Editor's note: This piece was originally published on Sept. 27, 2018.
The website, Atlas Obscura, takes visitors to exotic and unusual sites around the world. It connects travelers with other would-be travelers, and features unique tourist destinations in all corners of the globe (15,000 attractions, at last count).
Last year, Atlas Obscura expanded to include a real atlas. And this month, expanded once again to include a book that shares unique places with a younger audience. The Atlas Obscura Explorers’ Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid is co-authored by one of the co-founders of the site, Dylan Thuras.
While you might imagine that a life of exploring far-flung destinations led to Thuras' fascination with all things unusual, the Midwestern native actually credits childhood roadtrips for setting his wheels in motion. In fact, Thuras still holds a fondness for one such destination: Wisconsin's House on the Rock.
He says, "I still credit it as one of America’s weirdest places. And it’s funny, because it’s a place that either at some point you are screaming for an exit, you’re, like, 'Get me out of here.' Or you’re like, this is a wonderland - I can’t believe how incredible it is. For me, it’s like, 'This is a wonderland.'"
Atlas Obscura has several articles on Milwaukee itself, including its list of 16 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Milwaukee and 12 Quirky Treasures of Milwaukee. And like everything on the website, these articles focus on the unusual things that make the city unique.
By focusing on the peculiar, Thuras says he hopes to transfer his own sense of wonder to his readers, old and young.
"When you look at bioluminescence in the world and you look at fireflies or the larval fungus gnats in Waitomo Caves in New Zealand, where it looks like this sort of constellation on the ceiling - that is magic," he says. "I mean, that is genuinely like, ripped from the pages of a fantasy novel... Our world has that kind of magic, but we have to engage with it."