), as well as special events throughout the year.
  • GlendaleWet ‘n’ Wild Phoenix Water Park – (previously known as Waterworld Safari)
  • GlobeBesh-Ba-Gowah Archaeological ParkWalk through a 700 year old Salado Culture pueblo, climb ladders to second story rooms and view the typical furnishings of the era. Numerous artifacts of this remarkably advanced culture are also displayed in the Besh-Ba-Gowah Museum
  • GoldfieldGoldfield Ghost Town“The Gateway to the Superstition Mountains” – Tour the historic Mammoth Gold Mine and visit the Goldfield Museum. Pan for gold then take a ride on Arizona’s only narrow gauge train.- Witness an old west gun fight performed by the famous Goldfield Gunfighters – Jeep Tours of the Superstition Mountains – Horseback, Wagons & Carriage Adventures await you – Spend a fun filled day, rich in wild west history!
  • Grand CanyonGrand Canyon National Park – Explore the North Rim or South Rim (most popular)
  • Grand Canyon WestGrand Canyon SkywalkHualapai Tribal Village – [This entire attraction is located on the tribal land of the Hualaipi  Indian Reservation] The Grand Canyon Skywalk is a unique glass-bottomed cantilever structure that spans 70 feet over the Grand Canyon’s rim and sits 4,000 feet above the Colorado River – Unveiled and opened to the public in March 2007 – Several varieties of tour packages available – Shuttlebus stops at Eagle Point, Guano Point and Hualapai Ranch featuring Native American Village, Amphitheater performances, Hualapai Craft & Jewelry Market, hiking, exploring ruins, cowboy entertainment, demonstrations, wagon rides, horseback tours, whitewater rafting, plane & helicopter tours with pontoon boat connection tour.
  • Lake Havasu CityHavasu Hot Laps – Go Kart Racing (no website found) Info Link
  • Lake Havasu CityLake Havasu Aquatic Centerfeaturing a waterslide, kiddie lagoon, splash park
  • Litchfield ParkWildlife World Zoo & AquariumNearly 600 species of animals and 75 themed indoor exhibits – featuring an African Safari Train, Log Flume Ride, Australian Boat and Sky-Ride, all of which are integrated into the live animal exhibits.
  • MaranaBreakers Water ParkBreakers Bay is Arizona’s Largest Wave Pool – 1.3 Million Gallons of wave pool excitement! Also featuring The Riptide, Bonzai Pipeline (5 “thrill” slides), Splash Canyon and Captain Kidd’s Surfari (the new Interactive play zone for the little ones)
  • MesaAmazing Jake’s Food & FunAn amazing 90,000 sq.ft. of air-conditioned indoor food, fun and games featuring an All-U-Can-Eat Buffet full of Pizzas, Pastas, Soups, a Potato and Salad Bar, Fountain Drinks and Desserts. The Fun Factory includes over 150 Interactive Redemption and Video Games along with the biggest and best prize counter in town. Enjoy an Indoor Go-Kart track, a Glow Bowling Alley (Galaxy Bowl), Laser Tag, Bumper Cars, Rock Climbing Wall, a Mini Coaster and Surfside Miniature Golf plus four kiddie rides including the Rio Grande Train, Tea Cups, a Frog Hopper as well as a Carousel.
  • MesaArizona Museum For Youth
  • MesaArizona Museum of Natural HistoryThis premier museum is THE  place for family fun. Where else can you see a flash flood cascading down a three-story mountain inside a museum? See Bubba the snapping turtle and a live Gila monster. Experience a real territorial jail, pan for gold in the History Courtyard, and wind your way through the Lost Dutchman’s Mine. Check out the new special exhibitions and experience hands-on adventure for all ages in the Exploration Station. Explore Arizona and the Southwest from the creation of the earth 4.5 billion years ago to the present. See the origins of life on earth, meteorites and minerals. In Dinosaur Hall, discover some of the biggest dinosaurs that ever lived, and on Dinosaur Mountain see how some appeared and sounded in a natural context. In a Walk through Time, explore ancient Arizona’s Paleozoic Seas, Triassic Petrified Forest, monsters of the Cretaceous Seas, and the first animals to fly.
  • MesaGolfland Sunsplash – featuring 3 Miniature Golf Courses, Fastcar Raceway, Bumper Boat Lagoon, Putt’s Playland, Lazer Knights Laser Tag Arena, King Ben’s Castle Arcade, plus 18 Waterslides and Water Adventures!!
  • MesaJambo! Indoor Amusement Park – An indoor amusement park with rides & soft play (formerly called Jeepers Amusement Paradise) – A 28,000 square foot climate controlled indoor amusement park with your child’s favorite rides – mini roller coaster, carousel, bumper cars, monkey barrels, spinning cups, safari train, jet airplane ride. Add over 90 non-violent games, many with redemption tickets & prizes. Now add a giant soft play area with tunnels & slides for hours of fun.
  • MesaLaser Quest
  • MesaRockin’ R RanchA working cattle and horse ranch for generations, the Rockin’ R Ranch is a real pioneer ranch with a history as intriguing as the West was Wild – Come and experience the spectacular scenery, the delicious BBQ beef and chicken dinners, the gunfights, gold panning and horse-drawn wagon rides, and the world-famous western stage shows that have drawn millions of people from all over the world to the Rockin’ R Ranch – Arizona’s Wild West Town.
  • MesaStratum Laser Tag & Entertainment Center Billed as “The World’s Largest Laser Tag Arena”
  • MesaSuperstition Farm – Dairy TourExperience and learn from an actual working family-run farm offering tours, ‘hands-on’ demonstrations, a petting farm, hayrides, a hay maze, a ‘milk bar’ – hear ‘cow tales’ and see a ‘cow spa’
  • MesaXtreme PlayInflatable Indoor PlaygroundCLOSED as of Apr/2010
  • OracleBiosphere 2A One-of-a-kind facility – Experience the remarkable Biosphere 2 which Time Life Books recently named one of the 50 must see “Wonders of the World”. See why visitors from around the globe journey here for this unique adventure not found anywhere else. Discover real-time research on the future of our planet as it unfolds in the specially designed mini-world. Starting at the visitor center you will get a first look at the new  “Phoenix Mars Lander” exhibit which landed on Mars in the summer of 2008. The visitor center also houses numerous other exhibits and multi-media displays along with a Bookstore and Cafe. Check out the new feature movie showing in the main theater which describes the past, present and future of the project. Your entry into the Biosphere is led by a tour guide who takes you inside and under the glass. The beautiful trail system takes you on a once in a lifetime tour that lets you smell the ocean and see a tropical Rainforest up close. In addition to escorting you through the upper Biomes, your interpretive tour guide takes you through the basement “technosphere” and into the amazing lungs that help the Biosphere system breathe. Your tour will conclude in the custom-built underwater ocean viewing gallery where you can explore the million-gallon ocean and its real coral reef.
  • Peach Springs – Grand Canyon Caverns (tours) Located directly off of the legendary Highway “Route 66” between Peach Springs & Seligman  – This is the largest “dry” caverns in the United States
  • PeoriaChallenger Space CenterThe Challenger Space Center provides an exciting space-based learning environment where schoolchildren, families, senior citizens, corporate teams and others fly simulated space flight missions where they become flight crews, mission controllers and scientists.
  • PeoriaCowtownBe a Cowboy! Experience cowboy life adventures here – This Wild West location includes Old West Town, Team-Building Course, Horseback Riding, Paintball Combat Zone and Cowboy Games – Fun for the entire family – Cowtown, AZ is a Clio-award winning film location starring in more than 250 movies, commercials and television shows.
  • PeoriaCowtown Paintball
  • PeoriaPump It Up – The Inflatable Party Zone
  • Peoria – Rio Vista Park
  • PeoriaWazee’s World Laser Zone This 43,000 sq. ft. entertainment Mecca includes a 7500 sq. ft. multi-level Laser Tag arena, a nine-hole Cosmic “Glow-in-the-Dark” Golf course and an Inflatable Bounce Arena that includes two large bounce houses and an obstacle course plus a video game arcade and redemption center. The “Area 51” themed laser tag arena is unlike anything in the state. This is not your typical laser tag game, but rather an amazing adventure. Space Quest is the first of it’s kind in Arizona – Designed more as a movie set than your typical laser tag arena… that you’ll have to see to believe!
  • Petrified Forest National Park/Painted Desert
  • PhoenixArizona Science Center“Hands-On Eye-Opening Fun”Located in Historic Heritage Square – Explore more than 300 hands-on exhibits in five themed galleries.
  • PhoenixArizona Doll & Toy Museumfeaturing a wide variety of dolls and toys from yesterday as well as contemporary playthings and furnished doll houses. One room has even been refurbished to reflect a turn of the century one room school house complete with antique dolls as “students.”
  • PhoenixArizona Military Museumlocated at Papago Park Military Reservation – There’s something here for everyone – kids to seniors. Visitors can view over twenty-five authentic displays of everything from uniforms to weapons to armored vehicles – Military exhibits include a large weapons display and an actual UH-1M Army Combat Helicopter (gunship) flown in Vietnam.
  • PhoenixArizona Mining & Mineral MuseumOver 3,000 minerals, rocks, fossils and mining artifacts are on exhibit. Highlighting the collection are the colorful minerals from Arizona’s copper mines. Among the spectacular individual specimens on display are an eight-foot specimen of native copper, a large quartz geode – each half weighing 240 pounds, rocks from the first Moon landing, and a fragment of Meteor Crater’s meteorite weighing 206 pounds. Prominently displayed outside is the 43-foot tall Boras mine head frame, moved to Phoenix from Bisbee, Arizona – an 1882 baby-gauge steam train locomotive from Phelps Dodge’s Morenci mine. A mucker car and ore car have been set on rail in the front yard and a 19-foot tall 5-stamp mill has been added to the historic mining equipment. Contemporary open pit mining is represented by a 13 foot diameter tire from a 320 ton capacity mine haul truck and a 27 cubic yard bucket from an electric shovel. Don’t miss the mural of the 320-ton haul truck!
