America’s Pacific North West is home to pristine natural beauty, world class attractions and delicious West Coast cuisine.
Well, we completely avoided any of that, and headed straight for Washington’s most bizarre and off-beat places. To us, weird is wonderful, and we hope you think so too.
1. Self Kicking Machine: Rockport, Washington
For those who enjoy self inflicting pain, Rockport’s Self Kicking apparatus just might be your life’s calling. Just point your rear end at the four rotating boots, give the crank a spin, and let the punishment begin. Who knew kicking your own butt could be so much fun?
If you still haven’t had enough of a beating, turn around and give your front side a go. The women will stand up to the pain, but it will leave the men speaking an octave higher all the way home.
2. Historic Nuclear B Reactor: Hanford Nuclear Reservations Site, Washington
Nothing says romance like a visit to the world’s first nuclear reactor. You won’t be able to pick daisies for your lover here though; the ground here is so contaminated flower picking is actually illegal.
That said, a visit to the Nuclear B Reactor and its surrounding sites (9 nuclear reactors, plenty of radioactive ghost towns, and an 11 million ton nuclear waste dump) still make for a lovely radioactive afternoon. It is too bad you’ll need an American passport to see it.
Future plans for the site include haunted Halloween tours, historical re-enactments and even novelty nuclear weddings. Plutonium wedding rings not included.
3. Marsh’s Free Museum: Long Beach, Washington
Along the sprawling retail strip lining Long Beach, you’ll come across this wacky gem of a museum. A 40 year fixture of the area, a journey inside reveals a truly bizarre array of antiques, including shrunken heads, an 8 legged lamb and a cast iron sausage stuffer.
The star attraction however, is the infamous Jake the Alligator man. Half man, half gator, you’ll shudder at the sight of this reptilian beast, petrified and preserved for your viewing pleasure.
If you want a little more of the weird, just head across the street to the world’s largest frying pan. At almost 10 feet in diameter, it’s big enough to cook up even Jake himself. Gator Man, it’s what’s for dinner.
4. Nutty Narrows Squirrel Bridge: Longview Washington
Pacific Way was once a death trap for Longview’s squirrel population. As they attempted to manoeuvre across the busy intersection, they were all too often struck by passing vehicles. It may have very well been Washington’s Road Kill Capital.
Endeavouring to end the Squirrel slaughter, town resident Amos Peters spearheaded the construction of the Nutty Narrows Squirrel Bridge, which links the tall trees adjacent to the public library, to those on the opposite side of Pacific Way.
A town fixture since the 1960’s (and later since restored in 1983), its nuts to think about the number of squirrel lives this mighty crossing has saved.
5. Archie McPhee Store: Seattle Washington
Enter the Archie McPhee madness, and take your pick from the menagerie of pop culture kitsch including Tiki collectibles, radioactive caution bags and hula girl dashboard toppers.
Sure, you could order things like full-size latex mummies, monster robots, and Jesus action figures over the web, but Archie McPhees is the only store where you can experience them all in the same place.
Put simply, this is retail therapy for the weird, the wacky and the downright insane.