As I mentioned in my last post, I am saddened to see more and more road side attractions closing their doors. I also touched on some of the reasons why this should be a concern for us all.
The question is if we want these attractions to stick around to entertain or educate us, what can we do?
Understandably, no matter what, there will always be some interesting businesses and various other types of attractions that will eventually close for a variety of reasons. The issue I am addressing has to do with the many businesses that have no choice to close down due to low number of visitors and lack of funds.
I have some suggestions for ways we can help prevent this so these places will continue to exist for us to visit on our road trips, whether our road trips are local or from coast to coast.
1.I won’t tell you to turn off your electronic devices to get out and about. You can use those phones, computers, tablets, ipods, etc to visit this website to find new attractions. 🙂 But don’t stop at visiting places virtually. Get the info you need, plug the addresses into your GPS if needed, and then step back from the electronics and actually visit and enjoy these attractions.
2.Visit the attractions! Yes, that is the important thing. Quit saying some day you will or would like to stop at these places. Do it now!
3.Even if you are not taking a vacation, there may be attractions you can enjoy in your own town or city. Don’t take for granted that they will be there for another day. Explore your local treasures.
4.When an attraction does not charge admission, we all think it’s cool. Of course we all love a freebie. I understand there are times that free is all that we can afford. If that is the case, see if there is some way you can support them as a way of thanking them for being there. Are you planning on going some place else to buy a drink or simple snack? If so, see if they sell these items. It may not be much, but every little bit helps. If you can, consider a small donation. Many places that do not charge admission rely in large part on donations. Donate as much as you want, but even $0.50 or a $1.00 is helpful.
5.When possible, talk to the owners or employees working at these attractions. Let them know what you like about it, how you found them, and that you appreciate them being there. Encouragement can help during slow times as a reminder that they are wanted. Many attractions are owned and operated by sweet, entertaining, or interesting folks! I have encountered some owners that were an attraction in their self with the stories they have to share.
6.If you visit an attraction and see things that might prevent you from wanting to return or recommend the attraction to your friends, consider letting the owner or employees know. Again this can go back to #5, if you talk to them you may find out they are aware of some of these issues and the reason something is the way it is. I know that not every business or attraction is very receptive to hearing something negative. Honestly, I know there are some who may get down right angry and tell you they don’t care if you ever return. At the same time, there are some attractions that really do want to know what they could do to make your visit more enjoyable. Again, they may be trying and in talking nicely with them, you may find some things are chaotic or in disrepair for specific reasons that they are currently fixing. If you have had an issue that leaves you too angry to nicely discuss the situation at the moment or you get the feeling the owner or employee is not someone you can talk to nicely face to face, let them know through other means. There may be several ways to give them feedback; feedback cards, contact through their website, contact on their Facebook page, etc
7.Considering my suggestions on #6, you can’t expect every attraction to suite your every whim and vision for them. It is their business. Not everyone will like every attraction. Understanding that, there are situations that you may encounter where your issue with an attraction has to do with safety, cleanliness, extremely rude treatment, and such. These are issues that you would want to address. I know there are some places that unfortunately are ran by people who really don’t care and have forgotten they need people to stop in and hopefully return. If you have tried to let the owners know of such serious issues and they either don’t care or refuse to change, fix, or address the problem, then it will be a matter of time before they close and really, that is their own undoing.
8.Tell others about interesting attractions. Take your friends or family and enjoy a return visit. Blog about your visit. Post on your Facebook. Tweet about visiting. Leave feedback on the attractions Facebook page (if they have one) so others can see it is a great place to visit or see.
9.When planning road trips that are farther from home, consider adding some of these interesting attractions as places to stop and stretch your legs. If your drive consists of mainly highway driving, there are many attractions that are just minutes from an exit. If time allows, consider rerouting your drive to take you off the interstate to go through smaller towns so you can visit their attractions. Many of these attractions near and far from the highway are listed or will soon be listed on this website.