America’s Most Overlooked Tourist Attractions

August 21, 2009

Sure, we’ve all heard about Mt. Rushmore, Disneyland, the Amityville Horror house, birthplace of Sinbad, etc. but what about those great attractions right under our noses? (Note: if you are currently doing blow off someone’s ass, please ignore the following and continue on,  good sir or madam. You obviously need no advice on how to have fun.)

Fancy Plans would like to take this opportunity to point out a few of the many scattered vacation spots that are criminally underrated. (Again: not you, coke fiend and “special friend.” Your experience, while definitely criminal could never be considered underrated.)

Detroit: cornering the market on "ramshackle"

Detroit: cornering the market on "ramshackle"

Highland Park, MI Ghost Town
Enjoy the thrill of touring an abandoned town without all the intrusive history lessons or costumed tour guides making the most of their failed acting careers by pretending it isn’t 2009.

See $1 homes! View rusting Motor City relics! Enjoy a “vintage” 8-Mile rap battle! Watch Jack White assault various members of the Von Bondies! Man the light switch during a thrilling reenactment of the “Detroit Rock City Exodus!”

Note: Although the tour is free, the tour guide may, at some point, ask for a donation of your wallet, camera, jewelry or other valuables, often at gunpoint.

Hell yeah! Nothing but American cars and flags as far as the eye can see (20 feet - glaucoma)

Hell yeah! Nothing but American cars and flags as far as the eye can see (20 feet - glaucoma)

Codgerville, USA
Centrally located in Kansas (less than 8 hours by bus to Branson, MO!), Codgerville USA provides a pitch perfect representation of America: the way it used to be. Although great care has been taken to include the things you love (Beechman’s Gum, asbestos, doctors recommending cigarettes), Codgerville, USA is really more about what it doesn’t contain.

A short list of what you won’t find:

  • Multiple races
  • Foreign vehicles
  • Multiplexes
  • Art that my 3-year old grandchild could make
  • Excessive swearing
  • Black presidents
  • Back sass
  • Hats at the dinner table
  • An effective polio vaccination

Enjoy the pride of Codgerville, USA: a moving sidewalk which travels in the opposite direction of your gait, thus allowing you (and whatever descendants you’re torturing) to walk uphill in both directions to any attraction!

Note: microwaves in use.

Another historical haul for Gary's museum

Another historical haul for Gary's museum

Harrison County Reservoir Museum
Located in Gary Stuckett’s garage and outlying sheds, this museum boasts America’s largest collection of items retrieved from the drainage gates of any American dam or other water retention system.

Some highlights include:

  • 1,700+ beer cans in 38 different varieties (“mainly Natty Light“)
  • 1,250+ soda cans and bottles (“mainly RC and Diet Coke“)
  • 440+ empty chip bags (“split between Ruffles and generics“)
  • 128 diapers (“if you need to change your kid, just toss it on the pile“)
  • 2 sofas (“not in that bad a shape, believe it or not“)
  • 94 tires (“not a single complete set, dang it“)
  • 3 dead bodies (“fortunately, I’ve also come across nearly 300 pine tree air fresheners“)

Gary’s guided museum tour is normally available from 8am – 6pm weekdays and Saturdays (“Sunday’s for Gary“), which is full of delightful personal notes (“about half of those Natural Light cans are mine“) and horrifying details (“just couldn’t keep that body from floating once it swole up from the heat“).

Those fortunate enough to catch Gary in a sober moment will enjoy the added bonuses of their tour guide being both fully dressed (“normally the summer months will find me going “commando” under the bathrobe“) and less prone to rant about his many unanswered letters to the Guinness Book of World Records (“hell, I even drank their damn beer!“).

Hanna-Barbera Studios: picturesque as fuck

Hanna-Barbera Studios: picturesque as fuck

Hanna-Barbera Studios
Located in sunny Studio City, CA, the Hanna-Barbera Studios are the perfect vacation for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of places like Disneyland or Detroit. Lots to see and do here including these favorites:

  • See how over 70 different cartoons were made using only one background and three frames of animation
  • Get the real story behind the bizarre “now you hear, now you don’t” Scooby-Doo laugh track
  • Get the real story behind what the hell they were laughing at, because the show never really had any punchlines to speak of
  • Enjoy the William H. Hanna Library of Erotic Betty and Wilma Fan Fiction
  • Examine the Jetsons and their dystopian future that never was
  • Watch Captain Caveman hit on your wife/girlfriend
  • Get away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids
The RIAA Stables: no musical enjoyment allowed

The RIAA Stables: no musical enjoyment allowed

RIAA Lawyer Farms – Ashland, KY
Enjoy the rolling hills of Ashland, KY, home of the world famous RIAA stables. The RIAA’s amazing breed of free-range lawyers are allowed to roam the countryside, feeding on the tears and confusion of senior citizens and preteens.

