Overnighting takes on a whole new meaning with visits to these unique American lodges, resorts, and B and B's. A Night at the Museum is just like the movie at the New York Smithsonian, and a room at The Winvian Resort uses a real helicopter is part of the décor. The Aurora Ice Museum is a chilly overnight experience, the Dog Bark Park Inn is a beagle shaped B and B, and The Nordic Inn is a crazy Viking-themed stay.
Americans love anything with a motor, and these experiences take full advantage. Ride a passenger jet boat up a wild river in Denali National Park, race your own RV on a dragstrip, ride your motorcycle on the mecca of roads, The Tail of the Dragon. The Richard Petty Driving Experience lets anyone experience the thrill of driving a stock car at speed, and the El Mirage Dry Lake in California is the place for hotrod speed runs. An Abbott Tank is the ultimate rental drive to scale any terrain.
What greater pastime do Americans have than eating? And often, 'the more the merrier' is the motto. All over the country pizza's, chicken wings, and hot dogs jump start the fun with massive amounts of food for each category. Size is king with the Homewrecker Hot Dog and the world's largest gummy bear. A giant steak challenges two guys, and massive burgers turn heads and stomachs at a beer barrel pub.
Lawn mower racing, snowshoe softball, an Idiot-a-Rod, a hollerin' contest, and a beard and moustache championship are just a few of the wild and crazy competitions that folks around the country take pretty darn seriously. The Warrior Dash makes a 5K race look insane with rugged terrain and wild obstacles. A snow sculpting contest gets pretty heated, and the Sunapee Slush Cup sends snow skiers across a finish line pond trying to stay upright.
Made in the USA is not just a slogan. It's about the pride of producing unique inventions, foods, and even homes that are All-American. Airstream Trailers, Louisville Slugger Bats, and Hershey's Chocolates are iconic brand names that continue their traditions. Nathan's Famous Hot Dogs define Coney Island in New York. The Maker Faire is an amazing collection of inventors, and The Tech Shop in San Francisco enables its users to build anything they can imagine. And Biltmore Estate in North Carolina is America's castle.
Toys are not just child's play. These super toys can turn any surface - water, ground, or in the air - into more fun than should be allowed. Swamp buggies carry passengers around Florida wetlands for some wild fun. The Jetlev and PowerSki Jet Board take riders under and over the water. A bulldozer and excavator become massive toys in an adult playground of construction equipment. The GXV all terrain RV is a self-sufficient big boy toy. Power Chuting makes for a great family outing in motorized para-gliders, and Robo Games are the ultimate remote-controlled super toys that try to destroy each other in a cage match.
Wild is as wild does. Huge brown bears, gators, sled dogs, monkeys, sharks, and even honeybees serve as the creatures of choice in this episode of amazing encounters in both controlled and uncontrolled environments. Travel around the country and come along on a real sled dog adventure, camp with bears in the Alaskan outback, wrestle gators, get a real shark on the line, hand feed the monkeys, and let honeybees cure the pain.
State Fairs around the country, including Iowa, Minnesota, and Texas, encompass every kind of competition you can possibly imagine from cow chip throwing to milk chug-a-lugs. A Renaissance Festival in New York is an Elizabethan throwback with jousting and heckler tomato chucking. And The National Fiery Foods Festival shows why hot sauces are hot.
Shopping in America is a never-ending pursuit, and these retail opportunities stand out. The Unclaimed Baggage Center is where those lost bag contents end up for resell, and Jungle Jim's International Market houses everything from 1400 hot sauces to a bank. Mail order businesses let folks shop for everything under the sun from home, while during the World's Longest Yard Sale folks partake in the ultimate multi-state hunt-and-pick.
We never outgrow our urge for thrill seeking as these experiences around the country demonstrate. The Human Slingshot launches riders at 4 g's. The Lake Placid Olympic ice luge track lets anyone slide down who dares. College students in Vail, Colorado created their own giant slip 'n slide in a public park, and kite surfing is the thing in Hawaii. There are amazing ziplines inside a huge cavern under the streets of Louisville, Kentucky, and the Zero G weightless experience in an airplane is as close as most of us can come to being an astronaut.
Eating out takes on new meaning at these unique dining experiences around the country. For a dining room with a view, try being hoisted up 180 feet open-air at the Crane Dinner in Miami. The Haunted Catfish Plantation features ghosts with the meal, and they aren't kidding. An ice cream parlor in New Jersey combines 50's music with their treats, and the Dixie Stampede and Medieval Times are two arena facilities that can put out the food and put on a show. And the Crooked River Dining Train gets held up by Jesse James.
Festivals can be found all around the country under endless banners of celebration. Places can be the inspiration, as with Icebox Days in International Falls, Minnesota and the Gettysburg Civil War Re-enactment. There are times of the year, as with the Solstice Festival in Fairbanks, Alaska. There's food, as with the Gilroy Garlic Festival and the National Shrimp Festival in Alabama. Critters can be the reason, as with the Mangum Rattlesnake Festival. And even mundane everyday items can inspire, as with the Duct Tape Festival in Ohio and the International Pillow Fight Day in New York.