When I started writing these themed posts a few weeks ago, I wondered how I would fit some of our truly unique experiences into a theme. Then it hit me that unique experiences could be a theme of its own. Unlike science museums, zoos, or historic sites, which you could expect to find in any state, some attractions are truly rare, if not one-of-a-kind. Here are six of those experiences that you can’t find just anywhere.
When we visited Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado, we found out that special sleds and boards have been designed specifically for use on sand. It’s fun to try this typical winter activity in the summer, on dunes of sand rather than hills of snow.
Visit a working Amish Farm
There are many communities of Amish in several states and plenty of stores where you can purchase food, furniture, and other items. But how many of those Amish families will allow you to hop into their buggy, then take you to visit their family farm? An Amish man named Kenny in Northern Indiana’s Amish Country has a business that does exactly that. You’ll even get to help out with the farm chores.
Stand in four states at the same time
There’s only one place in the country where you can stand in four states at the same time. Visit Four Corners Monument, where Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico all meet. Take some photos, then do some shopping among the stalls where Navajo craftsmen and women sell their creations.
Walk through the solar system at the speed of light
This scaled model of the solar system in Anchorage, Alaska, was designed so that a typical walking pace mimics the speed of light. Just as it takes sunlight eight minutes to reach the Earth, it takes eight minutes to walk from the Sun to Earth. Think twice before making the commitment to walk all the way to Pluto—it takes five and a half hours.
Stand in a mile-wide crater made by a giant meteor
NASA astronauts have done training in the Barringer Meteor Crater in Arizona that looks like it belongs on the moon. It was first purchased by a mining company that hoped to find lots of iron from the meteorite. Now it’s a tourist attraction and museum.
Go mining for diamonds
Search for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park in Arkansas and keep what you find! Yes, it’s a real diamond mine. We didn’t find any, but maybe you will. Even if you don’t, it’s certainly a unique and memorable experience.
Terri Weeks is a travel writer from Cincinnati, Ohio. She and her husband are on a mission to take their children to all 50 states before they graduate from high school. She blogs about it at Travel 50 States with Kids. She is also one of the authors of Adventures Around Cincinnati: A Parent’s Guide to Unique and Memorable Places to Explore with your Kids. She is a member of the Midwest Travel Writers Association.