Destinations To Help You Avoid Your Fellow Tourist Summertime is here. But what if you're bored with the beach and all screamed out at the amusement park?
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Destinations To Help You Avoid Your Fellow Tourist

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Destinations To Help You Avoid Your Fellow Tourist

Destinations To Help You Avoid Your Fellow Tourist

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IRA FLATOW, host:

For the rest of the hour, helping to plan out the rest of your summer vacation. Maybe you don't want to go to a nuclear site, and you want something else. You know, there are tours for people who like fine wine, or cheeses, old houses but what if you're in to science and technology. What destination should be on your itinerary? And I'm asking you to help out now. If you've got a hidden gem near you that you want to recommend, or something that you've seen a place that you visited, it's a big country, it's a big world that you think that no science buff should miss. Give us a call, our number 1-800-989-8255 or email your suggestions to travel@sciencefriday.com. That's travel@sciencefriday.com. We'll post your highlights from your suggestion on our website after the program.

Joining me now to help navigate through all the country that has to offer to us in a highly qualified tour guide is Patricia Schultz, she is the author of the books "1,000 Places to See in the U.S. and Canada Before You Die," and the earlier "1,000 Places to See Before You Die." Both published by Workman, she's here on New York Studio. Welcome to Science Friday.

Ms. PATRICIA SCHULTZ (Author, "1,000 Places to See in the U.S.A and Canada Before You Die"): Thank you.

FLATOW: Big book. Hi, what percentage would you say or would be interested to science-minded people in a thousand places?

Ms. SCHULTZ: Well, I like to think that science-minded folks are interested in far more than just the immediately obvious but specifically some 15, 20 percent. You know, so it's so hard to create a number.

FLATOW: There are a lot of - let's begin with, you know, places we can all get to. There are a lot of caves for example, things like that. Oh, they're scattered all around the country.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Well, you know, certainly the most visited and the most known are Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico which are magnificent. Mammoth Cave known to many Corvette lovers as the place down the street.

(Soundbite of laughing)

Ms. SCHULTZ: My - one of my all-time favorites, and I went to school in Washington. So within the Shenandoah Valley which in itself is a designation that is a must see because it's just so naturally beautiful are the Luray Caverns.

FLATOW: Right. They are pretty.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah, limestone caverns, one of many, many in this network underneath Shenandoah Valley. And one of the most visited in the east for two things in particular, I think. And one is the Stalic Pipe Organ said to be the largest musical instrument. It holds it's on Guinness Book of Records designation, and it's played on the Stalic tight sheets of which emanates its own sound really magnificent when played by the appropriate music meister. And also the Dream Lake which is airy, mystical, beautiful, six inches deep, and the only thing of its kind.

FLATOW: I have one to add to make it a 1,001. It's not in your book, that's one of my favorites. And it's the Howe Caverns which is right next to Cooperstown. So, if you're visiting my favorite - one of my favorite things for the baseball parks and places. You're visiting Cooperstown for the baseball, you can go right next door to towards the Howe Caverns, it's beautiful.

Ms. SCHULTZ: That's wonderful. And, you know, in the summer time the Glimmerglass Opera, so you can do a little opera at night, a little caverning in the morning.

FLATOW: We're talking about a places to visit this hour. Talk of the Nation Science Friday from NPR News, I'm Ira Flatow. Here with Patricia Schultz, author of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die in the U.SA. and Canada." Our number, 1-800-989-8255, let's get a suggestion from a listener. Holly (ph), Holly in Kansas City, Missouri. Hi, Holly.

HOLLY (Caller): Hello.

FLATOW: Hi, there.

HOLLY: I had just - wanted to mention some - that we like the U.S. government facilities. My family's is always on the lookout for factory tours when we visit cities. And some of the U.S. government facilities that we have seen recently that have been very educational have really held my children's interest. There is an atmospheric center that overlooks Boulder, Colorado. And it has - we often hear releases from that center, it has beautiful scenery and trails plus you learn a lot about the atmosphere and air, and they have exhibits. Woodshole Oceanographic, which is on the other side of the country on the Atlantic Ocean. Again, it's free tremendous information about oceanography and atmosphere. We love military bases. Like we took - taken the Norfolk tour so you see large aircraft carriers, and all kinds of navy facilities there. Dayton Air is Air Force, Hill Air Force Space. There's a new - when we're talking last half hour about the nuclear facility, the place up in Rapid City, South Dakota which is an air base that you can see a museum about nuclear facilities.