  • PhoenixAZ Mazes/Fear Farmfeaturing an 8-acre corn maze with 5 miles of twists and turns – 5 incredible haunted attractions in September & October
  • PhoenixCastles-N-Coasters – “Arizona’s Finest Family Fun & Thrill Park” featuring 15 attractions, rides and activities – including 2 roller coasters (Desert Storm & The Patriot), Sky Diver (“the official scream machine”), Splashdown (log ride), Free Fall, Lil’ Indy Cars, Bumper Boats, Sea Dragon, Ram Rods, Magic Carpet At Aladin’s Castle, Carousel, 4 Miniature Golf Courses and an 18,000 sq- ft. Interactive Arcade packed with video, pinball, carnival and redemption games plus Shooting Gallery – also 3 kiddie rides
  • PhoenixChildren’s Museum of Phoenix
  • PhoenixDesert Botanical GardenNestled amid the red buttes of Papago Park, the Desert Botanical Garden hosts one of the world’s finest collections of desert plants. This one-of-a-kind museum showcases 50 acres of beautiful outdoor exhibits. Home to 139 rare, threatened and endangered plant species from around the world, the Garden offers interesting and inspiring experiences to more than 300,000 visitors each year.
  • PhoenixEnchanted Island Amusement Park“Located right in the heart of Encanto Park” –  Enchanted Island is filled with charm and magic – offering nine kiddie rides and a variety of popular attractions geared especially toward children aged 1 to 10. Ride the historic Encanto Carousel, Kiddie Cars, Bumper Boats, Little ones can also get  soaked at the newly opened Splash Zone – Pedal-boat across fish-filled lagoons. Test your skill at the arcade games.
  • PhoenixF1 Race Factory Indoor Kart Racing“America’s Largest Indoor Kart Racing & Entertainment Venue” – including Rock Climbing, Billiards & Video Arcade
  • PhoenixHall of Flame Fire Museum & National Firefighting Hall of Heroesfeaturing almost an acre of fire history exhibits, with over 90 fully restored pieces of fire apparatus, fire engines and fire fighting equipment on display dating from 1725 to 1969
  • PhoenixImagination AvenueIndoor play center for the younger set which features a Child size “pretend village” complete with 9 play houses that include a house, school, grocery store, hospital, home depot, fire station, jail, dress shop and a movie theater – Other features include a jungle gym, train station, puppet theater, birthday party room, and puzzle/color room.
  • PhoenixLaser Quest
  • PhoenixJambo! Indoor Amusement Park – A jungle-themed indoor Miniature Golf facility  formerly called Mini Golf Paradise
  • PhoenixOasis Water Park @ The Arizona Grand Resort
  • PhoenixPhoenix Trolley Museum/Arizona Street Railway Museum
  • PhoenixPhoenix Zoo“Voted one of the Nation’s Top 5 Zoos for Kids!” –
  • PhoenixPioneer Arizona Living History Village & MuseumFeaturing over 90 acres of an old 1800’s town – with no cars or smog – Just authentic buildings and historically accurate reproductions. Visit an Opera House, blacksmith shop, vintage cabins, sheriff’s office and jail, complete ranch complex, and costumed interpreters including cowboys, lawmen, and lovely Victorian ladies – All await you at Pioneer Living History Village – Arizona’s most authentic Old West town.
  • PhoenixPueblo Grand Museum Archaeological Park
  • PhoenixPump It Up – The Inflatable Party Zone
  • PhoenixSpeedway Indoor Kart Racing Center
  • PhoenixToy Town Play Center
  • PicachoRooster Cogburn Ostrich Ranch
  • Pomerene (near Benson) – Gammons GulchOld West Town & Mining Camp, Movie Set & Museum – Tours offered
  • PrescottHeritage Park Zoological Sanctuary One of the largest spider displays in the country can be found here at the Tarantula Grotto – A 2600 sq. ft. state-of-the-art Reptile House is currently under construction.
  • PrescottThe Spot – A Child’s MuseumOpening Soon @ Prescott Gateway Mall
  • Prescott ValleyFreedom Station Family Fun Center – featuring Wild West Mini-Golf, Bumper Cars, Playland, Rock Climbing Wall, Video Arcade & Redemption Center & Family Fun Train
  • Queen CreekSchnepf Farms “The Southwest’s Premier Family Entertainment Farm” featuring U-Pick Organic Gardens and Orchards, Petting Barn, Giant Slide, Train Rides, Carousel, Play Yard, Farmhouse Museum, Country Store, Sweet Shoppe, Campground – Additional children’s rides (including a roller coaster and flying/swinging rides) available during special events throughout the year – The historic, family-run 600-acre working farm also offers a variety of seasonal activities such as concerts, festivals, birthday parties, company parties, picnics, cook-offs, dinner extravaganzas in the orchard as well as educational farm tours for various school, private and public groups and organizations.
  • RooseveltTonto National Monument – Discover the Ancient Cliff Dwellings – also featuring a Visitor Center, Museum,  Observation Deck, Video Presentation and Guided Tours
  • SaffordDiscovery Park Campus (Eastern Arizona College) – featuring an observatory and exhibit galleries dealing with astronomy, space and the Solar System. The Highlight…The Space Shuttle Polaris takes visitors on a virtual tour through the solar system. This high-tech motional simulator blasts off from the Discovery Park Campus, over the 10,720 foot Mt. Graham, to visit each of the planets in the solar system. The on-board “computer” describes the journey to make it a very educational and entertaining experience.
  • SaffordSwings & Things Sports Park (no website found)  info link
  • SahuaritaASARCO Mineral Discovery Center/Mission Mine TourDiscover their award-winning exhibit center, video theater, cactus garden, and picnic area. Experience a tour of the ASARCO Mission Copper Mine. Learn about the history of the copper mining industry and how it’s used today. See the collection of mining equipment at several outdoor exhibits – also see up close 2 huge haul trucks, an Insley Shovel and a Galion Grader.
  • Sahuarita Titan Missile Museumfeaturing the only publicly accessible Titan II missile site in the nation – Tour the underground missile site – See the 3-ton blast doors, the 8-foot thick silo walls, and an actual Titan II missile in the launch duct – Visit the launch control center, experience a simulated launch and more!
  • ScottsdaleCrackerJax Family Fun & Sports Parkfeaturing Can-Am Style Go-Karts, Jax Trax Indy-Style Kiddie Karts , Bumper Boat Lagoon, Miniature Golf (2 courses), Bungy Dome, Water Wars, Professional Putting Course, 300-yard Driving Range, Batting Cages, Volleyball Courts, Video Arcade & Redemption Center.
  • ScottsdaleMcCormick-Stillman Railroad ParkTake a ride on the Paradise and Pacific Railroad and the Antique Carousel – Visit the McCormick Historical Railroad Exhibit and Museum,Arboretum and let the kids enjoy two spacious themed playgrounds – Also a new Model Railroad Building opening later this year – This one-of-kind 10,000 square foot building will showcase the park’s four model railroad clubs along with surrounding railroad displays and artifacts.  This facility is scheduled to open in the fall of 2010.
  • ScottsdalePump It Up – The Inflatable Party Zone
  • Sierra VistaBall Fore Miniature Golf (no website found)
  • Sierra VistaSierra Vista Aquatic Center/”The Cove”featuring Kids Shipwreck (kiddie slide and waterplay features) & Lagoon, Diving well with two diving boards (1-one meter, 1-three meter), 150’ enclosed tube water slide and an underwater Observation area.
  • StanfieldShamrock Farms – Dairy Farm TourMore than 10,000 cows are standing by, ready to make this farm tour a real hands-on experience for kids of all ages. With interactive displays, games and a tram ride, it’s a cornucopia of family-focused and educational activities for the whole herd.
  • SummerhavenMt. Lemmon Sky CenterAn exceptional science learning facility located at Steward Observatory’s “sky island” observing site just north of Tucson. The SkyCenter builds upon the uniqueness of the 9157′ summit of Mt. Lemmon and on the extensive knowledge base at the University of Arizona to deliver educational adventures.
  • SuperiorBoyce Thompson Arboretum State ParkDiscover the intricate beauty and many faces of Arizona’s oldest and largest botanical garden. Featured are plants from the world’s deserts, towering trees, captivating cacti, sheer mountain cliffs, a streamside forest, panoramic vistas, many natural habitats with varied wildlife, a desert lake, a hidden canyon, specialty gardens highlighted by a Children’s Garden where kids can explore a maze, dig for buried treasure and enjoy the sites, sounds and smells. This garden has something for all ages – Lots of hiking trails and a Visitor’s Center – Guided tours available.
  • SuperiorWorld’s Smallest Museum“One of Arizona’s Finest Roadside Attractions on Historic US 60!”
  • TempeBig Surf Water Park Featuring the Waikiki Wave Pool – the 3rd largest wave pool in the United States containing over 2 million gallons of water with waves reaching up to four feet. Other attractions include Hurricane Falls, Kiluea Cove Slides, Cyclone Slide, Tsunami Slide, Tornado Twisters, Abyss Black Hole (Dark) Slide) Avalanche (White Serpentine Tubing Ride), Tahitian Twister Slides, Captains Cook’s Landing (toddler play zone) & Bora Bora Bay & Slides (Kool Kid Zone).
  • TempeFiddlesticks Family Fun Parkfeaturing Miniature Golf (2 courses), Go-Karts, Bumper Boats, 3 Kiddie Rides (Rookie Go-Karts, Flying Dragon, Miner Mike Roller Coaster), Batting Cages, Driving Range & Interactive Video Arcade
  • TempeGameworkslocated in the Arizona Mills Mall
  • TempeHalle Heart Children’s MuseumA one-of-a-kind museum designed completely around the heart. A visit to the museum will illuminate the function of the heart, its role in the body, and ways to keep it healthy. Discover the fascinating and prominent position the heart holds in the body. It’s free, it’s fun and it’s fantastic!
