Every time I hear of another road side attraction closing, I feel sad. Unfortunately, this is happening more often.
I really find it disheartening when these places close due to lack of visitors. What is happening to the great American road trip? Are we losing that dream? Do we want the trend to continue to the point that the only place to stop along a road trip is an interstate rest area? True, some rest areas have really added some cool things, but do you really want to lose all of the other interesting choices? Do we want to lose the small attractions that offer us an opportunity of something to do in our own communities?
I started this site for a few reasons:
One, I enjoy taking road trips to get out there on the road, even if the road is local, to see and do new, fun things. I also wanted to help others find the many interesting places all over the United States so they could enjoy their own road trips. Another reason goes hand in hand with the previous ones. I wanted to help these attractions get visitors so they would be able to keep these cool pieces of Americana open.
With the loss of each business or attraction, our road trip potential is losing something. Old timers (I mean that in a nice way) can tell you this from the experience of what the interstate did to Route 66 many years ago. The communities along Rt 66 knew what it meant while it was happening. It took others a lot longer to wrap their minds around the fact that while they now were able to get places faster, they were trading off something and losing out on a lot. During that time so many great attractions were lost. Some folks have been trying to bring back some of these lost attractions, but restoring and reviving is not easy.
It is not just a loss to the owners and communities. Every attraction that closes is one less place for you to enjoy or take your children or grandchildren to enjoy. Each closing leaves yet another gap along the road of your next outing. With each closing, we all lose out on learning about or doing something. We lose out on potential exciting, fun, goofy, or thrilling memories yet to be made. Love doing selfies? Countless cool opportunities are lost with the loss of many of these places.
If you are sitting there thinking you don’t have the money to take road trips so this doesn’t matter to you, think again. Road trip doesn’t necessarily mean taking a vacation for a week and needing a bunch of money. A road trip may just be an outing for a few hours or the day. These attractions are not just in another state or hundreds of miles down the road, some may be in your own community. I have seen closings of attractions all over the U.S. in big cities and small towns.
Sure there are places like major theme parks and some large, awesome city museums and zoos that may be doing well and continue to operate business as usual. I support these places, too. If you have the time and money, I encourage you to enjoy them! But what if you can’t afford some of those or you are looking for something to do and don’t have enough time to make it worth paying the admission that day? If these smaller attractions continue to suffer from lack of support and visitors, what are you going to do when you want to do something for the afternoon and the local attractions have closed up?
We are losing or at risk of losing places that have been around for years, places that offer learning about an assortment of things and places that are just fun and unusual.
While I know many people will still think this has no effect on them, I find it odd that I am also constantly hearing people say they are bored, want something to do, or want to find some place interesting to take their family. Folks, there so many interesting, fun, educational, bizarre places all across the U.S. …. at least for now. We need to quit just talking about it and get out there and enjoy these places! Some places are free or only charge admission of a couple of dollars.
What can you do? I will be making another post soon with ways that you can help.
To those of you who own, oversee, or operate these museums, tours, quirky stores, sites filled with history or the bizarre, small amusement parks, places that offer us all chances to have new experiences, and assorted road side attraction businesses, I will also be posting some ideas that you might find helpful in assisting people in locating your attraction or to encourage people to visit.
Keep checking back for the next posts. Also, go visit and like Road Trip Attractions’ Facebook page so you don’t miss out on updates. Tell your friends to do the same. We all need to work together, because we all deserve the fun and adventure of a road trip! 🙂