The Rusty Creatures of Jurustic Park

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Jurustic Park is the brainchild of Clyde and Nancy Wynia, a couple of artists who create unique creatures, out of various metals, and scatter them through their yard, for the world to see.

This wondrous place was born in 1993, when Clyde decided to sculpt a giant iron bird, and hang it from one of the trees in his backyard. A curious neighbor asked him how he got his hands on something like that and the first thing that came into Clyde’s mind was “I dug it out of the nearby marsh where it inhabited the swamp during the Iron Age.” And That’s how his yard earned the name of Jurustic Park.

Clyde calls himself an amateur paleontologist who excavates and recreates the now extinct creatures that inhabited the large McMillan Marsh, near Marshfield, Winsconsin, during the Iron Age. he explains that these mysterious metal creatures went extinct during the 19th century, when farming and industry moved into the area. Many were used as parts for various machinery, while others were destroyed by the acid rains caused by pollution.

After 17 years of work, Clyde Wynia has managed to decorate his yard with over 250 iron sculptures, from large dragons, to tiny mosquitoes. Whenever he feels the urge to recreate yet another metal creature, he just has some iron delivered to his Jurustic Park, and starts welding.

Over 15,000 people, from all around the United States, and 30 other different countries, visit Jurustic Park, every year, and although Clyde never sells his large metal sculptures, he donates his works to charitable auctions, evey year, and earns about $6,000 for various causes.

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Ganvie – The Village Built on Stilts

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The village of Ganvie, in Benin, is the only human settlement in the world, built on stilts, in the middle of a lake, several kilometers from the nearest shore.

But people don’t just go ahead and build themselves a home, in the middle of a lake, they must have a serious reason. And the reason for the existence of Ganvie can be traced back to the 18th century, when a peaceful African tribe, the Tofinu, tired of running from the slaver tribe of Dom Homey, decided to build themselves a home, on Lake Nokoue.

The Dom Homey believed a terrible demon lived in the lake, and their ruthless warriors dared not set foot in its waters. The Tofinu had finally found their peace. But fast forward to present day,and the people of Ganvie are still reluctant to go on solid ground, although the threat of slavery is only a distant memory. They’ve ground accustomed to living on the water, and wouldn’t abandon their unique lifestyle, for anything.

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Wat Phai Rong Wua – Thai Hell on Earth

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Wat Phai Rong Wua has to be one of the most bizarre tourist attractions on the face of the Earth. Featuring scenes of torture, performed by devilish creatures, this Buddhist temple complex is what Thais expect hell to be like.

Mostly unkown to the Western world, Wat Phai Rong Wua is a popular destination for Buddhists, who flock here every year. Known as the location of the largest metal-cast Buddha figure in the world, and of the Palace of a Hundred Spires, Wat Phai Rong Wua also houses dozens of sculptures of people being tortured by demons and various monsters. Some are poked in the face with a tridents, while others suffer, with their insides hanging out, in the jaws of giant monsters. There’s blood everywhere and loudspeakers around the complex describe the tortures these sinners have to undergo.

Wat Phai Rong Wua doesn’t strike you as the kind of place you’d want to take your children, on a family vacation, but Thais from all over the country travel here, with their kids, to show them what can happen if they don’t say their prayers, or do bad deeds. Seems pretty weird, doesn’t it? I guess that’s why you hardly see any westerners around this place.

Photos via maleangpo

 


The Amazing Snake Temple of Penang

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Probably the only one of its kind, in the world, the Snake Temple, in Penang, Malaysia, is home to bothe people and some of the most dangerous snakes on Earth.

Located at Sungai Kluang, on Penang Island, the Snake Temple is also known as Temple of the Azure Cloud or Pure cloud Temple, in honor of Penang’s beautiful skies. It’s a safe haven for pit vipers, said to be servants of Chor Soo Kong, the resident deity of the temple. According to legend, Chor Soo Kong, who was a Chinese monk and healer, once offered shelter to the snakes of the jungle, who then started coming in of their own free will.

Thousands of devotees travel to the Snake Temple of Penang, every year, and they aren’t bothered by the dozens of venomous snakes coiled around the temple. Some say it’s the work of Chor Soo Kong, while others believe pit vipers, known as one of the most aggressive snake species, are made drowsy by the smoke of the incense burning in the temple.

Unfortunately, the snake population of the Penang Snake Temple has decreased constantly, due to the urbanization of the area. If you’re brave enough to enter, you should know there’s no admission fee.

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Unique Architecture: Teapot Dome Gas Station

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When it comes to architecture, one thing is for sure: you don’t have to build something like Burj Khalifa to draw attention. That definitely helps, but this lovely teapot gas station proves you can do it for cheap.

Known as the Teapot Dome, this architectural jewel is located in Zillah, Washington, and was built almost 100 years ago, as a monument to the Teapot Dome Scandal, which involved a number of important American figures.