  • TempeKiwanis Park Recreation Center/Indoor Wave Poolfeaturing a 127′ long and 15′ tall double spiral water slide – 3′ waves – raft and tube rentals available
  • TempePump It Up – The Inflatable Party Zone
  • TempeSea Life Arizona AquariumGrand Opening May 14, 2010
  • TempeTempe History Museum
  • TempeTempe Splash Playground @ Tempe Beach ParkExperience a small storm, even when the weather is sunny and warm. Kids can cool off while having fun at this one-acre water playground. The entrance features a metal circle of clouds that rains a light mist of water onto visitors. Thunder claps and lightning flashes. Waterfalls turn into streams and water rushes into canals. Children can enjoy running through the “ocean”, shooting water cannons, standing under waterfalls, riding toy whales and going down the kiddie waterslide. Only about two inches of water will pool in parts of the park. The water is kept flowing across the playground, where it is eventually collected, filtered, cleaned, and re-circulated in a state-of-the-art system.
  • Three PointsKitt Peak National Observatory Visitor Center & MuseumThe world’s largest collection of optical telescopes is located high above the Sonoran Desert under some of the finest night skies in the world. Kitt Peak, on the Tohono O’odham Reservation, is home to twenty-four optical and two radio telescopes representing eight astronomical research institutions.
  • TombstoneGood Enough Mine Underground Tourlink to an interesting story about this attraction
  • TombstoneTombstone Attractions & ToursBilled as “The World’s Most Famous Western Town” – Lots to see and do here – starting with 7 museums including the O.K. Corral & Historama Multimedia Presentation, Western Heritage Museum plus Stunt Shows, Gunfights & Helldorado Town which features Fun for the whole family including a Free petting zoo, shooting gallery, 19-hole Miniature Golf course, entrance to Helldorado Mavericks comedy stunt gunfight and to Texas Kate’s Wild West Show! – Lots of Historic sites as well such as Boothill Graveyard and Fairbank Ghost Town – Also you can take a walking tour on the streets of Tombstone with real ghost hunters and learn of it’s amazing past. Then help investigate the O.K. Corral! The tour PREFERRED by Ghost Hunters and History Buffs!
  • Tortilla FlatTortilla Flat TownsiteAn authentic remnant of an old west town, nestled in the midst of the Tonto National Forest, Superstition Mountain Range featuring a historic Restaurant, Saloon, Stage Stop, original Schoolhouse Museum, Post Office, Country Store, Gift Shop and more along the famous Apache Trail
  • TucsonArcade-In-A-Box Gaming Center
  • TucsonArizona-Sonora Desert MuseumThe Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum is a world-renowned zoo, natural history museum and botanical garden, all in one place!
  • TucsonFlandrau Science Center & Planetariumlocated on the University of Arizona campus – features include a Planetarium, Observatory, Mineral Museum, UA Science Center & Exhibit Hall – highlighted by the new “Mars, Up Close and Personal” exhibit – the world’s largest known three dimensional, scaled reproduction of the Martian surface.
  • TucsonFuntastics Family Fun Park – featuring Atlantis Laser Tag, Go-Karts, Rookie Go-Karts (for the lil’ ones), Bumper Boats, Miniature Golf (2 courses), Batting Cages, Kiddie Land, Air Bounce Jump Castle, Carousel, Miner Mike Roller Coaster, Video Arcade & Redemption Center including skee ball and air hockey
  • TucsonGadsden-Pacific Toy Train Operating MuseumAn interactive museum of operating toy train layouts and displays.
  • Tucson Golf N’ Stuff featuring Miniature Golf (2 courses), Lit’l Indy Raceway Go Karts, Bumper Boats, Laser Tag, Batting Cages, “The Rock” Climber, Interactive Video Arcade & Redemption Center
  • TucsonInternational Wildlife MuseumThis museum highlights over 400 species of insects, mammals and birds from around the globe – Some of the collections are more than 100 years old. All dioramas depicting wild animals in their natural settings, videos, interactive computers, and hands-on exhibits promote wildlife appreciation and conservation.
  • TucsonOld Tucson Studios Western Frontier Village and Theme Park
  • TucsonPima Air & Space MuseumPima Air & Space Museum, where history takes flight, is one of the largest air and space museums in the world, and the largest non-government funded aviation museum. Within 80 acres you’ll see more than 300 aircraft and spacecraft including many of the most historically significant and technically advanced craft ever produced, both from the United States and throughout the world.
  • TucsonPump It Up – The Inflatable Party Zone
  • TucsonReid Park Zoo – featuring Kenya Get Wet (an interactive wet play area), Wild Ideas hands-on exhibits in the Learning Center and the Reid Park Zoo Express Train
  • TucsonTanque Verde Swap MeetAside from this large 30-acre swap meet and Farmer’s Market, there’s also a kid’s amusement area that features a vintage 1940’s merry-go-round, kiddie rides, jumping castle, little theater and Koi pond.
  • TucsonT-Rex Museuma very cool, unique and award-winning interactive ‘hands-on’ dinosaur museum – check out the updated location information on their website
  • TucsonTrail Dust Townoriginally constructed as a movie set with wooden boardwalks and red brick streets, they now feature several attractions suitable for adults and children of all ages. There is no better place in Tucson to enjoy a delicious meal and spend an evening with the family. Enjoy a miniature train ride on the CP Huntington Railroad, visit the Museum of the Horse Soldier (impressive collection of US Cavalry artifacts), enjoy the Wild West Stunt Show, take a spin on the Historic 1920’s Fiesta Del Presidio Carousel , test your marksmanship at the interactive Rifle Saloon Shooting Gallery, check out Diablo’s Gold Arcade or try your hand at Gold Panning at Pinnacle Peak
  • TucsonTucson Botanical Gardens16 different themed gardens featuring a Children’s Discovery Garden, Butterfly Garden and Garden Railway highlighted by an operating model miniature train complete with town, waterfalls and luscious scenery – all spread out over well maintained meandering pathways.
  • TucsonTucson Children’s Museum Special features and exhibits include “Ocean Discovery Center”, “Dinosaur World”, “The Art Studio ” and “Farmers Market”.
  • VailColossal Cave Mountain ParkCave Tours, Trail Rides, Riding Stables, 2 Museums
  • ValentineKeepers of The Wild Nature Park Exotic Animal Sanctuary dedicated to the rescuing and rehabilitation of neglected or abused exotic animals offering tours and educational programs.
  • ValleFlintstones Bedrock City Theme ParkHere’s a 2nd info & review Link
  • VallePlanes of Fame Air Museum
  • WillcoxApple Annie’s Orcharda family farm offering weekday field trips and weekend family events – enjoy a hayride to the U-Pick orchards
  • WilliamsBearizona Drive-Thru Wildlife ParkOpens May 22, 2010Experience animal wildlife the way it was meant to be, in a natural environment, all from the comfort and safety of your own vehicle. Featuring a wide variety of wildlife that includes majestic Bison, Big Horn Sheep, Arctic & Gray Wolves, stealthy Mountain Lions, adorable bear cubs and much more.
  • WilliamsGrand Canyon Deer Farm – Roam among the deer and enjoy  this expansive petting zoo also featuring Reindeer, Wallabies, Mini Cattle, Coatimundis, Marmosets, Talking Birds and, new as of this year, a Baby Camel and two Baby Bison.
  • WilliamsGrand Canyon Railway – Enjoy historic train travel on one of four classes of service on vintage trains from Williams to the South Rim of Grand Canyon National Park . Be entertained by cowboy characters, enjoy the tunes of strolling musicians, and be part of a mock train robbery as train travel from the early 1900’s is recreated during the scenic 65-mile journey to the canyon. During the holidays, take a memorable family excursion to the “North Pole” to visit Santa on the Polar Express that your little ones won’t soon forget.
  • WilliamsRedlake Junction Railroad – 1.5″ scale trains you can actually ride on – pulled by a real Steam Locomotive – Fun for the whole family!
  • Window RockThe Navajo Nation Zoological & Botanical ParkAdmission is FREE!
  • WinslowMeteor Crater“The Most Well-Known, Best Preserved Meteorite Crater On Earth!” – Nearly one mile across, 2.4 miles in circumference and more than 550 feet deep. This is an international tourist venue with outdoor Observation Trails, air-conditioned indoor viewing, wide screen Movie Theater, interactive Discovery Center, unique gift and rock shop, and Astronaut Memorial Park at the modern Visitor Center located on the Crater Rim.
  • YumaRoxaboxen ParkThis unique Park memorializes the beloved and internationally known children’s story entitled “Roxaboxen” by author Alice McLerran (now published in 7 languages). This true story is based on the adventures of the author’s mother and fellow Roxaboxenites as they grew up in Yuma in the early part of the last century. These children created the make-believe town of “Roxaboxen” from rocks, boxes, and lots of imagination. Even today, you can find neighborhood children making little rock and box houses with imagination as their only mortar.
  • YumaThe Camel FarmVisit a working farm specializing in the breeding of Arabian (one-humped) camels and other exotic and unusual animals and birds.
  • YumaYuma Fun Factory featuring go-karts, bumper boats, 2 miniature-golf courses, large video arcade & redemption center – Enjoy console game systems on a huge 148″ HDTV. CLOSED as of Apr/2010 ….. UPDATED Oct/2011….. check out this Yuma Sun newspaper article dated 9/14/2011 ….. UNDER NEW OWNERSHIP & SOON TO REOPEN WITH A WATER PARK BEING ADDED ….. HERE’S THE NEWEST LINK
  • YumaZPS Miniature Golffeaturing Indoor Mini Golf plus “Cosmic” Glow-In-The-Dark Miniature Golf – Facebook Page link

