Dumb Questions Asked at National Parks and Tourist Attractions

Complied by Alan Silverstein, from material in Outside Magazine, May 1995, 120-21, postings to rec.backcountry newsgroup, and other sources. Contact Alan S. at ajs@hpfcajs.hp.com for any specific information on sources. If you're a teacher, you might have fun asking students to explain what is wrong (or goofy) with each of the questions. Hopefully you won't get dumb answers.

Part of Kuban's K-Paleo Place

Any National Park...

"Have we done all there is to do, or are we missing something?"
"What is there to do around here at night?"
"Is there anything interesting up the trail, or just more of the same? (trees, rocks, streams, you know)"
"Tourists to one another: "Are you seeing anything good?"
"Since there are bears here, should I keep my cat inside the tent?"

Denali National Park, Alaska

"What time do you feed the bears?"
"Can you show me where the Yeti lives?"
"How often do you mow the tundra?"
"How much does Mount McKinley weigh?"

Price William Sound, Alaska

Tourist while kayaking at sea: "What elevation are we at?"

Yosemite National Park

"Where are the cages for the animals?"
"What time do you turn on the falls?"
"Can I get my picture taken with the carving of President Clinton?"
"How long is the two hour Valley Floor Tour?"

Mammoth Cave

"How much of mammoth cave is underground?"

Grand Canyon National Park

"Do you light it up at night?
"I bought tickets for the elevator to the bottom; where is it?
"Is the mule train air conditioned?
"Are there dining cars on the mule trail?
"What time does old faithful go off? (Recall, this is Grand Canyon)
"So where are the faces of the presidents? (see above)
"Was this man-made? How did they make it?
"What year did they build this?
"Exactly why did you guys put it here?

Glacier National Park

" What does the park service do with all the animals in the winter?

Yellowstone National Park

"Does old faithful erupt at night?"
"How do you turn it on?"
"When does the guy who turns it on get to sleep?"
"Where do the animals sleep at night?"
"We had no trouble finding the park entrances, but where are the exits?"
"Do we have to leave at night before the gates are closed?"
"When do the deer turn into elk?"
"Can we eat this? (holding a handful of moose droppings that look like milk duds)"

Grand Teton National Park

"What is the white stuff up there? (pointing at snowfields)"

Mesa Verde National Park

"Did people build this, or did Indians?"
"Why did the Indians decide to live in Colorado?"
"Why did they build ruins?"
"Why did they build the ruins so close to the road?"
"What did they worskip in the kivas -- their own made up religion?"
"Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?"

Carlsbad National Caverns

"How much of this cave is underground?"
"What's in the unexplored part of the cave?"
"Does it ever rain in here?"
"How many ping pong balls would it take to fill this up?"
"So what is this, just a hole in the ground?"

Devils Tower National Monument

"Where's the entrance to the elevator?"

Lake Michigan

"What Ocean is this?"
"Are there waves on Lake Michigan?"
"But its always to cold to swim in, right?" (debateable)
"Wouldn't it be neat if they built a pipeline so we could"
use this water to irrigate our crops in California" (grrr...)

Niagra Falls

"Where can I buy a ticket for the barrel ride? "

Appalcaian Trail

"How much further does this trail go" (about 1200 miles)

Everglades National Park

"Are the alligators real?"
"Are the baby alligators for sale?"
"Where are all the rides?"
"What time does the two o'clock bus leave?"

Edinburgh, Scotland

"Do you have any photgraphs of the castle under construction?" (the castle dates back to parts of the 10th century AD).
"Can we see the original blueprints of the castle?"
"Wouldn't it have been better if they built the castle nearer the stores?"