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A Geeky Guide to the Scientific Wonders of North America

From geological mysteries to atomic age attractions, Science Friday highlights 30 places every science nerd should visit.

To scientists and the curious-minded, the world can be a lot like a laboratory, with scientific wonders hiding in the most unexpected places.

In an inconspicuous, working fire station in Livermore, California, you can view a lightbulb that has been burning for 112 years. Along the cliffsides near Lake Superior, you can hike to a disappearing waterfall that baffles both researchers and Minnesotans. Standing in Chichen Itza, Mexico, you can bask before the ancient ruins of a Mayan astronomy observatory. These are a few scientific secrets highlighted by the public radio show Science Friday.

To add a spark of scientific wonder to your summer vacation, Science Friday spoke with Atlas Obscura’s Dylan Thuras and Ella Morton who shared some of their favorite nerdy spots in North America. SciFri staff and listeners also pitched in peculiar places in the Atlas, from radio silent zones to petrified forests.


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Field, Canada

Yoho National Park

Fossils, railroads, and waterfalls!
51.3956, -116.4865
West Windsor Township, New Jersey

Monument to the War of the Worlds

Eight foot high bronze monument where the now infamous "Tripods" crash landed in the radio version of "War of the Worlds."
40.3132, -74.6055
Petrified Wood
Holbrook, Arizona

Petrified Forest National Park

Discover fossils that are over 200 million years old in northeastern Arizona.
34.8158, -109.8649
Welch Springs Ruins
Van Buren, Missouri

Welch Spring Hospital Ruins

Once an ambitious nature spa these forest ruins now provide a serene monument to failure.
37.0004, -91.0166
Are we missing a place from this list?