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Aquatic Centers, Splash Parks, Spray Pads & Water Playgrounds

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Venues With Several Locations in Arizona

  • Chuck E Cheese – Locations in Glendale, Goodyear, Mesa (2), Phoenix (3), Tucson & Yuma

Fun Family Attractions In British Columbia

Are you looking for some fun adventures or activities to enjoy with the whole family when boredom strikes or on you next excursion, vacation, weekend getaway or day trip in British Columbia? There is definitely no shortage of things to do in the lower BC mainland or Vancouver Island that the whole family can enjoy together. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, you’ve come to the right place for a preview of what’s out there to enjoy with the kids.

With Spring just around the corner as well as Spring Break just ahead, temperatures are on the rise and families are now beginning to plan ahead for the warmer months of stuff to do and places to go with the kids and family. Here you will find a fairly comprehensive directory and guide to family oriented adventures, amusements and fun attractions in British Columbia. The following listings include, but are not necessarily limited to, amusement parks, family fun centers, water parks, wildlife parks, zoos, aquariums, guided tours, “hands-on” interactive children’s museums, kid activity centers, family-oriented museums , exceptional parks, go-karts, train rides, miniature golf, larger arcades, ticket redemption centers, “soft-play” (bounce house type) play centers, a few lazer tag arenas, a few exceptional paintball arenas, a few aquatic centers that feature waterslides or water features, caverns that offer tours, winter resorts that offer snow-play attractions, and also unusual or unique attractions that may be geared towards kids or those that may appeal to all ages within the family or group. I’m also fully aware that there are bound to be additional attractions out there that I may not be aware of yet but would appreciate your input in letting me know those favorites of yours that I haven’t included yet. None-the-less, this should give you a decent selection of  places to check out before planning your next weekend getaway, road trip or family vacation.

I strongly encourage you to check out the individual attraction’s websites before planning a visit as quite a few of these listings are seasonal and subject to reduced hours  or days open – also there are a few requiring appointments or reservations in advance. Most will charge an admission or entrance fee… bearing in mind that virtually every one of these do have overhead expenses that keep them in business, or operating properly – while some are non-profit and depend upon public support (suggested donations) or funding of some sort to keep their doors open.  A few are even free of charge or have discounted admission days or times.

This will be an on-going update for the next few weeks… or longer… as time allows for me to continue verifying information and adding more.

Any omissions you may find or suggestions are welcome and encouraged as this will be continuously updated for quite some time yet.

Get out there and enjoy some of these with your family and/or friends! :)

* You should find these to be quite accurate and up-to-date (as of  March/2010) as I have personally verified each and every website individually before their inclusion in this post.

BC Mainland Attractions (Southern BC)

Planet Lazer – Laser Tag Play Centers located in Abbotsford, Burnaby, Kelowna, Langley, New Westminster, Richmond, and opening soon in Surrey and Victoria

Vancouver Island Attractions

Northern BC Attractions

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*** More attractions are always being added so keep checking back from time to time. Also, your suggestions about missing or left-out “family-type” amusements and attractions are always welcome. Please drop me a comment.

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More Fun Family Attractions can be found in the link(s) below:

Includes family attractions in the states of Oregon, Washington & Idaho


Fun Family Attractions In The Pacific Northwest

Are you looking for some fun adventures or activities to enjoy with the whole family when boredom strikes or on you next excursion, vacation, weekend getaway or day trip in Oregon, Washington or Idaho? There is definitely no shortage of things to do in the Pacific Northwest that the whole family can enjoy together. Whether you’re a local or just visiting, you’ve come to the right place for a preview of what’s out there to enjoy with the kids. Here you will find a fairly comprehensive directory and guide to family oriented adventures, amusements and attractions in the Pacific Northwest. The following listings include, but are not necessarily limited to, amusement parks, family fun centers, water parks, wildlife parks, zoos aquariums, guided tours, “hands-on” interactive children’s museums, kid’s activity centers, family-oriented museums, exceptional parks, go-karts, train rides, miniature golf, larger arcades, ticket redemption centers, “soft-play” (bounce house type) indoor play centers, a few laser tag arenas, a few exceptional paintball arenas, a few aquatic centers that feature waterslides or water features, caverns that offer tours, winter resorts that offer snow-play attractions, and also unusual or unique attractions that may be geared towards kids or those that may appeal to all ages within the family or group. I’m also fully aware that there are bound to be additional attractions out there that I may not be aware of yet but would appreciate your input in letting me know those favorites of yours that I haven’t included yet. None-the-less, this should give you a decent selection of  places to check out before planning your next weekend getaway, road trip or family vacation.

I strongly encourage you to check out the individual attraction’s websites before planning a visit as quite a few of these listings are seasonal and subject to reduced hours  or days open – also there are a few requiring appointments or reservations in advance. Most will charge an admission or entrance fee… bearing in mind that virtually every one of these do have overhead expenses that keep them in business, or operating properly – while some are non-profit and depend upon public support (suggested donations) or funding of some sort to keep their doors open.  A few are even free of charge or have discounted admission days or times.

This will be an on-going update for the next few weeks… or longer… as time allows for me to continue verifying information and adding more.

Any omissions you may find or suggestions are welcome and encouraged as this will be continuously updated for quite some time yet.

Get out there and enjoy some of these with your family and/or friends! 🙂

*You should find these to be quite accurate and up-to-date (as of mid-February/2010) as I have personally verified each and every website individually before their inclusion in this post.


Idaho – Fun Family Attractions

Oregon – Fun Family Attractions

* Oregon Skateboard Parks – Skate Oregon

Washington – Fun Family Attractions

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*** More attractions are always being added so keep checking back from time to time. Also, your suggestions about missing or left-out “family-type” amusements and attractions are always welcome. Please drop me a comment.

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More Fun Family Attractions can be found in the link(s) below:

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Amusingly Clever License Plates

license-plates-cleverIn the amusing world of license plates out there, it’s simply amazing how many people try to “outwit” the officials down there at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), no matter what state you’re registered in, some opt for personal or vanity plates while others try to push there ingenuity and luck to get there “statement” on their car’s license-plate-PL8Slicense plate. Some states are more stringent than others on what they’ll allow to pass through. To circumvent potentially offensive or embarrassing situations, some combination of letters/numbers aren’t allowed at all in certain states. What does occasionally does get through can simply be amusing, sometimes unintentional, but can make for some funny antidotes. Some individuals try to use the latest chat lingo or shorthand tricks, while others will try to pass through some geeky text or binary codes on state officials.  On occasion the most amusing, hilarious, or at times embarrassing ones are those that are accidental, like when the DMV just randomly assigns some poor soul a combination of letters or numbers that just shouldn’t be together. There are a few Canadian as well as European plates included here also for your enjoyment.

Sometimes these restrictions tend to go a little overboard, according to this one particular site, apparently, California plates can’t even contain the letters POW, BAD, or even FUN.

Here for your viewing pleasure are some thought-provoking, clever, always amusing or entertaining, and funny license plates.

PS – BE FOREWARNED –> Some of these maybe tasteless and/or offensive but they’re out there none-the-less 😛

license-plate-OU812

license-plate-L8ASUSL

license-plate-GLDDGR

license-plate-MUF DVR

license-plate-GOTMILF

license-plate-CHILLNN

license-plate-OK2DRUL

license-plate-A55ORGY

license-plate-DRANGED

license-plate-UDIDNOT

license-plate-THESPY

license-plate-ILV2EAT

license-plate-eatthekidsfirst

license-plate-stfu

license-plate-SATAN

license-plate-PMS247

license-plate-H8MYWIF

license-plate-ILUVMYBUT

license-plate-OKYDOKY

license-plate-LTLGUY

license-plate-HUGE

license-plate-JAGROAR

license-plate-HIOFCER

license-plate-IDIOT

license-plate-METALLICA

license-plate-OMGSTFU

license-plate-VA6TMY

license-plate-MLFHNTR

license-plate-HERBOX

license-plate-MYSLUT

license-plate-GOD666

license-plate-G5POT

license-plate-AARRR

license-plate-YER2SLO

license-plate-FOPEC

license-plate-DROPDED

license-plate-ILUVANL

license-plate-CUM4YOU

license-plate-RU8TEEN

license-plate-SLZBAG

license-plate-TBAGGR

license-plate-TIMMAY

license-WTFMATE

license-plate-U8RDUST

license-plate-AGDBRBN

license-plate-IMEASY

license-plate-STOPLAFN

license-plate-HLFPINT

license-plate-WOHNELI

license-plate-IMACAR

license-plate-COPB8

license-MANOPOZ

license-plate-BKRPTCY

license-plate-IHEAL

license-plate-IAMLATE

license-plate-NERD

license-plate-H8MEAT

License-Plate-HOR5SH1T

license-plate-BLONDupsidedown

license-plate-LVCANAL

license-plate-NOPANTIES

license-plate-VAGINAS

license-pllate-GIVEMEA

license-plate-370H55Vupsidedown

license-plate-ORALSEXbackwards

Talk about clever! - The insert is the view from the rear view mirror

license-plate-ILUVCOPS

This one's PRICELESS!

license-plate-WASHIS

miscellaneous collection

Best National & State Parks In The USA

lush_winding_road,_olympic_national_park,_washingtonThere’s so much to see and do throughout the United States without spending a fortune to enjoy it. Now, more than ever in these leaner times, is the best opportunity to get out and enjoy some of our magnificent park and recreation areas. You don’t even need to plan a cross country trip (even though there is a temptation to plan for a future road trip) to be able to get away for a week or two (or at least a long weekend)  to enjoy the great outdoors with the family. Check out some of the featured parks below within your area. Links (directly to each site) are provided for each listing for more detailed information.

Best National Parks In The USA

 

Acadia National Park  (Maine)

acadia-national-park-maine2
Acadia National Park was the First National Park East of the Mississippi River. People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park. The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the Atlantic coast in the US. Today visitors come to Acadia to hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.

