The website Atlas Obscura, which showcases the world's quirkiest wonders, has only been around for a decade. And in that time, the company has visited and catalogued more than 20,000 places.
Since 2016, Atlas Obscura has published a selection of these places in a printed book. Now, the company has embarked on its second print edition of Atlas Obscura: An Explorer’s Guide to the World’s Hidden Wonders, which includes more than 100 new places.
Dylan Thuras is one of the co-authors of the book, and a co-founder of Atlas Obscura. Thuras admits that the Internet and the accessibility of information can make it seem like people already know everything about the world.
"The world does feel small now. We know what’s happening in every corner of the globe — or we think we do. And all this information is at our finger tips. But in reality, the world is still very, very big and filled with more things than we can ever imagine," he explains.
Thuras is a native of Minnesota. He credits his trips to oddball locales in Wisconsin as part of the inspiration for what is now his life's work. The print edition includes places in Wisconsin like Kovac Planetarium, the House on the Rock, and Dr. Evermor's Forevertron. Thuras says that selecting these places is more of an art than a science.
"It's really about how you look at a place, in a lot of ways. And there is no one set of criteria. It's a little bit, 'You know it when you see it.' You are looking for something that has an element of surprise, that makes you feel like the world is a little bigger than you had previously thought, a little stranger," he explains.
Thuras is presenting the second print edition of Atlas Obscura: An Explorer's Guide to the World's Hidden Wonders at UW-Milwaukee's American Geographical Society Library on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.