Until a few years ago, before it went out of use, the Teapot Dome was considered the oldest gas station in America, but now it’s just a local monument that definitely needs preserving.

via InteractiveArchitecture

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Karube Shrine – Where the Japanese Go to Worship Breasts

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A shrine dedicated to women’s breasts may sound amusing to us foreigners, but for the Japanese, this is a truly sacred place.

Located in Soja City, in Japan’s Okayama Prefecture, Karube Shrine is dedicated to Chichigamisama, the Goddess of Breasts. She is believed to help with safe child births, the production of breast milk, and even curing breast cancer. Built in 1678, the shrine became famous due to a now dead weeping cherry tree, that grew nearby.

Most women come to Karube Shrine to pray for a safe child birth, abundant lactation and breast cancer healing, but there are those who ask the Goddess of Breasts for a bigger bust. Those boob-like things that decorate the shrine’s interior are Ema, small wooden planks, where worshipers write their prayers and requests, in the hope that the god receive them. They cost about $21, and can be ordered online, if you’re interested.

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Norwegian Prison Looks More Like a Holiday Resort

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Located on 75 acres of pine forest, Norway’s Halende Prison is unlike any of the American prisons, smelling of sweat and urine. Here, inmates are respected and probably live a better live than they did on the outside.

Norway’s second largest prison cost 1.5 billion kroner ($252 million) and took 10 years to complete, but the result is truly impressive. The 252 inmates at Halende will be living in 12-square-meter rooms, equipped with LCD TVs, modern furniture, and 2-square-meter showers. Instead of the awful smell of most prisons, the only odors at Halende will be those coming from the modern kitchen, where prisoners take cooking classes.

The prison’s cultural center features a recording studio, library,winter garden, manufacturing workshops, fancy classrooms, state f the art gymnasium, as well as a laboratory. Halende cells and facilities are decorated with genuine paintings that cost a total of $1 million.  There is even a separate, two-bedroom house, where inmates can spend time with their families, during overnight visits.

Are Hoidal, the prison’s governor, said the Norwegian prison system focuses on human rights and respect, so he doesn’t see any of this as unusual. Well, people must live a great life in Norway, because if that thing was built where I’m from, criminals would literally line up to rob or stab you, for a chance to live there. Seriously, that thing looks a lot better than any hospital or college dorm I’ve ever seen.

via Time, photos via drugoi

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Bunny Museum – The Hoppiest Place on Earth

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Featuring over 26,000 bunny-inspired items, the Bunny Museum of Pasadena, California, holds the Guinness World Record for the largest bunny collection.

It all began when she called him honey-bunny, and he gave her a stuffed bunny, for Valentine’s Day. Steve Lubanski and Candace Frazee, met in 1992, at a singles seminar, and both discovered their love for bunnies. At first, each gave the other bunny gifts, on holidays, then, every day, and even several times a day. At their wedding reception, in 1994, Steve showed up in a bunny costume, they both did the bunny hop, and ate carrot cake.

In just a few years, the couple already had an impressive collection of bunny memorabilia, so, in 1998, they officially opened the Bunny Museum, right in the house they live in. It was included in the Guinness Book of Records, as the world’s biggest collection of bunnies, in 1999, when it only numbered 8,437 items.

But the collection kept growing, and the Bunny Museum now features over 26,000 bunny-inspired things, from stuffed toys, to wind chimes, phones and pretty much anything you can imagine. Since Steve and Candice actually live in the Bunny Museum, admission is free, but by appointment only. So far the cute museum has been visited by 16,000 people.

If you decide to visit, make sure you don’t call the bunnies “rabbits”, Candice doesn’t like that very much.

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World’s Biggest Banana Collection Saved by a Donation

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Back in January, when “Top Banana” Ken Bannister was forced to split (get it?) with his giant banana collection, out of the place that served as headquarters of the Banana Club and Museum, since 1972, things looked grim for banana lovers, everywhere.

But thanks to a substantial donation, of approximately $50,000, the Banana Museum will live on. When Banana Club founder, Ken Bannister, posted an ad on eBay, announcing he was wiling to part with his extensive collection, fellow fruit lover Fred Garbutt decided to become the new curator of the Banana Museum

Garbutt’s donation bought him a 17,000 item banana collection, including a banana golf club, banana drinks, and even a Michael Jackson banana. He has big plans for his purchase, which include buying a BMW and painting it yellow, selling banana-leaf wallpaper and making banana clothes, for kids. A real banana man, as Ken Bannister, himself said.

It can’t be easy for “Top Banana” Ken Bannister to leave his 38-year-long work, in the hands of someone else, but it’s better than letting it go to waste, that’s for sure.

Photos via BananaClub

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Obama Nightclub to Open in Shanghai

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President Obama may not be as popular as he was when he became president of the United States, but his name is still viewed as a potential client driver.

A Chinese entrepreneur, from Shanghai, China is relying on Barack Obama’s popularity to make his soon-to-open nightclub a profitable venture. The Obama Nightclub is schedule to open on April 26 2010, and as you can see in the photos below, all of Shanghai is full of advertising banners. The website is, unfortunately, under construction.

