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Weirdest Tourist Traps Even the Locals Love in South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa

I don't know if everyone will agree with the writers at Thrillist Travelabout which tourist attractions are the weirdest in the tri-state area.

I mean there are so many strange things to see when you travel. From giant pheasants and fish to giant balls of twine, there's no shortage of kooky, kitsch in the tri-state area.


 

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What Did South Dakota's License Plate Look Like the Year You Were Born?

The first number on a South Dakota license plate is the county that the car is registered. For example, Pennington county where Rapid City is has a '2' starting its plates. In Sioux Falls you have either a '1' or a '44' depending on your relationship to 57th street.

When established in 1956 (and revised in 1987) the first nine counties were ordered by population. Starting with 10 they are in alphabetical order through Ziebach, with Oglala Lakota County (65) and Todd (67) rounding out the list.

Today the top 10 plate numbers and populations don't correlate anymore. 1 and 2 are still 1 and 2, but Lincoln (44) is now 3rd in population. Beadle is 4 but it's now 11th in population. See the list by population here.

On January 1, 2023, South Dakota started issuing a new license plate design for license plates.

So, let's take a look back at what South Dakota license plates looked like over the last 100 years.


The South Dakota "touristy trap" pick may be undeniable.

I don't know if everyone will agree with the writers at Thrillist Travelabout which tourist attractions are the weirdest in the tri-state area.

I mean there are so many strange things to see when you travel. From giant pheasants and fish to giant balls of twine, there's no shortage of kooky, kitsch, in the tri-state area.

According to the traveling writers at Thrillist, the strangest roadside attraction in South Dakota is. . .Wall Drug.

Its sheer size was enough for them to name it that, but wait they had more, (mostly positive) stuff to say.

It's a city-sized paragon of Western kitsch.- -Thrillist

They noted that even if you wanted to miss it, you couldn't because you would probably need gas anyway and its outlandish size would draw you in.

An actual drug store, where you can get a prescription filled and also see a gigantic animatronic dinosaur or cowboy band, peruse Native American art, eat an open-face turkey sandwich, play in a shooting gallery, or snap a photo with a jackalope.- -Thrillist

All of this being said- -they loved it.

Wall Drug
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In Iowa, the choice may not seem so obvious.

They went with the Riverside, Iowa, Voyage Home Riverside History Center.

It is better known as the future birthplace of Star Trek's Captain James Tiberius Kirk!

While they first claimed the Starship Enterprise captain in 1985, the museum didn't open its doors until 2008- -Thrillist

Trekkies have made this a must-stop location for Star Trek collectibles of all kinds and of course the Star Trek Festival every summer.

The globally celebrated captain's date of birth (March 22, 2228) is engraved on a monument behind the hair salon at the museum building. And of course, this Star Trek-esque sort of sculpture is located out front.

Voyage Home Riverside History Center
Google Street view and Canva
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Finally, when it comes to Minnesota's, they have the Green Giant or the World's Biggest Paul Bunyan statue, a giant ball of twine - - so it was kind of surprising that they chose the Spam Museum in Austin, Minnesota.

But as a lifelong lover of Spam, to me, it is a triumph for the little tin can of mystery meat!

Within its walls, you'll find out the history of SPAM, including its massive cultural cache in island diasporas. You will be tempted to buy an ironic T-shirt or register as a SPAMbassador. --Thrillist

Spam Museum, Austin Minnesota
Google Street View and Canva
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Source: Thrillist Travel

 

 

 

 

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