1) TOPEKA, KS — Eighteen robotic dinosaurs are coming to Topeka. The largest and best-preserved Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered is a 40-foot-long replica named Sue that will headline the show. A series of dinosaur-themed attractions goes on display in Spring 2022.
“Topeka Dino Days” will be “huge” for the capital city, said Sean Dixon, president of Visit Topeka at a news conference this week. “We can’t wait for families and dinosaur enthusiasts alike to see Topeka put on a show of prehistoric proportions.”
An opening date of February 1st has been set for the main exhibit at the Great Overland Station, with more exhibits installed at other locations including the Topeka Zoo.
The Chicago Field Museum where the original Sue resides has made high-quality replicas of the dinosaur skeleton available. Known as “Runaround Sues,” these go on public display throughout the nation.
Did you know? In 1990, the well-preserved 67 million-year-old T. Rex skeleton was discovered in the Black Hills of South Dakota, then named after Sue Hendrickson, the woman who found it.
2) ROCKEFELLER CENTER, NYC — What’s 79 feet tall, 46 feet wide, and weighs 12 tons? For the first time in eight decades, the giant Norway Spruce Christmas tree in Rockefeller Center comes from Maryland.
Devon and Julie Price from Elkton, MD told NBC’s Today that they had worried that the 85-year-old tree near the house might fall down during a storm. Solution found.
Did you know? Rockefeller Center’s head gardener goes on a scouting tour every spring to find the perfect specimen. Then, the massive moving project gets underway. The selected tree is donated by private citizens.
Wrapped with five miles of lights adorned by 50,000 LED bulbs, topped by a 900-lb. Swarovski star covered with 3 million crystals, the popular televised illumination takes place on Wed., Dec. 1, 2021. Mind-Blowing Facts About the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree makes for a fun email newsletter from NYC & Company.
3) HUMBOLDT COUNTY, CA — On the West Lawn outside the U.S. Capitol, an 84-foot tall white fir from Northern California is provided by the US Forest Service as part of a tradition that goes back 51 years.
The so-called People’s Christmas Tree began its more than 2,000-mile journey to Washington, D.C. months ago, having originated in a mountain forest in Humboldt County, known as California’s Redwood Coast, home to the world’s tallest trees.
Participating hotels in the Humboldt Lodging Alliance will reimburse the $10 permit fee for guests who harvest their own Christmas trees from the Six Rivers National Forest, a 1.2-million acre recreational wilderness featuring wild and scenic rivers, fishing, rafting, hiking, backpacking and the occasional Bigfoot sighting.
Did you know? On Main Street in Ferndale, the world’s largest living Christmas tree is a 160-foot spruce that’s drawn visitors to the Victorian village since 1934.
4) DENVER, CO — “Play in the Mountains, Stay in the City.” Visit Denver has launched a new campaign to emphasize the best of both worlds. Three (so far) video episodes (the sweet spot is 3-1/2 minutes) of Basecamp Denver content uses outdoor enthusiast influencers — they fearlessly fly fish, cling to cliffs and bike on mountain trails — to show visitors how its done:
- River to Table
- Belays to Brews
- Mountains to Murals
Should we help Visit Denver with the next alliteration country/city pair?
5) GOLDFIELD, NV — Out in the desert, the International Car Forest of the Last Church needs no irrigation or gasoline. Off US Highway 95, some 40 junk cars are a tourist attraction in Nevada’s largest (and free!) open air gallery where they serve as artists’ canvasses.
And there’s more. In Pahrump, Nevada, Coffinwood is an expansive cemetery of coffins and gravestones, one of the world’s most bizarre coffin-making studios.
About 50 miles from Las Vegas, Dusty and Bryan Schoening run Coffin It Up, a business making custom coffins and they perform weddings, too. Visitors can get married in the Coffin Gazebo, or in the Coffinwood Cemetery, or in the Coffinwood Cavern. See Nevada Dreamscapes on the Culture Trip Instagram account in a paid partnership with Travel Nevada.
6) PALISADES TAHOE, CA — Interior Secretary Deb Haaland has signed a new federal order to remove derogatory terms, including the word “squaw,” from the nation’s public places and lands. The action will affect more than 650 peaks, streams, trails and other geographic features that currently use “squaw” in their name, as well as a pair of small towns in Northern California.
Congress is considering the Reconciliation in Place Names Act, which would create an advisory board to liaise with tribal and cultural groups in a national renaming effort. A federal advisory committee is tasked with reviewing and recommending changes.
In September, the ski resort formerly known as Squaw Valley, home to the 1960 Winter Olympics, opted to rename itself Palisades Tahoe. That’s done, however there’s a trickle-down effect for many surrounding businesses and places, from streets to a firehouse and a creek.
7) BRIDGETOWN, BARBADOS — They’ve ditched Queen Elizabeth II.
After 400 years, the former British colony that became a republic in 1966 made another big move. At the stroke of midnight on the 55th anniversary of the day (November 29) Barbados declared independence from Britain, they’ve now dropped the monarch as their queen.
President Sandra Mason, 73, formerly acting governor-general as the queen’s representative, is now head of state. VisitBarbados.com
And a shout-out to this team from Visit Reno Tahoe
“Nearly 20 team members from the Reno Tahoe team came together last week to volunteer in our community by helping clean up McKinley Park in Reno. Tip of the cap to all the great folks who gave of their time, energy and effort to help make our destination shine a little brighter.” — Charles Harris, President & CEO, Visit Reno Tahoe