Book takes a jaunt through ‘125 Wacky Roadside Attractions’

Are we there yet?

If somebody asks that one more time, Dad says he’s going to stop the car, and it won’t be good. But seriously, if you have to sit for much longer next to your brother (who’s kicking your leg), you’re going to have a meltdown. Instead, why not read “125 Wacky Roadside Attractions” by National Geographic Kids and give Dad something worth actually stopping for?

So, your family’s decided to take a last-minute vacation or maybe an after-school-starts weekend getaway. Sounds fun, but where will you go? If you’re not sure yet, this book has some great ideas.

If your family is into giant animals, take a trip to the “World’s Biggest Beagle” in Idaho, an elephant-shaped building in New Jersey, a cement whale in Oklahoma, a tire-rim turtle in North Dakota or a giant ape holding up a Volkswagon in Vermont.

Love dinos? Get to Arizona where you can see authentic dinosaur tracks that were made almost 200 million years ago. On your way home, stop in California, where you’ll see humungous cement dinosaurs in the desert. (Hint: Don’t forget souvenirs, available in the belly of an Apatosaurus.)

If shopping is your thing, find your next deal at the “Lost and Found Extravaganza” in Alabama, the place where many airports send their unclaimed baggage. Or, just for fun, visit a fake-Prada store in a fake building in Texas.

Look for wildly-painted Canadian moose all over the world. Swim with real pigs in the Bahamas. Enter an outhouse race in Alaska. Get your picture taken next to a 28-foot-tall Bigfoot in Washington (he’s manmade, so don’t worry). Drop your ABC gum on a wall in Seattle, see “quirky coffins” in Texas or a fossilized wood forest in Arizona.

And if your family is heading out of the country for your vacay, then grab this book. It includes places to visit in Germany, Poland, France, England and more.

“Are we there yet?”

You just gritted your teeth, didn’t you? The mere thought of hearing those four words from the back seat is enough to make any parent growl. So get rid of that question before you even leave by getting “125 Wacky Roadside Attractions.”

Using pages and pages of color pictures, trivia and quick-to-read descriptions, the staff of National Geographic Kids presents hundreds of places around the world for young readers to visit and experience. Parks, museums and monuments are here, but most of this book is about quirky, fun, goofy side-trips on your way to a destination or places that are great impulse-stops. Websites to these locales might’ve been a good inclusion, but then again — isn’t an online search half the fun?

For kids who are too old to watch DVD ‘toons and too young to drive, this book might be the right solution to boredom on your next getaway. Give them “125 Wacky Roadside Attractions” on your way out the door, and they won’t want to stop reading.

View publishes Terri Schlichenmeyer’s reviews of books for children weekly.

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