Be sure and stop by the RIAA Cafe, where the whole family can enjoy a delightful meal at a not-at-all outlandish or ridiculous price.

Note: all diners subject to pre-meal strip search. All orders are 1-to-a-plate. No sharing. Soda refills – $0.99-$1.29/ea. An automatic 20% gratuity has been added to your bill for lobbying fees. Parties over 1 subject to additional fees from ASCAP.

Thorogood models a pair of Limited Edition Snakeskin Zubaz

Thorogood models a pair of Limited Edition Snakeskin Zubaz

George Thorogood’s Birthplace, Wilmington, DE
Many, many things to see and do here, preferably while on a Jack Daniels bender, shouting “WOOOOOOO!!! ROCK AND FUCKIN’ ROLLLLLLLL!!!!” the whole time. Become as “bad to the bone” as is humanly possible while 45 and balding during these tour highlights:

  • See 47 miles of barbed wire!
  • Buy a cobra-snake necktie! Just $99.99 at our gift shop!
  • See our fancy new roadside digs, done up in faux-rattlesnake skin!
  • Thrill to our “human skull” chimney, which stands over our brick pizza oven!
  • Don’t forget to pick up a rattlesnake whip! ($179.99)

Note: please do not answer George’s drunken and somewhat rhetorical questions about where your affections lie. Also, please keep in mind that we will not tolerate any attitude or mouthiness from visitors, so take it easy.

Pre-production look at "The Nelson Family Visits Niagara Falls"

Pre-production look at "The Nelson Family Visits Niagara Falls"

Roadside Attraction Land
Why run all over the country looking for that perfect photo opportunity? Come to our studios, located safely inside the city limits. Out “vacationeers” have a variety of costumes and props to make your visit to any non-licensed tourist destination (sorry folks, no Disneyland) look and feel authentic.

Put yourself and your loved ones into any of these classic vacation hot spots with our almost-cutting edge green screen technology:

  • A redwood forest
  • The St. Louis Arch
  • Birthplace of Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • A Kansas wheat field
  • A waterfall
  • Austin, MN’s Spam Museum
  • Enron Field
  • Tijuana “donkey show”
  • The Mall of America (three backdrops: Gap Main Floor, Gap 2nd Floor, Spencer’s 3rd Floor)
  • Main Street, USA
  • Main Street, New Delhi
  • Super 8 Motels, Omaha, NE
  • The Grassy Knoll
  • Las Vegas (non-Strip attractions)
  • Downtown Los Angeles (Toronto)
  • Downtown Chicago (Vancouver)
  • That “Field of Dreams” field
  • Somali pirate ship
  • Grayline Tour Bus
  • Penelope Ann Spheeris’ backyard

So make your vacation a restful “staycation” and put those bitch, ungrateful kids in their place. An average session lasts two hours, leaving your free to spend your remaining vacation doing the things you really want to, like mowing the lawn, tracking down that smell in the basement or wandering the office in your shorts.

For other vacation news, in particular the Branson, MO metroplex, click here:
2009 Calendar of Events for Branson, MO



  1. Thank-you for this plethora of information, CLT.

    Where can I sign up to see that $1 house? Seriously, I think it would look just perfect enveloping my .75 Value Village matching love seat and ottoman. Well, to be honest, it was originally $1.50, but they gave me a 50% discount because the cushions needed to be replaced. (the previous owner was a Sunday school teacher who didn’t “practice what she preached”).

    As for the real story behind the bizarre Scooby-Doo laugh track, when I was five I wrote a letter to Hannah myself, asking if there was “some inside joke I was missing out on”. As a response, I got an autographed “Scrappy” poster (the worst character on the show thanks to his lame “Puppy Power” and “Lemme at ‘em I’ll splat ‘em!” catchphrases) and two tickets to see them perform in the Ice Capades.