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Arches National Park  (Utah)

arches-national-park-utah

Arches National Park preserves over 2,000 natural sandstone arches, like the world-famous Delicate Arch, as well as many other unusual rock formations. In some areas, the forces of nature have exposed millions of years of geologic history. The extraordinary features of the park create a landscape of contrasting colors, landforms and textures that is unlike any other in the world.

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Carlsbad Caverns  (New Mexico)

carlsbad-carverns-new-mexico

As you pass through the Chihuahuan Desert and Guadalupe Mountains of southeastern New Mexico and west Texas—filled with prickly pear, chollas, sotols and agaves—you might never guess there are more than 300 known caves beneath the surface. The park contains 113 of these caves, formed when sulfuric acid dissolved the surrounding limestone, creating some of the largest caves in North America.

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Cuyahoga Valley National Park  (Ohio)

cuyahoga-valley-national-park-ohio

One of America’s newest national parks is the Cuyahoga Valley National Park. Though it’s only a short distance from the urban environments of Cleveland and Akron, Cuyahoga Valley National Park seems worlds away. The winding Cuyahoga—the “crooked river” as named by American Indians—gives way to deep forests, rolling hills, and open farmlands. The park currently contains 133,000 acres, and within its borders features the Cuyahoga River and its valley and gorge, the Ohio and Erie Canal and Towpath Trail, city and county parkland, many buildings and historical elements, a railroad, hiking, bridle, and bicycle trails. The park is a refuge for flora and fauna, gives a sense of times past, and provides recreational opportunities and solitude for Ohio’s residents and visitors.

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Death Valley National Park  (California)

death-valley-national-park-california

Death Valley National Park is a “Land of Extremes” – The Hottest, The Driest, The Lowest – A superlative desert of streaming sand dunes, snow-capped mountains, multicolored rock layers, water-fluted canyons and 3 million acres of wilderness. Home to the Timbisha Shoshone and to plants and animals unique to the harshest desert. Death Valley National Park is the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere and one of the hottest places in the world. It is also a vast geological museum, containing examples of most of the earth’s geological eras. Death Valley National Park includes all of Death Valley, a 130-mile-long north/south-trending trough that formed between two major block-faulted mountain ranges: the Amargosa Range on the east and the Panamint Range on the west. Telescope Peak, the highest peak in the Park and in the Panamint Mountains, rises 11,049 feet above sea level and lies only 15 miles from the lowest point in the United States in the Badwater Basin salt pan, 282 feet below sea level. It’s three million acres of wilderness and rich cultural history make it a lifetime’s work to explore all that the valley has to offer.

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Denali National Park  (Alaska)

denali-national-park-alaska

Denali National Park & Preserve features North America’s highest mountain, 20,320-foot tall, Denali (as Alaskans call it) or Mount McKinley. The Alaska Range also includes countless other spectacular mountains and many large glaciers. Denali’s more than 6 million acres also encompass a complete sub-arctic eco-system with large mammals such as grizzly bears, wolves, Dall sheep, and moose.

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Everglades National Park  (Florida)

everglades-national-park-florida-mangrove-trees

everglades-national-park-floridaEverglades National Park, the largest subtropical wilderness in the United States, boasts rare and endangered species. It has been designated a World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve, and Wetland of International Importance, significant to all people of the world. Unlike most other U.S. national parks, Everglades National Park was created to protect a fragile ecosystem instead of safeguarding a geographic feature. Thirty-six species designated as threatened or protected live in the park, including the Florida Panther, the American Crocodile, and the West Indian Manatee. Protecting the largest U.S. wilderness area east of the Mississippi River, the park is the most significant breeding ground for tropical wading birds in North America, and contains the largest mangrove eco-system in the western hemisphere. More than 350 species of birds, 300 species of fresh and saltwater fish, 40 species of mammals, and 50 species of reptiles live within Everglades National Park.

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Glacier National Park  (Montana)

glacier-national-park-montana

Bordering Alberta, Canada, come and experience Glacier’s pristine forests, alpine meadows, rugged mountains, waterfalls and spectacular lakes. With over 700 miles of trails, Glacier is a hiker’s paradise for adventurous visitors seeking wilderness and solitude. Relive the days of old through historic chalets, lodges, transportation, and stories of Native Americans. Coniferous forest is the predominant eco-system, although the forest is visibly different on the east and west sides of the Continental Divide. Trails wind through sub-alpine meadows full of wildflowers and alpine tundras. The park is one of the largest remaining natural grizzly habitats. In addition, the park is also home to two other endangered species – the Canadian Lynx and the Bull Trout. 23 species of fish live in park waters. Birdwatchers will find many species of waterfowl in addition to larger birds of prey, including bald eagles. Coniferous forest is the predominant ecosystem, although the forest is visibly different on the east and west sides of the Continental Divide. Trails wind through sub-alpine meadows full of wildflowers and alpine tundras.

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Grand Canyon National Park  (Arizona)

grand-canyon-national-park-arizona

grand-canyonGrand Canyon National Park, a World Heritage Site, encompasses 1,218,375 acres and lies on the Colorado Plateau in northwestern Arizona. The land is semi-arid and consists of raised plateaus and structural basins typical of the southwest. Drainage systems have cut deeply through the rock, forming numerous steep-walled canyons. Forests are found at higher elevations while the lower elevations are comprised of a series of desert basins.

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Grand Teton National Park  (Wyoming)

grand-teton-national-park-wyoming

Located in northwestern Wyoming, Grand Teton National Park preserves a spectacular landscape rich with majestic mountains, pristine lakes and extraordinary wildlife. The abrupt vertical rise of the jagged Teton Range contrasts with the horizontal sage-covered valley and glacial lakes at their base, creating world-renowned scenery that attracts nearly four million visitors per year.

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Hawaii Volcanoes National Park  (Hawaii) 

hawaii-volcanoes-national-park

kilaueaHawaii Volcanoes, located on the “Big Island” of Hawaii, encompasses 209,695 acres and an astoundingly diverse landscape. The park highlights two of the world’s most active volcanoes. The altitude in the park ranges from sea level to the summit of the earth’s most massive volcano, 13,677-foot Mauna Loa. Kilauea, the world’s most active volcano, offers insights on the birth of the Hawaiian Islands and views of dramatic volcanic landscapes. Arid deserts exist within a few miles of lush rainforests and tropical wildlife. Breathtaking views abound in natural splendor and glory and beckon the adventurous explorer.

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Mesa Verde National  Park  (Colorado)

mesa-verde-national-park-colorado

Mesa Verde, Spanish for green table, offers a spectacular look into the lives of the Ancestral Pueblo people who made it their home for over 700 years, from A.D. 600 to A.D. 1300. Today, the park protects over 4,000 known archeological sites, including 600 spectacular cliff dwellings – structures built within caves and under outcroppings in cliffs, including Cliff Palace, which is thought to be the largest cliff dwelling in North America. These sites are some of the most notable and best preserved in the United States.

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Mount Rushmore National Monument  (South Dakota)

mount-rushmore-national-monument-south-dakota

Mount Rushmore National Memorial is host to almost three million visitors a year from across the country and around the world. They come to marvel at the majestic beauty of the Black Hills and to learn about the ideals of democracy and freedom represented by the granite portraits of Washington, Jefferson, T. Roosevelt, and Lincoln. Over the decades, Mount Rushmore has grown in fame as a symbol of America-a symbol of freedom and democracy and a hope for people from all cultures and backgrounds.

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Olympic National Park  (Washington)

olympic-national-park-washington

Olympic_NPA Land of Contrasts and Variety – Here you will find Pacific Ocean beaches, rain forest valleys, glacier-capped peaks and a stunning variety of plants and animals. Roads provide access to the outer edges of the park, but the heart of Olympic is wilderness – a primeval sanctuary for humans and wild creatures alike. It provides habitat for many species, like the Roosevelt Elk, that are native only to the Pacific Northwest coast. Enormous Sitka spruce and Douglas fir, hundreds of feet high, can be found in the Hoh and Queets rain forest valleys on the west side of the park. Thick, furry, epiphyte moss and dense, vibrant vegetation give a beautiful environment in these unique temperate rain forests, which receive fifteen feet of rain per year on average from the nearby Pacific Ocean.

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Rocky Mountain National Park  (Colorado)

rocky-mountain-national-park-colorado

This park is a living showcase of the grandeur of the Rocky Mountains. The elevations range from 8,000′ in the wet, grassy valleys to 14,259′ at the weather-ravaged top of Longs Peak. This provides visitors with opportunities for breathtaking adventures.The park is split by the Continental Divide, which gives the eastern and western portions of the park a different character. The east side of the park tends to be drier, with heavily glaciated peaks and cirques. The west side of the park is wetter and more lush.

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Smoky Mountains National Park  (Tennessee/North Carolina)

smoky-mountain-national-park

Smoky_Mountain_NPGreat Smoky Mountains National Park preserves a rich cultural tapestry of Southern Appalachian history. The mountains have had a long human history spanning thousands of years—from the prehistoric Paleo Indians to early European settlement in the 1800s to loggers and Civilian Conservation Corps enrollees in the 20th century. This park strives to protect the historic structures, landscapes, and artifacts that tell the varied stories of people who once called these mountains home.

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Yellowstone National Park  (Wyoming/Montana/Idaho)

Majestic Mountains Water Reflection Trees Hd Wallpapers 1080p

Old_Faithful_YellowstoneEstablished in 1872, Yellowstone National Park is America’s first national park. Located in Wyoming, Montana, and Idaho, it is home to a large variety of wildlife including grizzly bears, wolves, bison, and elk. Preserved within Yellowstone National Park are Old Faithful and a collection of the world’s most extraordinary geysers and hot springs, and the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone.

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Yosemite National Park  (California)

yosemite-national-park-california

yosemite-np-half-domeYosemite is home to nearly 2,000 varieties of plants and animals, including giant sequoias. Yosemite’s geology is world renowned for its tall waterfalls and granite rocks. American Indians also have called Yosemite home for perhaps 8,000 years, and along with early pioneers and guardians, have left behind a rich history.