FLATOW: Well, don't over burden us, Holly.

(Soundbite of laughing)

Ms. SCHULTZ: You'll have to write your own book. My sequel.

HOLLY: Well, you know, I'm interested to see your book because when we go to see cities we always looked for that kind of thing. Either free or cheap and educational like the West Virginia coalmine was another one we really enjoyed, and seen the Copper Mine in Salt Lake City, Utah.

FLATOW: All right, thanks Holly. And she's been around, looks like...

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah.

FLATOW: Do you have a favorite or a top five that you would might recommend, top three?

Ms. SCHULTZ: You know factory tours are very fascinating. And I think I slept through much of my American history classes because - and it awakens the inner child in me. I think it really brings you back to - when you're 12 years old, and you know, the kids enjoyed as much as the family I went in Detroit. You can't really visit any of the automobile factories except for one, and it is nothing less than fascinating, and it's the Ford Rouge Factory. And it's named after the nearby river, the Rouge River, I always wondered just where the name came from.

It's the only one, you can visit in Detroit, you can visit the homes of the great, you know, iconic families, and there's the Chrysler Museum which is also very interesting. But the factory itself is magnificent, and it takes you along the assembly line. It was built in 1917 when a 100,000 workers manned the assembly line, and the goods would come in at one end of the factory. And the cars would kind of roll out the other end, and it takes you to the history, has films, you go with the guy that just brings alive that entire chapter in history, I think that's fascinating. I mentioned very briefly before the Corvette Factory, only half jokingly because people take it very seriously. And there is an assembly plant outside...

FLATOW: Is there a Harley Factory too?

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah, also. Yeah, I don't - do you know where it is?

FLATOW: Well, someone will let us know.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah.

FLATOW: We'll we going to take - we have to take a break because we have to take a break. But we're going to come back and talk a lots more with Patricia Schultz, author of a "1,000 Places to See Before You Die in the U.S.A and Canada." And gosh! We can nearly get to see two of them, you got a long way to go. A two of them a year, you got your job cut out for you. So, stay with us, we'll come back and take your suggestions. I'll tell you why I love the La Brea Tar Pits in Los Angeles. So, well talk - comeback. It's a good place, isn't it? We'll come back and talk about that, as some place you can walk to down the block, if you walk in L.A. at all anymore. So, stay with us, we'll be right back after this break.

(Soundbite of music)

FLATOW: You're listening to Talk of the Nation, Science Friday, I'm Ira Flatow. We talked in this hour about traveling, travel tips for science destinations, nature, things like that, factories, that interesting thing. I remembered visiting the Hershey Factory. They don't do that? I think people were getting, you know, from the smell. It's such an overwhelming chocolate smell, they don't do that...

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah, I know. And also following September 11th, quite a number of the factories across America shut down, or cut back, or closed entirely. The Corning Museum for example in upstate New York because they now manufacture most of their glass and their Stubin glass division, I think, as well in West Virginia which has an old history of glass making as well but it's true. Yeah, I had fond memories of Hershey.

FLATOW: I have fond memories of Corning. But that's the voice of Patricia Schultz, the author of a "1,000 Places to See in the U.SA. and Canada Before You Die." And we're taking your suggestions. Of course, our listeners came to our rescue. We asked about the Harley Davidson Museum, Milwaukee.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Well, I think. Isn't there also something in Pennsylvania?

FLATOW: Could be at? We'll look...

Ms. SCHULTZ: Milwaukee.

FLATOW: Milwaukee, you know. We were in Milwaukee a few weeks ago doing a show on beer. A beer place that's interesting.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Oh! Absolutely.

FLATOW: Brewery, right?