    So if you do happen to find out the answer to that question please let me know. I spent years thinking of myself as the kid who “just didn’t get it”.

    Oh, and just out of curiousity, how tall do you have to be to ride the Grassy Knoll? My sister’s birthday is coming up, but she started smoking at age three and never broke the 4’11 mark…

    • Thank you for the plethora of questions, bschooled.

      $1 Houses – All over Detroit and close-in suburbs. At this point, you should be able to hit the nearest safe ATM (Lansing, probably) and then clean up in the real estate market, showering multi-colored bills everywhere as you snatch up prime properties like Baltic Avenue and Mediterranean Blvd. Like the ad says “Bring yo’ own muthafuckin’ furniture.”

      Scooby-Doo – The closest thing I got to an answer was being hotboxed in a studio apartment with Scooby Doo on the 9″ B&W. As far as I can tell, everything about the show was funny and the laugh track was missing most of this rich vein of comic gold. Note: despite the heavy air, no one laughed at Scrappy.

      Grassy Knoll – As soon as they pass their school markmanship test, they are free to ride the Grassy Knoll. Judging from the smoking age, I would wager your sister was raised in West Virginia or Virginia Proper. Proper “shootin’ age” can be as low as 3 (legal age for purchase of cigarettes from hotel lobby vending machine).

      Thanks so much for the great comments, bschooled.

  2. My point exactly…in my mind Shaggy was comically gifted (the only thing holding me back from wanting to marry him was his voice and inability to shave properly) and Scooby was right there beside him, delivering the one-two punch like any loyal canine would.It was just never in synch with the LT, which is why I figured that either a) I was learning-disabled, or b) the joke was really on me.

    (And most likely why I now think it’s always about me)

    Oh, and trust me, there ain’t nothing “proper” about my sissy….

    Thanks for the great posts, CLT.:)

  3. I pretty sure the boundaries of Codgerville extend at least four states in any cardinal direction.

    You won’t find a servicable cheesesteak either.

    Okay, I am going to bed.

    • They should change it to “centrally located in the Midwest” to cover all the bases. And as for servicable cheesesteak, I would imagine a road trip to Philly is called for. Something that most codgers just aren’t up for.

      Get some rest, FJ. Great to see you.

  4. Codgerville is Don Mills’ home town isn’t it? Or was he just the mayor and founder?

    • I believe Don came from those parts. He certainly has a codger-like air about him. They were always suspicious of outsiders because they hadn’t been living there for thirty years or so. Even after that, they would point out that “30 years is great and all, but we’ve been here twice as long.”

      He was also briefly elected mayor of Branson, MO after a rabble-rousing live appearance.


      I believe Don hails from Puppy Mills, MA. Hence the nickname.

      Great to see you, Claire. Thanks for stopping in.

  5. Oh Codgerville,

    Such wonderful memories. Unfortuanately they went “commercial” and reduced the minimum age requirement from 80 to 65. The place went downhill from there.

    (Plus they adjusted the “you must be this stooped to enjoy this ride” sigb to allow the more upright oldsters access).

    I turned in my seasons pass some time ago.

    Great post CLT. You’re on a real roll!

    • Don,

      You’ve nailed it with Codgerville. Like every tourist trap, it soon lowers its standards and tries to grab a buck from everybody.

      Just like Las Vegas, and to a lesser extent, Reno. Used to be nothing but mobsters and hookers. Now it’s chain restaurants and hookers.

      Nothing like negotiating a little “half-and-half” over some Veal Osso Buco at the Bellagio.

      Great comment, Don. And thanks for the compliments. I’m adding that “too stooped” line to the bingo hall entrance.

  6. I was unable to read this blog, due to the fact of snorting cocaine off my own ass, (go Yoga!) I did however enjoy the pictures.

    • Thanks for noticing the photos, RR. And great work with the ass-cocaine. Many of us have dreamed about having the same experience, but I doubt many of us have had several ribs removed to make it possible.

      BTW, are the pictures still as clever upside-down. If not, I’ll try to find something more horizontially symmetrical for the next post.

      Great to see you, RR. I’m headed over to your place in a moment. I’ll bring my own cocaine. And ass.

  7. The Ass… keeping cocaine snorting a “personal thing” since 831 A.D.

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