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Zion National Park  (Utah)

zion-national-park-utah

In 1909, U.S. President  Taft named the area a National monument  under the name of Mukuntuweap National Monument. However, in 1918, the changed the park’s name to Zion. A prominent feature of the 229-square-mile park is Zion Canyon, 15 miles long and up to half a mile deep, cut through the reddish and tan-colored Navajo Sandstone by the Virgin River. Located at the junction of the Colorado Plateau, Great Basin, and Mojave Desert regions, this unique geography and variety of life zones allow for unusual plant and animal diversity.

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Best State Parks In The USA

 

Alaska – Chugach State Park

Chugach State Park and Beaver PondBeyond the foothills at Anchorage’s edge lies the third largest state park in USA.  A 500,000 acres of some of the most accessible hiking, skiing, camping, wildlife viewing, snowmachining, rafting, and climbing in Alaska. Those of us lucky enough to live here feel the influence of Chugach State Park almost daily. The mountainous backdrop to Anchorage reminds us that, although we live in an urban setting, we really reside in the middle of a vast wilderness. The Chugach foothills are a beacon for changing weather and resident wildlife have been known to wander into town.

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Florida – St Joseph Peninsula State Park

St_Joseph_Peninsula_state_parkSt. Joseph Peninsula Park has  striking dune formations, miles of virgin white sand beaches, and a heavily forested interior. Dr. Beach once rated this beach as the best beach in America. This 2,516-acre park is bounded by the waters of St. Joe Bay and the Gulf of Mexico. Dynamic and dramatic views abound for miles.

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California Big Basin Redwoods State Park

BIg_Basin_Redwoods_State_ParkEstablished in 1902, Big Basin is California’s oldest State Park. Home to the largest continuous stand of Ancient Coast Redwoods south of San Francisco, the park consists of over 18,000 acres of Old Growth and recovering Redwood Forest, with mixed conifer, oaks, chaparral, and riparian habitats. Elevations in the park vary from sea level to over 2,000 feet. The climate ranges from foggy and damp near the ocean to sunny, warm ridge tops.

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Oregon Sunset Bay State Park

Sunset_Bay_State_ParkSituated in one of the most scenic areas on the Oregon coast, Sunset Bay State Park features beautiful sandy beaches protected by towering sea cliffs. Only a short walk from the beach, the campground has sites for tent camping and RV’s, as well as cozy and comfortable yurts. Day-use and picnic facilities are located along the bay to allow easy access for beachcombing, fishing, swimming, and boating.

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Florida John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park

Coral_Reef_State_Park_FloridaJohn Pennekamp  is the nation’s first underwater park. Formed in the 1960’s, Pennekamp Park represents over hundred square miles of mangrove shoreline, grass flats, and of course our famous coral reef. Adjacent to Pennekamp is the Key Largo National Marine Sanctuary.

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Utah Wasatch Mountain State Park

wasatch_mountain_utahWasatch Mountain State Park is in beautiful Heber Valley and is Utah’s most developed state park. Tucked away in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains, the park is both a summer and winter destination. One of Utah’s finest and affordable 36-hole golf courses is found here.  Soldier Hollow at Wasatch Mountain State Park was the 2002 Olympic Winter venue biathlon and cross-country events. Soldier Hollow is open year-round to the public for cross-country skiing, tubing, biathlon, snowshoeing,  and many more events.

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New Hampshire – Franconia Notch State Park

Franconia_Notch_State_ParkFranconia Notch State Park is located in the heart of the popular White Mountain National Forest. Franconia Notch is a spectacular mountain pass traversed by a unique parkway which extends from the Flume Gorge at the south to Echo Lake at the north.  Franconia Notch was once the home of the famous Old Man of the Mountain, the same “Great Stone Face” immortalized by Nathaniel Hawthorne and Daniel Webster. While you are here, visit the Flume Gorge Visitor Center and walk through Flume Gorge, ride the aerial tramway at Cannon Mountain, and explore the New England Ski Museum. Also, you can swim at Echo Lake, net a trout while fly fishing at Profile Lake, ride your bike on the Recreational Trail, watch for rock climbers, hawks, and falcons on Cannon Cliffs, or hike on the Appalachian Trail.

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Tennessee – Fall Creek Falls State Resort Park

Fall_Creek_FallsFall Creek Falls State Resort Park is one of the most scenic and spectacular recreation areas in America. Its waterfalls, cascades, sparkling streams,  timberland, gorges and an unmatched variety of recreation facilities. Fall Creek Falls is one of the highest waterfalls east of the Rockies, plunging 256 feet into a shaded pool at the base of its gorge.

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Texas – Palo Duro Canyon State Park

Palo_Duro_Canyon_State_Park_TexasLocated about an hour’s drive from Amarillo lies the grandeur of Palo Duro Canyon, a  sixty mile-long and eight hundred foot-deep canyon carved out of the Texas High Plains. Visitors to 16,402-acre Palo Duro Canyon State Park are treated to towering cliffs layered with bands of red, yellow, purple and white. Patches of juniper, mesquite, sunflower and prickly pear cacti adorn the canyon slopes, while red clay and veins of white gypsum blanket the ground.

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Michigan – Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

porcupine-wilderness-parkPorcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is over 60,000 acres  and is  one of the few remaining large wilderness areas in the Midwest. Towering virgin timber, secluded lakes, and miles of wild rivers and streams make a visit to the “Porkies” a trip to remember.  This park Park was established in 1945. Since then, many changes have taken place in the way we live; however, the Porcupine Mountains are almost unchanged. The remote interior with its towering pine and hemlock seems to defy time, and the solitude of the park is mysterious and exciting.

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Check out more travel-related posts (all within this website):

►50 Most Popular Tourist Attractions In The World

►Most Popular US Attractions: State By State

►Remembering Lost & Forgotten Roadside Tourist Attractions & Amusement Parks On The West Coast

40 Best Road Trip Movies of All Time

Road_Trip_logoEver find yourself in the mood for a great road trip type movie and not quite sure where to start looking for one that appeals to you. There have been several of them over the years, all with various storylines and undertones. The list below represents a very wide selection of films from the early days of Clark Gable and Claudette Colbert in the 1934 classic “It Happened One Night”, a road show classic of Bing Crosby and Bob Hope in 1947’s Road To Rio, Stanley Kramer’s madcap, all-star cast, cross-country adventure of “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” from 1962, as well as the legendary Easy Rider of 1969 through the 70’s cult favorite Death Race 2000 starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone. Cannonball Run, Smokey and The Bandit, Mad Max, Planes Trains and Automobiles, Thelma and Louise, road_trip_imageCheech and Chong antics in Things Are Tough All Over, more powerful dramas of Boys On The Side, Rain Man, Paper Moon, The Straight Story and The Bucket List – outrageous college frat-party type movies like Road Trip and EuroTrip – And the insanity of Dumb And Dumber and Tommy Boy. They’re all here with brief overviews as well as who stars in the film. Should be something here for everybody and for every mood. Enjoy 🙂

almost_famous_dvd_coverAlmost Famous (2000)

starring Billy Crudup, Frances McDormand, Kate Hudson

Fifteen-year-old avid rock fan William lands an assignment from Rolling Stone to accompany a fledgling band from Michigan called Stillwater on their first tour. As he becomes more involved with the band members, he loses his objectivity and is soon entangled in the infamous 70’s rock scene. The adventure teaches him a life-changing lesson about the importance of family — the ones we inherit, and the ones we create.boys_on_the_side_dvd

Boys On The Side (1995)

starring Whoopi Goldberg, Mary-Louise Parker, Drew Barrymore

The story of three women, one dying of AIDS, who share a car trip across the country. Each has memories she’d like to forget and circumstances she’d like to change. Over the course of their trip, they become friends, joining together to form a makeshift family.

breakdown_dvdBreakdown (1997)

starring Kurt Russell, JT Walsh, Kathleen Quinlan

A couple is driving from Massachusetts to California when their jeep breaks down in a desolate part of the Southwest. The wife accepts the offer of a truck driver to take her to the nearest cafe where she can call for assistance. When the husband starts the car himself, he goes to the cafe where the driver claims that he’s never met him or his wife before. The husband begins a frantic search for his missing wife.

The Bucket List (2008)Bucket_List

starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman

Corporate billionaire Edward Cole and working class mechanic Carter Chambers have nothing in common except for their terminal illnesses. While sharing a hospital room together, they decide to leave it and do all the things they have ever wanted to do before they die according to their bucket list. In the process, both of them heal each other, become unlikely friends, and ultimately find the joy in life. Again, not your traditional road trip film but highly recommended.

bustin_looseBustin’ Loose (1981)

starring Richard Pryor and Cicely Tyson

Foul-mouthed Joe (Richard Pryor) breaks his parole, but is given a chance to prove his worth by a schoolteacher (Cicely Tyson). She hires him to drive a bus full of Special School kids from Philadelphia, but Joe is a bit unnerved by their various mental problems. Soon, however, the bonds of friendship are formed and Joe wins the respect of the kids and their teacher.

Cannonball Run (1981)cannonball_run

starring Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, Farrah Fawcett

In this movie Burt Reynolds is an adventurer who decides to participate in an illegal car race all over the country. There is an all-star cast of racers (Jackie Chan, Farrah Fawcett, Peter Fonda, Dean Martin, Roger Moore, Sammy Davis Jr. and others) that will do anything to outrun all the difficulties (including the police) and win the race.

convoy_Convoy (1978)

starring Kris Kristofferson, Ali MacGraw, Ernest Borgnine

A mile-long convoy of protesting truckers speeds along the Arizona highway toward the Mexican border. The tense action builds to an incredible climax in one of the most destructive auto crash scenes ever filmed.

