Great Attractions

The World’s Tallest Wooden Skyscraper

Towering over this termite's dream town is a 144-foot (44-meter) wooden sky scrapper.

Where else would the world’s highest wooden house be located other than “The Wooden City” (which, as the arboreally astute among you may know, is Archangelsk, Russia)?

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New Zealand’s Best Hot Springs
& Geothermal Sites

Waiotapu is Maori for "Sacred waters" but we think this place should have been named for whatever the Maori translation is for "Incredibly photogenic place."

If you’ve seen the Lord Of The Rings movies you’ve seen a glimpse what a beautiful country New Zealand is, with its awesome fjords, its stunning coast line, its dense forests and its Mountains of Mordor. What you didn’t see is that, after those long horse rides and rough battles, the citizens of Middle Earth are able to spend time touring geothermal sites and relaxing in hot springs. Here are our four favorite:

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(Legally) Spend The Night In A Museum

Do you usually find the experience of visiting a museum:

    A) so dull that you want to fall asleep; or
    B) so interesting that you don’t want to leave at the museum’s closing time.

Either way, you could benefit from a museum that provides visitors a place to sleep. Here’s our rundown of five museums where you can spend the night among the art galleries and science exhibits:

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Cool Caribbean: Dominica

Many people, even those well-traveled, have never heard of the rugged, tropical nation of Dominica. Tourism does not dominate here in the way it does many other small Caribbean islands where development often crowds out ecological concerns. Much of Dominica is green, wild and untouched. No wonder Dominica was chosen as the filming location for the “remote feeling” outdoor scenes of Pirates Of the Caribbean.

If you are looking for a Caribbean destination with magnificent diving, fantastic hiking and lush jungles, you should choose Dominica too. The natural beauty of this place makes it one of Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite island nations. Spend some time here and you’ll come away wondering why more people haven’t heard of this paradise.

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5 Cool Buildings Made of Shipping Containers

Shipping containers. You’ve seen them on trains, on the back of trucks, at ports and piled onto cargo ships. There more than 20 million of those steel 40 by 8 feet (12 by 2.4 meter) boxes scattered around the world. That’s more than were needed even before the current economic slowdown. Today, as many as one million shipping containers may be sitting around unused. The surplus is especially profound in the United States, northern Europe and China.

Given the planet’s excess of shipping containers and shortage of affordable housing it only makes sense that people would make the connection. “Container architecture” has become a specialty in itself. The benefits are obvious: Containers are relatively cheap (around US$1,200~1,500 each). They are, by definition, portable. And they are durable (made to survive rough treatment and resist salt corrosion). A container house can be built, on average, 40% faster than a comparably sized traditional house. And then there’s the environmental benefit of putting surplus containers to use instead of letting them slowly rust in a landfill.

Thousands buildings made of shipping containers are today being uses for offices, stores, restaurants and private residences. There are several excellent books documenting the most interesting among them. Here are five shipping container buildings we think are especially cool:

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The World’s Longest Pedestrian Bridge, Kind Of

Imagine being at a shopping mall. And then hopping on a cable car for a 15-minute ride. And then getting off of the cable car and finding yourself on a long walkway that’s all of 1.8 meters (6 feet) wide, suspended high above a green jungle, with virtually no signs of human existence except for the walkway beneath your feet and the cable car you arrived on.

That’s what it’s like the visit Malaysia’s Langkawi Sky Bridge.

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The Island of Miracles

Once upon a time, fishermen off of the Greek island of Siphnos noticed a glow under the Aegean Sea. When they trolled the spot they were amazed at what their nets brought up: a statue of the Virgin Mary.

The fishermen brought the Virgin Mary icon to Chryssopigi, a small seventeenth-century monastery church on Siphnos located at the end of a spit of land jutting out into the sea. The Virgin of the Golden Spring soon came to be regarded as the protector of the island.

The Virgin’s protective powers were evidenced several years later when pirates, who regularly made life miserable for residents of islands in the Aegean, stormed the Siphnos shore chasing a group of nuns who were on their way to the Chryssopigi monastery. The nuns prayed as they ran with the pirates close behind. As the nuns reached the church containing the Virgin there was a great rumble, the neck of land connecting the church to the main island split open, and the pirates fell into the sea.

And that’s how Siphnos came to be known as The Island of Miracles.

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Museum Art That’s So Bad It’s Good

Spot Cool Stuff is, shall we say, “challenged” when it comes to the visual arts. Drawing, painting, sculpting—we’re terrible at them all. No self-respecting museum would ever consider putting one of our artworks on display. No museum except for one: MoBA.

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