Okay, I must admit it. I love tourist traps. I know all of you serious travellers are scoffing at the idea that anyone would willingly pay money to see something obviously fabricated for the sole purpose of taking said money. But I do.

 

While most people may feel disappointed and cheated after falling ‘victim’ to a cheap tourist trap, I am often as giddy as a school girl. I love weird and unusual, and tourists traps generally cater to this love. I am not saying that that I believe tourist traps to be quality destinations on the top of every travellers bucket list, but I do think you should be open to a visit when one presents itself.

 

Highway

photo credit: Rob Warde 

 

My all-time favorite tourist trap is ‘The Thing’ on Interstate 10, between El Paso, Texas and Tucson, Arizona. If you have ever driven this looooooong drive, you will immediately know what I am talking about. In what must be the longest, most boring stretch of highway in America, the billboards beckoning visitors to stop at ‘The Thing’ build up your curiosity for hundreds of miles. The mysterious messages range from “The Thing…A Wonder of the Desert” to simply “The Thing?”

 

The Thing Billboard

The Thing Billboard image via AtomicLuLu

 

By the time you reach this roadside attraction, you are willingly  paying the $1.00 to find out what the heck “The Thing” is. I won’t ruin it for you, but if you are curious and love reading the final chapter before you begin a book- do a google image search. Is it worth the $1.00? Probably not. But there is something truly satisfying about finally knowing the answer. Not to say that it is much of an answer. Along with “The Thing” there is a nice gift shop full of “The Thing” merchandise (obviously) as well as a bunch of Native American jewellery and craft products to buy before you hit the road again.

 

The Thing Shop

Exterior of the shop. photo credit: austinmiles via cc

The Thing

Gasp. photo credit: Claire L. Evans  cc

 

I am embarrassed to admit it (although at this point you have all already shunned me) , but I have paid admission to see “The Thing” not once, but twice. Apparently if it has been a few years since you discovered what “The Thing” in fact is, they can convince you to come and see it all over again. I am a sucker for a good billboard apparently. Or just a sucker.

Leave a comment and share your favorite tourist traps. Always looking for a new gem to add to the list.

 

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