Death Race 2000 (1975)deathrace2000

starring David Carradine and Sylvester Stallone

In the near future the ultimate sporting event is the deathrace. Contestants get score points for running people down as they speed across the country. The sport has crazed fans who sacrifice themselves to the drivers. An overt agency is trying to bring an end to the immoral death race and has infiltrated one of their followers in to the race as a navigator. In the end of the race the lives of the competitors, the President and the deathrace itself are in peril. A Legendary cult film

Dirty_Mary_Crazy_LarryDirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974)

Starring Peter Fonda, Susan George, Adam Roarke, Vic Morrow and Roddy McDowell.

Mary and Larry are two lovers who, with Larry’s ace mechanic, rob a grocery store and flee the police with hopes of making the professional racing circuit. They are chased over hill, over vale by the cops, who deploy everything from a 426 Hemi to a helicopter to stop Larry’s Dodge Charger culminating in a memorable ending….. Fast-paced ….. Fast action.

Duel (1971)Duel_dvd

‘First Feature Film’ directed by Steven Spielberg starring Dennis Weaver

David Mann is trying to drive his car across California. When he tries to pass a gas tanker, the driver somehow takes offense. At first the unseen driver just annoys David by continually passing him and slowing down. Then he starts playing mind games with David, tempting him to pass the tanker, only to prevent him when he tries. The story is seen from David’s point of view, with commentary as he thinks to himself. Tense and riveting.

dumb_and_dumberDumb & Dumber (1994)

starring Jim Carrey, Jeff Daniels and Lauren Holly

The cross-country adventures of two good-hearted but incredibly stupid friends … For Harry and Lloyd, every day is a no-brainer. Join these two halfwits as they travel across the country to return a suitcase full of cash to its rightful owner. Along the way, they’ll confound and confuse everyone who crosses their path.

Easy Rider (1969)Easy_Rider_dvd

starring Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Jack Nicholson

Friends and partners Wyatt and Billy, both die-hard hippy bikers, score some illegal drugs in Mexico and cash in on it in Los Angeles, raising money to travel to the Mardi Grass in New Orleans. They discover what America is really like back in the days of the counterculture movement and see what intolerances exist along the way. Spectacular scenery abounds. A cult classic.

EuroTrip_dvdEuroTrip (2004)

starring Scott Mechlowicz, Jacob Pitts, Kristin Kreuk

Have you ever pressed “Send” on an e-mail and immediately wished you could get it back? Scotty Thomas and his Berlin-based computer pen pal, Mieke, have been writing each other for years, sharing every detail of their lives. When Mieke makes a ‘cyber pass’ at Scotty, he completely freaks out, thinking that this guy he’s known for years is coming on to him–in German no less. Too bad the one detail Scotty doesn’t seem to know is that, in Germany, Mieke is a girl’s name. By the time Scotty figures out that Mieke is a girl, and a hot one at that, Mieke has cut off her e-mail account and all contact with him. Thinking that this might be his one chance at true love–even though he’s never actually met the girl–Scotty and his best friends, Cooper and the twins Jenny and Jamie, embark on a raucous trip across Europe headed for Berlin. Their trek takes them from London to Paris to Amsterdam and Eastern Europe, exposing them–literally–to every lascivious, larcenous and lecherous indulgence Europe has to offer, in a comedy that gives new meaning to the phrase “foreign relations.Fandango DVD

Fandango (1985)

starring Kevin Costner, Judd Nelson and Sam Robards

A group of five college guys decide to have their last fling between graduation and the “real world” during the early ’70s, even as the sceptre of the Vietnam War, still very real, looms on their conscience.

fear_and_loathing_in_las_vegasFear & Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)

starring Johnny Depp, Benicio Del Toro and Tobey Maguire

Journalist Raoul Duke and his lawyer Dr Gonzo drive from LA to Las Vegas on a drugs binge. They nominally cover news stories, including a convention on drug abuse, but also sink deeper into a frightening psychedelic otherworld. As Vietnam, Altamont and the Tate killings impinge from the world of TV news, Duke and Gonzo see casinos, reptiles and the Amercian dream.the great race

The Great Race (1965)

starring Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Natalie Wood, Peter Falk, Keenan Wynn,

At the turn of the 20th century a host of colorful characters set out on a 20,000-mile auto race from New York to Paris, and hilarity ensues. Mayhem and double-crossing abound as some zany professional racers go up against each other in a 1908 cross-continental road race from New York to Paris. Featuring an all-star cast.

gumball_rallyGumball Rally (1976)

starring Michael Sarrazin, Norman Burton, Gary Busey

A group of wacky characters compete in an illegal auto race known as the Gumball Rally. It starts in New York and finishes in Long Beach, California with virtually no rules. It’s a hilarious coast-to-coast, 180 mile-an-hour, go-for-broke, outrageous road race with the world’s most expensive cars. And it’s all just for glory and a gumball machine.it_happened_one_night

It Happened One Night (1934)

starring Clark Gable, Claudette Colbert, Walter Connolly, Roscoe Karns, Alan Hale

A spoiled rich girl escapes from her millionaire father, who wants to stop her from marrying a worthless playboy. En route to New York, she gets involved with an out-of-work newsman. When their bus breaks down, the bickering couple sets off on a madcap hitchhiking expedition.

Its_A-Mad_Mad_Mad_Mad_WorldIt’s A Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963)

starring Spencer Tracy, Milton Berle, Sid Caesar, Buddy Hackett, Ethel Merman, Mickey Rooney, Phil Silvers, Jonathan Winters, plus many more

A Blockbuster Comedy with an incredible All-Star Cast (30+ major stars of that era) – Brilliantly simple, the plot concerns a caravan of motorists who witness a terrible accident on a very dangerous winding California desert highway. The auto-crash victim, Smiler Grogan, reveals in his dying words that he has hidden a fortune of stolen cash, sending the drivers on a greed-driven rambunctious race to see who can claim the loot first!

Little Miss Sunshine (2006)Little_Miss_Sunshine_dvd

starring Abigail Breslin, Greg Kinnear, Paul Dano, Alan Arkin, Toni Collette, Steve Carell

The Hoover family treks from Albuquerque to the Little Miss Sunshine pageant in Redondo Beach, California, to fulfill the deepest wish of 7-year-old Olive, an ordinary little girl with big dreams. Along the way the family must deal with crushed dreams, heartbreaks, and a broken-down VW bus, leading up to the surreal Little Miss Sunshine competition itself. On their travels through this bizarre landscape, the Hoovers learn to trust and support each other along the path of life, no matter what the challenge.

Lost_in_America_dvdLost In America (1985)

starring Albert Brooks, Julie Hagerty

A successful, yuppie couple in their mid thirties quit their jobs and decide to leave the everyday rat race of the real world. They liquidate their assets and take off to become ‘free spirits’ and make a soul searching journey across America in their Winnebago motorhome. Their idealized, unrealistic plans soon begin to unravel and go spectacularly wrong while comedy ensues.

The Lucky Ones (2008)the-lucky-ones

starring Tim Robbins, Rachel McAdams, Michael Peña

After suffering an injury during a routine patrol, hardened sergeant TK Poole is granted a one-month leave to visit his fiancee. But when an unexpected blackout cancels all flights out of New York, TK agrees to share a ride to Pittsburgh with two similarly stranded servicemen: Cheaver, an older family man who longs to return to his wife in St. Louis, and Colee, a naive private who’s pinned her hopes on connecting with a dead fellow soldier’s family. What begins as a short trip unexpectedly evolves into a longer journey. Forced to grapple with old relationships, broken hopes and a country divided over the war, TK, Cheaver and Colee discover that home is not quite what they remembered, and that the unlikely companionship they’ve found might be what matters the most.

MadMaxMad Max (1979)

starring Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel, Hugh Keays-Byrne

It is a couple of years into the post-nuclear future… The highways of Australia are ruled by violent gangs and rebel bikers who have turned the highways into a bloody battleground as they loot gasoline and terrorize the innocent. Max Rockatansky is a policeman who had everything… Until, a murderous motorcycle gang led by the evil Toecutter burns his partner Jim Goose to death and murders his wife and son, after Max killed their leader “The Knight Rider”. Loosing his rocker, Max decides to take the law into his own hands as he sets out to get his revenge on the motorcycle gang and become the road warrior known as “Mad Max”

Midnight Run (1988)Midnight_Run_dvd

starring Robert De Niro and Charles Grodin

Bounty hunter Jack Walsh is sent to find and return bail jumper and former Mafia accountant, Jonathan “The Duke” Mardukas. The FBI have had no success it locating The Duke, so when Jack finds him in no time at all, they are a little embarrassed. In order to collect his $100,000 fee, Jack must take The Duke from New York to Los Angeles. However, the Mafia and the FBI have other ideas, as does Marvin, a rival bounty hunter. On their long cross-country trip to LA, the two get to know each other and they build up a strange friendship.

Muppet_MovieThe Muppet Movie (1979)

Jim Henson’s classic animation spoof ….. featuring a large cast of famous celebrity voice-overs

Kermit and the gang decide to take a trip to Hollywood. They begin their journey on a bicycle pedaled by Kermit, but friends accumulate along the way, and they change vehicles to accommodate them. They have the additional challenge of fending off the entreaties of the heartless Doc Hopper who wants Kermit to make some advertisements promoting fried frog legs. Kermit must also cope with his amorous feelings for Miss Piggy, and hers for him. Once in Hollywood they encounter many stars.

National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983)National_Lampoon_Vacation_dvd

starring Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, Randy Quaid

The Griswold brigade set out in high spirits, ready to spend quality time together as a family on their summer vacation driving from Chicago to Wally World on a cross country adventure. As fate would have it, the trip soon falls apart, with mishaps and bad luck at every turn. When they finally arrive at Wally World, and they find that the park is closed for maintenance, Clark Griswold snaps. He takes a Wally World security guard hostage, in one last attempt to deliver on his promise to his family of a fun-filled vacation.