Odd as it may be, this is really not a bad idea, considering how popular the American president is, in China, You may remember the wacky ways the Chinese people celebrated his visit, last year.

Photos via ImagineChina

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Osoyoos – Canada’s Spotted Lake

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Praised, from times immemorial, as a healing lake, Osoyoos has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Canada, because of its spotted look.

Located in the Oskogan Valley, British Columbia, Osoyoos is one of the most mineral-rich bodies of water on Earth, featuring mostly sulfates of magnesium, calcium and sodium. During the summer, as the lake’s water evaporates, it leaves behind the minerals, which take the shape of pools. Each natural pool has a different color, depending on the type and concentration of the minerals, making Osoyoos a unique sight to behold.

Ever since ancient times, the Indians of the Oskogan Valley have considered the Spotted Lake a holy place that cured their every illness. Whether they were suffering from sprains, infections, skin diseases or body aches, they would get better by immersing their bodies in the lakes waters. Even during times of war, tribes would ask for truce, so warriors could come to Osoyoos Lake and heal their wounds.

During World War I, minerals from the Spotted Lake were used to make ammunition, in the factories built in the area. For generations, Osoyoos was the property of the Earnest Smith family, who wanted t build a healing spa, on the lake. But constant pressure from the Indian natives kept this from ever happening, and eventually convinced the Smiths to sell the lake back to the Indians.

An impressive sight, the Spotted Lake is of limits to tourists, for fear they might damage the pools. But you can still enjoy a great view of it, from behind the iron fence that surrounds Osoyoos.

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The Samurai Robot Waiters of Hajime Restaurant

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A Japanese restaurant in Thailand isn’t something to get overly excited about, but if that restaurant has robot samurais as waiters, it’s a whole other matter.

Lapassarad Thanaphant, a Thai entrepreneur, decided to open a new Japanese restaurant, and found the perfect way to make it stand out from the competition: robot waiters. But not just any robots, samurai-shaped machines that slide all the way to your table, bring you your order, clean tables, and even do an adorable dance routine, to entertain guests.

So, just days after the robot kitchen chef was presented, we already have an almost complete automated restaurant system. According to the owner of Hajime Restaurant, the cool samurai robot waiters cost $930,000, but with the popularity this place is enjoying this days, he’s sure to get his money back very soon.

Be sure to check out the Hajime samurai robot waiters in action, in the video, at the bottom.

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The Bubblegum Alley of San Luis Obispo

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The “most talked-about landmark” of San Luis Obispo, California, the Bubblegum Alley is a 21 meter-long alley lined with chewed-up pieces of bubblegum.

The exact history of the Bubblegum Alley is unknown, but there are a few theories about how this sticky tradition began. Some say it started during World War II, as a graduating class event, while others are convinced it dates back to the 1950s, as the result of the rivalry between San Luis Obispo High-School and Cal Poly. Whatever its beginnings, by the 70s, Bubblegum Alley was already covered with plenty of gooey material.

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The Crazy House Hotel in Vietnam

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Featuring a truly unique design,  Hang Nga’s Tree House Hotel is, without a doubt, one of the most bizarre buildings in the world.

Located in Da Lang, Vietnam, Hang Nga’s Tree House Hotel, better known as Crazy House, features giant tree trunks and branches that try to trick you into believing this is an actual tree house. In reality, it’s built from conventional construction materials. But there’s nothing conventional about the architectural principles used by Hang Nga, the woman behind Vietnam’s Crazy House.

Daughter of a former president of Vietnam, Hang Nga was confronted with almost no restrictions at all, when she decided to build her wacky hotel. The Vietnamese government simply looked the other way and allowed her to let loose her imagination, without considering rules and regulations. And you can witness the end result in the photos below.

The interior of Hang Nga’s hotel is just as unusual as the outside. It’s filled with unexpected twists and turns, narrow hallways, bizarre rooms and dotted with strangely shaped windows. This is probably why Crazy House is more successful as a tourist attraction, than a hotel. Hang Nga, who lives in her “masterpiece”, tries to convince people to stay at least a night, but most prefer to take some photos and look for a more conventional hotel.

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The Seattle Gum Wall – A Sticky Attraction

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One of the most offbeat attractions in the United States, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the most germ infected tourist spot in the world.

Located in Post Alley, under Park Place Market, the Gum Wall has its beginning in the early 1990s, when people, irritated that they had to wait in line to get tickets to the theater, stuck chewing gum on the wall. At first, they would use the gum to stick small coins to the wall, but in time, the tradition of the coins disappeared, and the gum remained.

Theater attendants scraped the Gum Wall twice, but gave up in 1999, when it became a certified tourist attraction of Seattle. Now it is filled with thousands of pieces of chewing gum, of any color imaginable. And, as the wall grows, the chewing gum art becomes more sophisticated. You’ll find names written with pieces of gum, and symbols like hearts or the peace sign.

But, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the germiest tourist destinations on Earth. In a ranking made by Trip Advisor, it came in second place, after Ireland’s Blarney Stone.

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