Ms. SCHULTZ: Oh! Yeah. Well, the oldest in America is the Yuengling in Pottsville not too far from Philadelphia. Still family-owned, there's Yuengling usually on site keeping it real, talking to the folks visiting. In the old 1800s structure with a beautiful stained-glass window from the late 1800s, and you follow it from beginning to end in there's that sampling room at the end of it.

FLATOW: Of course, it has to be. Ken in Greenville, California. Hi.

KEN (Caller): Hello, there.

FLATOW: Hi, there.

KEN: My destination I want to recommend is Lava Beds National Monument which is up in the North Eastern corner of California near the Klamath Basin. It's a fascinating geological volcanic site and has a great history story around Native American wars. It was the site of the last Indian war in the United States, the Modoc Indian War. And it's - the park consists of series of lava caves, were formed by lava tubes from lava flowing at some distant pass time, and there's hundreds of miles of lava caves, and you're just free to go out there and explore, you're in the high desert. It's really a fascinating place.

FLATOW: All right, thanks for calling.

KEN: Thank you very much.

FLATOW: Pennsylvania callers are calling in saying it's Yuengling. That's hard to pronounce. You can - they keep us honest.

Ms. SCHULTZ: I guess, I would - I tippled too much.

FLATOW: Listen, I am not one to correct anybody else's pronunciations of any - I can't get two sentences out without making a mistake about a name. And I did mention before the break that one of my favorite places, and it's your book, is the La Brea Tar Pitts right there in the middle of LA.

Ms. SCHULTZ: In the middle, I know. And unless, you - as an east-coaster. I was kind of brought there by a local friend who said you're not going to believe this. And I didn't know where to put it in the book so I included it as a kind of postscript to this entry about the museums of L.A. because it is very much a museum but of entirely curious, different nature. And it's 40,000 years old this kind of bubbling pit. Excavations that are still going on today. And they say there are some 400 species of mammals, birds, fish, and many of which are now extinct that they have found there. It's really nothing short of fascinating especially when you understand in the context as you said of downtown as if you were to find it like, I don't know, Central Park?

FLATOW: Yeah. Even a more rural setting than that, or an urban setting that. You're just walking down and there it is...

Ms. SCHULTZ: There it is.

FLATOW: Right in the middle of traffic.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Bubbling, bubbling.

FLATOW: I think the first time I saw it was on a Walt Disney show in the 50s. I think they - you know, they're looking around something besides Disneyland to show. So they have the La Brea Tar Pits. Another interesting spot that I have been to that I would recommend in your book is the very large array. All these radio telescopes that - can you get, can you get to see that or is that off limits?

Ms. SCHULTZ: Oh, I don't. It's been quite some time since I was there but it has long held my- we'll have to put that out to your listeners as well and if in fact it's still open because as I said after September 11th, so many things of an even remotely sensitive nature have no longer been made available.

FLATOW: And that was made famous, I guess, by Jodie Foster in "Contact". She's working in a very large array. Very interesting to see how much of that is open. 1-800-989-8255. There are all kind of places and things to see. Let's go just down the phone line and work our way down. Tony in Nevada City, California. Hi, Tony.

TONY (Caller): Hi, Ira. I love your show, and when I miss it I get the podcast.

FLATOW: Thank you.

Tony: I have two science destinations for you. One is the Stennis Center in the Mississippi Gulf Coast where you can actually walk under the engine belts from Saturn five and you really get an idea of what rocket science is, and there is like a 100,000 horse power pump that will fit in the front seat of your car. And the other one is there's a B&B, an Astronomical B&B in Arizona where you can go an spend the night, and you can rent a University of McDonald astronomer for the evening.

FLATOW: You know some of these - there are three of these rockets, these Saturn rockets still around. There was supposed to be three more missions to the moon that were canceled, and they're all lying on the ground. They look so sad, if you've seen them, you know. They look so - I was thinking this could have gone to the moon and it didn't and they're kept - they used to be in pretty bad shape. They've been upgraded a little better now, and they're not nesting place is so much for the birds as they used to be, but...

TONY: Thanks for the great show.

