Hey, there’s nothing wrong with a straightforward excursion or a tasty but simple food tour. But weaving a few atypical experiences into the mix also makes for an interesting trip. Whether you’re looking to learn the art of foraging, wander through hidden spaces or turn a museum visit into a scavenger hunt, we’ve got you covered with the following five quirky tours worth the trip.
Central Park welcomes over 25 million visitors each year, though most of those people have no idea that they’re walking past bushes and trees sprouting with delicious eats.
And while it’s illegal to go foraging on your own, you can do it legally on a tour with Steve Brill, aka the “Wildman.”
His vegan-friendly excursions take place all over New York City, especially the very popular Central Park. Here, you’ll wander for four hours, digging up burdock (so bring a shovel), snacking on common plantains (who knew these were so tasty?) and plucking beans from a Kentucky coffee-tree (which are a delicious ingredient in homemade truffles).
Not only will you leave with bags and containers of edible plants; you’ll get to sample Steve’s conscious creations.
A few fan favorites: vegan beef jerky, plantain chips and homemade pesto.
Chicago Detours offers this three-hour tour as a way to show guests how the World’s Columbian Exposition still fascinates, despite taking place over 100 years ago!
You can think of it as a quirky architectural tour, as while you’ll be introduced to gorgeous design, but you’ll also be doing so much more than photographing buildings.
First of all, a nice chunk of this tour involves you going into spaces to complete scavenger hunts and solve puzzles. Moreover, some exclusive experiences include riding one of downtown’s only remaining human-operated elevators as well as heading into an alley to find a hidden 19th-century building.
As Chicago Detours likes to put it, the experience is “7% outdoors, 95% indoors, 20% clue-based games and visual scavenger hunts, 10% drinking time, and 100% awesome historical tour time.” The fact that this math doesn’t add up is just a clue into how much fun you’ll have.
Bonus: You can take your Sherlock Holmes cap off and enjoy some adult beverages as there are drink stops, too.
Have you ever wanted to experience the thrill of joining a professional crew of seafarers as they set out on the Mississippi Gulf to catch shrimp? Even if you haven’t, it’s something to consider, as there’s a tour worth the trip that allows you to do just this.
The unique 70-minute cruise takes place aboard the Sailfish. Along with having any and every question you’ve ever had about shrimp answered, you’ll see exactly how shrimp end up from the water to your plate. And that includes savoring the day’s catch Mississippi Gulf Coast Style. Yum!
It’s an interesting way to get a glimpse into local culture while learning something new and dining on a delicious meal.
Many cities have ghost tours; but how many do you know that do a ghost and vampire combo tour with real historians.
The answer: New Orleans.
French Quarter Phantoms refers to their guides as Master Storytellers, and have degrees in History, Forensic Anthropology, Music, Education, Literature and Theater. Instead of memorizing a script, each guide bases their scary excursion on their favorite well-researched stories of folklore, murders and sinister historical accounts that will put a shiver up your spine.
These aren’t ghost stories; they’re true accounts. So, sleep tight — if you can — after this hour-and-45-minute experience. Not only do they have a Certificate of Excellence on TripAdvisor, but guests get 2-for-1 Hurricane cocktails the hour prior to the tour!
And you thought the museum was no place for playtime.
Watson Adventures turns that idea on its head, taking guests into some of the USA’s finest institutions — as well as neighborhoods and famous attractions — to solve mysteries from ‘who done it?’ murders to searching for magical wizards and more.
These tours provide an offbeat way to explore hot spots like The Met (NYC), the Philadelphia Museum of Art (Philadelphia) and Chinatown (San Francisco).
Note: Available plans and coverages may have changed since this blog was published.
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Jessica Festa is a full-time travel writer who is always up for an adventure. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia and doing orphanage work in Ghana. You can follow her adventures on her travel websites, Epicure & Culture and Jessie On A Journey. You can also connect with Jessica directly on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus, or follow her epicurean adventures on Facebook and Twitter.
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