Paper_Moon_dvdPaper Moon (1973)

starring Ryan O’Neal, Tatum O’Neal, Madeline Kahn

Set in the Midwest during the Great Depression, the storyline follows the adventures of Moses Pray (Ryan O’Neal), a happy-go-lucky con artist who travels through the Midwest on a mission to swindle money out of innocent widows. While attending a friend’s funeral, Pray is called upon by two elderly ladies to deliver the daughter of the deceased, Addie (Tatum O’Neal), to her aunt in Missouri. Soon learning that the 9-year-old is almost as mischievous and manipulative as he is, Pray and Addie develop a father and daughter routine that increases their credibility as well as their income. Now, the devious duo set out on a series of misadventures involving crooked cops, bootleggers, grieving widows and a Carney dancer named Miss Trixie Delight (Kahn) who adds a little spice to their routine.

Pee Wee’s Big Adventure (1985)Pee_Wees_Big_Adventure_dvd

starring Paul Reubens, Elizabeth Daily, Mark Holton

Pee Wee Herman, an awkward and childish character who never really grew up, sets off on a wild cross-country adventure for the first time ever when he finds his beloved shiny new bicycle is stolen when he was away by his nemesis Francis Buxton, a fellow man-child and neighborhood rich “kid.” He decides to set off on an obsessive journey, after learning from a fortune teller that his bicycle is in the basement of the Alamo in Texas, determined to recover it. He encounters an array of interesting characters along the way and tries to deal with things in his own unique way.

planes_trains_automobiles_dvdPlanes, Trains & Automobiles (1987)

starring Steve Martin and John Candy

Two days before Thanksgiving, marketing consultant Neal Page races to catch a plane home to his family in Chicago, only to find that his flight has been delayed. Hours later, he boards the plane and ends up next to the obnoxious shower curtain ring salesman, Del Griffith. When the flight is detoured due to bad weather, the mismatched pair are forced to find their own way to Chicago-by any means necessary. Seems like whatever can go go wrong, usually does and in the worst possible ways. A madcap adventure follows that will have you in hysterics because we can relate to some of them quite well.

Rain Man (1988)RainMan

starring Dustin Hoffman and Tom Cruise

Charley is a hustler. He’s been on his own long enough to know how to work people and situations. He finds that the father who threw him out as a teenager has died. He’s left him a now antique convertible and something more important, a previously unknown brother, Raymond. Raymond is autistic, but is able to calculate complicated mathematical problems in his head with great speed and accuracy. Their father has left his fortune to Raymond who doesn’t even understand what money is for. Charley is enraged by what has happened and by his father keeping Raymond’s existence from him for his entire life. He kidnaps Raymond from his residential home and the two of them begin a long road trip that will lead them to a better understanding of each other.

Road_to_Rio_dvdRoad To Rio (1947)

starring Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Dorothy Lamour

A charming and classic Bing Crosby, Bob Hope “road movie” ….. When two musicians accidentally set fire to a “big top circus”, they escape town and the law by stowing away on an oceanliner headed for Rio. Once on board, they meet a lovely lady who was hypnotized so she’ll marry a man she doesn’t love. It’s up to them to save her. Received an Academy Award nomination for “Best Scoring of a Musical Picture”.

Road Trip (2000)Road_Trip_dvd

starring Breckin Meyer, Seann William Scott, Amy Smart, DJ Qualls, Tom Green

Cheating is when you’re in a committed relationship and have sex with another person….It’s not cheating if you live in different area codes, if you are too wasted to remember it, or if you are with two people at the same time because they cancel each other out. But it is definitely cheating if you videotape it and someone accidentally mails the tape to your girlfriend. This is what happens to Josh, who must now drag two college buddies, and one not-so-eager-kid who happens to own the car, on a raucous and raunchy 1800-mile road trip from Ithaca, New York to Austin, Texas to save his lifelong romance.Throw in Tom Green and a boa constrictor and you’ll have non-stop laughs along with fast paced action.

sidewaysSideways (2004)

starring Paul Giamatti, Thomas Haden Church, Virginia Madsen, Sandra Oh

A wine tasting, California road trip to salute Jack’s final days as a bachelor careens woefully sideways as he and Miles hit the gas en route to mid-life crises. The comically mismatched pair, who share little more than their history and a heady blend of failed potential and fading youth, soon find themselves drowning in wine and women. Emerging from a haze of pinot noir, wistful yearnings and trepidation about the future, the two inevitably collide with reality.

Smokey & The Bandit (1977)smokey-and-the-bandit

starring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jerry Reed, Jackie Gleason and a few celebrity cameo appearances

Bandit and Cledus are two truck-driving southerners who accept a dare from big-shots Big and Little Enos to pick up a truckload of beer from Texas and return it to them within a specified amount of time. Picking it up is simple enough, but as they are leaving Texas, Bandit unwittingly picks up Carrie, a hitchhiking bride-to-be who just left her groom, Junior, at the altar. Junior, however, is the son of Sheriff Buford T. Justice. And when Buford and Junior discover what has happened, they go on a “high-speed pursuit” across the Southeast to catch the bandit. One of the wildest car chases of all time.

the_straight_storyThe Straight Story (1999)

starring Richard Farnswort and Sissy Spacek

The Straight Story” chronicles a trip made by 73-year-old Alvin Straight from Laurens, Iowa, to Mt. Zion, Wis., in 1994 while riding a lawn mower. The man undertook his strange journey to mend his relationship with his estranged 75-year-old brother Lyle. Alvin Straight lives a quiet life in a small country town. When his brother gets seriously ill, he decides to put away their differences and visit him after many, many years. So, alone, he begins a long journey through hundreds of miles, just to see again his brother, even if it’s the last thing he will ever do… Based on a real story.

The Sure Thing (1985)the_sure_thing_dvd

starring John Cusack, Daphne Zuniga, Anthony Edwards

College freshman John (Gib) Gibson decides to go cross country to visit his friend in California during winter break. Awaiting there is a bikini-clad babe whom his friend assures him is a “sure thing”. Meanwhile, Allison, a cute (but somewhat anal retentive) girl at Gib’s college has also decided to head out to Cal. to see her boyfriend during break. Gib and Allison are thrust together on a road trip from hell, and somewhere along the way, they find each other’s company to be tolerable. Now, what will become of Gib’s “sure thing?”

Thelma_Louise_dvdThelma & Louise (1991)

starring Susan Sarandon, Geena Davis, Harvey Keitel

Whilst on a short weekend getaway, Louise shoots a man who had tried to rape Thelma. Due to the incriminating circumstances, they make a run for it but are soon followed closely by the authorities including a local policeman who is sympathetic to their plight. The federal authorities, however, have less compassion and thus a cross country chase ensues for the two fugitives. Along the way, both women rediscover the strength of their friendship and surprising aspects of their personalities and self-strengths in the trying times.

Things Are Tough All Over (1982)Things_are_tough_all_over_dvd

starring Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong

Cheech and Chong work briefly as car wash attendants and musicians before being hired to drive a car from Chicago to Las Vegas. Unbeknownst to them, their employers (themselves in double roles) have concealed five million dollars of dirty money in the upholstery. A series of adventures ensues, including the making of a porn film featuring ‘The Guys’ and their real-life squeezes.

Tommy_boy_dvdTommy Boy (1995)

starring Chris Farley, David Spade, Bo Derek, Dan Aykroyd

Tommy Callahan Jr. is a slow-witted, clumsy guy who recently graduated college after attending for seven years. His father, Big Tom Callahan, owns an auto parts factory in Ohio. When Tommy arrives back home, he finds he has a position at the factory waiting for him. His dad also introduces Tommy to the new brake pad division of the factory and to Tommy’s soon-to-be stepmother, Beverly, and her son Paul. But when Big Tom dies, the factory threatens to go under unless the new brake pads are to be sold. Therefore, Tommy must go on the road to sell them, along with the assistance of Richard, Big Tom’s right-hand man. Will Tommy save the company, or will the factory, and the town, go under?

Two Lane Blacktop (1971)Two-LaneBlacktop1971

starring James Taylor, Warren Oates, Laurie Bird, Dennis Wilson

The Driver and The Mechanic are two car freaks driving a 1955 Chevy throughout the southwestern U.S. looking for other cars to race. They are totally dedicated to The Car and converse with each other only when necessary. At a gas station, The Driver and The Mechanic, along with a girl who has ingratiated herself into their world, meet G.T.O., a middle-aged man who fabricates stories about his exploits. It is decided to have a race to Washington, D.C., where the winner will get the loser’s car. Along the way, the race and the highway metaphorically depict the lives of these contestants as they struggle to their destination.

Vanishing_Point_dvdVanishing Point (1971)

starring Barry Newman, Cleavon Little, Dean Jagger

Kowalski, works for a car delivery service. He takes delivery of a 1970 Dodge Challenger to take from Colorado to San Fransisco, California. Shortly after pickup, he takes a bet to get the car there in less than 15 hours. After a few run-ins with motorcycle cops and highway patrol they start a chase to bring him into custody. Along the way, Kowalski is guided by Supersoul – a blind DJ with a police radio scanner. Throw in lots of chase scenes, gay hitchhikers, a naked woman riding a motorbike, lots of Mopar and you’ve got a great cult hit from the early 70’s

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And I just realized I left out one of my personal favorites that should definitely be on this list…

The Long, Long Trailer (1953)

starring Lucille Ball, Desi Arnaz, Keenan Wynn, Marjorie Main

Nicky (Desi Arnaz) and his fiance, Tacy (Lucille Ball) are engaged. Nicky wants to save up money for a house, but Tacy dreams of starting off with their own home on wheels — a trailer. After the two get married, the newlyweds hitch up their trailer and begin their honeymoon across the USA. The humor comes from several disastrous adventures the couple have while traveling including Tacy’s awkward attempt to cook dinner in a moving trailer, and a cliffhanging ride through the Sierra Nevada Mountains that nearly destroys their marriage. A very enjoyable and hilarious look at Lucy and Desi in the earlier years of their TV prime on the big screen. A must see for all Lucy fans.