FLATOW: You're welcome.

TONY: Bye.

FLATOW: Any NASA site, you know, if you just want to go to Orlando and see NASA there, you know...

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah. Well, not just. It is one of the...

FLATOW: It's a great destination.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah. And it is a shame that - you know, I was just in London a few weeks ago. My friend said, you know, we Brits think America is all about New York, San Francisco, and Orlando. And I said, well, have you heard about the Kennedy Space Center? And she said, no, just Orlando. It's all about Disney, and it's only 50 miles.

FLATOW: Yeah.

Ms. SCHULTZ: I mean, you actually could do it in an afternoon. There are no launches scheduled, I think, during the summer months, but there's something for September. To see a launch in person, I think, is something you've got to do once in your life before you die.

FLATOW: And you can just be 50 miles away and still see the launch.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah. Oh, yeah.

FLATOW: You don't have to be right up close.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah, you can watch it from...

FLATOW: I can't remember how many I've seen but, you know...

Ms. SCHULTZ: Mm hmm.

FLATOW: You can be just close by. And if you get to see a night launch, that is spectacular.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah. Well, there's also there - one of my favorite elements to a visit to the Kennedy Space Center was the Hall of Fame. And it was going on a lunch with an astronaut that afternoon, and there were never so many fascinated 12 year olds that you could see in one spot. It was wonderful.

FLATOW: Jill in Old Saybrook, Connecticut. Hi, JILL.

JILL (Caller): Hi there. How are you doing?

FLATOW: Fine.

JILL: I was just calling about Arecibo in Puerto Rico where the movie "Contact" had a big portion that was filmed there. We had gone there last summer on vacation, and it was just a crazy way to get up to the observatory. But it's this - I'm sure. Maybe you both know about it a little bit better than I do, but...

FLATOW: It's a giant radio telescope.

JILL: Yes. The Ionosphere. Right.

FLATOW: Right.

JILL: Ionosphere Center. And there's this amazing, gigantic telescope that picks up radio waves, and...

FLATOW: Mm hmm.

JILL: You really couldn't get down to the actual piece of it but...

FLATOW: Yeah. It's very big.

JILL: Just a view of that was just amazing, like, the photos of it that we took just give it no perspective at all. Being there is actually what you need to do and just see it, and it's in the middle of nowhere in Puerto Rico.

FLATOW: Well, that's a good tip because we wouldn't have thought about that.

JILL: Yeah.

FLATOW: Yeah. Thanks for calling...

JILL: Thank you.

FLATOW: And have a happy Fourth.

JILL: Bye-bye.

FLATOW: Bye. Yeah, there are a lot of these radio telescope places.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Mm hmm.

FLATOW: There's the - the biggest, I guess it would be in Hawaii.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah.

FLATOW: Go to Hawaii to see the lava. Right? So they...

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah. Go to Hawaii, period.

FLATOW: Yeah. Well, let's go.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Well, it's celebrating its 50th anniversary next year.

FLATOW: I'm ashamed to say, I've never been to Hawaii. I never would be...

Ms. SCHULTZ: Well, next year would be the time to go there, so much going on, a lot celebrating the history of it, and magnificent.

FLATOW: Let's move over, please to Bridgeport, Connecticut. Hi. Welcome, Alison (ph).

ALISON (Caller): Hi. How are you today?

FLATOW: Hi there.

ALISON: Well, I never knew I was a science buff till I started going to national parks in Canada and the United States, and just found myself fascinated by the age of our earth and evolution and the entirely beautiful geological formations that you can find everywhere. And most recently, I went to the Atlantic provinces, to Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, and there I saw some creatures that have lived from the very beginning of when earth started supporting life, called Strombolites (ph).

FLATOW: Mm hmm.

ALISON: Have you heard of them?

FLATOW: Sure. Sure.

ALISON: And they're in the northwestern part of Newfoundland, on the upper peninsula. And then, also by the Bay of Fundy, where people go to watch the big tide changes. There are some amazing signs there. I was like - where the first reptile came about and, you know, lots of tourists. Gros Morne National Park also in Newfoundland has the earth's innards that have been...

FLATOW: Right. Right.

ALISON: That have been thrown up, that you can only see it usually at the bottom of the ocean. And also, they have a place right on the coast there in Gros Morne that you can take tours and guided tours and all that where they actually have the scientifically approved site of where two different epics separate, you know, in geological epics.

FLATOW: Yeah. That's great.

ALISON: So, it sounds very nerdy, and it is. When you're doing it, it's just so fascinating. You feel like you're part of something just really ancient...

FLATOW: You know, and the great part about - if you drive a little bit, it's getting a little more difficult to drive...

ALISON: Right.

FLATOW: Is there are unexpected pleasures that you discover. And I can think of one in particular. I remember the first time I drove through Colorado, around Denver in the Boulder area, there was the highway would cut right through the road, and there was an exhibition right there on the road cut.

ALISON: Right exactly.

FLATOW: Of the history of the area, you know.

ALISON: And in the Bay of Fundy where you're doing the tides that's where they find - we used to find amethyst on the beach and all that. And I just thought, those were things that were in special caves, but they're actually in the earth.

FLATOW: Yeah.

ALISON: Any specific place where, you know, the pressure was enough, the chemicals were right, that these gems were created, so it doesn't have to be in a gem...

FLATOW: Yeah.

ALISON: Normally, gemological.

FLATOW: I'll take it.

ALISON: Jewelry site, you know.

FLATOW: There you go. You know what, remember John McPhee wrote a whole book about rocks, driving across the country and just looking at the rocks.

ALISON: Oh my God, that's a soul mate of mine, I tell you. But it is just, you know, all about the people too. The people, these people were so passionate. And what was ironic was after watching the fossils of these really, creatures from the beginning of time, I turned on the radio in Canada, and there was a program about how - they didn't believe in evolution or any of it, and said that everything was not more than 6,000 years old. And I just couldn't believe it because I had just come from a place where things of millions years age were very evident, you know.

FLATOW: Yeah.

ALISON: So, I think it's important for people to...

FLATOW: The objects speak for themselves.

ALISON: Yes, they do. Thank you.

FLATOW: Thank you...

ALISON: Thank you.

FLATOW: And happy traveling. I feel like I'm doing a travel show now. Thank you, Alison.

Ms. SCHULTZ: But you are.

FLATOW: Yes, I am. And I'm sitting here with a great traveler, Patricia Schultz , author of "1,000 Places To See Before You Die in the U.S.A and Canada." You could not have gone to all these places.

Ms. SCHULTZ: No, but it's funny that that lady, girl, that had brought up Newfoundland because it's one of those really bizarre, off the grid kind of places you would never consider until somebody drags you along, and you standing with your mouth up so fascinated by the physical beauty and the human history as well because in that area of the Maritimes, they have a lot of sights that are said to be the first Viking presence in North America. The natural beauty, the wine regions, the Scottish and English history hundreds of years ago, the music and the festivals that are still alive, you know, keeping that heritage alive every summer. So, who'd have thunk it? Newfoundland, Labrador, Nova Scotia and, you know, our wonderful neighbor to the north, Canada that you just don't consider much. It's very underrated.

FLATOW: I think they kind of like it.

Ms. SCHULTZ: You think so?

FLATOW: They like some tourism because I see the ads. We're talking with Patricia Schultz author of "1,000 Places to See Before You Die in the U.S.A. and Canada" on Talk of the Nation Science Friday from NPR News. I'm Ira Flatow, we're taking your phone calls. Let's see how many more we can get in. Audrey (ph) in Fort Myers. Hi, Audrey.

AUDREY (Caller): Hi. How are you guys today? Happy Fourth.

FLATOW: You, too.

AUDREY: I just wondered if Patricia had anything in her book about the Southwest Florida region. Of course, I'm biased because I live here but there's the Thomas Edison and Ford Estate as well as the beaches and the Koreshan State Park. There's just a lot of wonderful family places to visit as well as scientific places to research and...

FLATOW: And lots of swamps to look at.

AUDREY: That's right.

Ms. SCHULTZ: I just read also that the Florida government had approved the purchase of some massive piece of land that was to be...

FLATOW: Sugar plantation.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah, yeah brought back to its original state and added on its post script to the Everglades which I think is just fascinating and again underrated. I think you need to go with the guide because otherwise it's just a big sea of grass, who will kind of bring a life, you know, the habitat what you're not seeing as well as what you're seeing on one of our more interesting national parks, and there are hundreds, one of your listeners was saying before national park system alone is magnificent. I don't think any other country in the world has preserved and recognized and acknowledged our - the wealth of natural beauty that we have.

FLATOW: Would you want to wait till maybe the winter time to come to Florida with the...

AUDREY: The winter is actually the busy season. If you come in the summer, you avoid, you know, a lot of crowds. But it's nice all-year round which is why I live here.

FLATOW: Well, thank you for calling and have a happy fourth.

AUDREY: Thanks. You, too.

FLATOW: 1-800-989-8255. Talking with Patricia Schultz, author of "1,000 Places To See Before You Die in the U.S.A. and Canada." Can there be a part of the world you're going to write about next that's not U.S.A and Canada? Patricia, are you pretty happy with this?

Ms. SCHULTZ: Oh, I'm happy - I mean, everything fascinates me, and there's such a wealth everywhere you look. I think Europe, a lot of the peripheral areas of Europe where the dollar still says something, such as the Baltic states or the Balkan countries, the former Yugoslavia Croatia, I was just there. Slovenia, magnificent, beautiful. So I'd like to, I think concentrate my attentions there. But I'll go anywhere. Why, were you thinking of something in particular?

FLATOW: No, I was - no, I was - I'd like to go to all of those. You know, and there's a lot of history of science in a lot of these places.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Everywhere. I know you don't need to look closely.

FLATOW: Nikola Tesla just jumps into my mind. You have to look him up when you go to Croatia.

Ms. SCHULTZ: We were at his home.

FLATOW: You were there?

Ms. SCHULTZ: Thank you, Ira.

(Soundbite of laughter)

Ms. SCHULTZ: We were there.

FLATOW: You're way ahead of me.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Fascinating guy.

FLATOW: Yes. He was responsible for a lot of what we have today and gets very little credit and not enough credit for it.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Well, in Croatia because I believe he gets a lot of credit. He's on the local currency and...

FLATOW: Exactly.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Every imaginable stamp.

FLATOW: Exactly. And it's hard to choose. You know, I look at your book "1,000 Places" it's hard to choose. I guess the best place - the best way to work at it is to pick out a geographical area that you wanted...

Ms. SCHULTZ: Well, it can be - we really tried to make it as user-friendly as possible because of the volume of possibilities. So you - let's say you're interested in the southwest or the northeast or the maritime provinces in Canada, you can use in that way or there are many, many, many indexes at the back of the book. Maybe it's just about coastal areas or beaches, or maybe it's just about museums. Maybe it's about natural history or the parks. So that way you can utilize the book as well because there's so much information. It's really just - I hope people find it jam packed with possibilities.

FLATOW: It is. It's - and boy, it's heavy. It's a big book.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Yeah.

FLATOW: But it's a...

Ms. SCHULTZ: I was busy.

FLATOW: Yeah. Yes, I'll bet were. I want to thank you for taking a time to be with us today, on the holiday season.

Ms. SCHULTZ: Oh, thank you very much.

FLATOW: There's Patricia Schultz, author of "1,000 Places To See Before You Die in the U.S.A and Canada." That's about all the time we have for today. We've run out of time. Greg Smith, composed our theme music. And we had help today from NPR librarian Kee Maleski. Surf over to our website, it's sciencefriday.com or you can send us mail the classic way. That's Science Friday, 4 West 43rd Street, Room 306, New York, New York 10036 and we're podcasting and blogging on sciencefriday.com. You can download our podcast on iTunes both video, we have a lot of video podcast, and get them on your iPod or just watch them on your laptop. Have a great and safe holiday weekend, fourth of July. We'll see you next week. I'm Ira Flatow in New York.

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