Serial Killer’s Home Becomes Tourist Site

Dorothea Puente home
ilvadel, Flickr

Between the beaches, national parks, vineyards and theme parks, California has plenty of tourist draw cards, but now an unlikely attraction has made the list — the home of a serial killer.

The boarding house run by Dorothea Puente, a Sacramento woman convicted of killing her elderly residents, became a tourist attraction when the city decided to add the building to its local tour of featured and historic homes.

Although the building has undergone some updates in the three decades since the gruesome murders, visitors are still able to see the room where the killer drained the body fluids from her elderly victims.While the home of a serial killer may seem like a strange attraction to visit during a vacation, macabre tourist sites are nothing new. Here are a couple other dark attractions that visitors flock to:

Choeung Ek. More than one million people were slaughtered during the Khmer Rouge regime in Cambodia, and Choeung Ek is one of the most well known Killing Fields. Nearly 9,000 bodies are buried in mass graves here, and visitors can see a giant glass memorial filled with 5,000 human skulls.

Auschwitz. This World War II concentration camp in Poland saw the deaths of more than 1 million prisoners at the hands of the Nazis. Each year, millions of visitors pass through the gates of the memorial and museum located at the site.

Fukushima Nuclear Reactor. It’s not quite an attraction yet, but a proposal is being considered to turn this Japanese disaster site into a tourist destination. Tourists would stay in hotels designed to protect them from high levels of radiation and would be able to take photos of the reactor while dressed in protective suits and respirators.

Call An Ice Cream Truck On Demand Today With Uber

Today is the hottest day yet in New York City’s latest heat wave, and the summer weather is no less forgiving in many other cities in the western hemisphere. To help beat the heat, car service app Uber is offering ice cream trucks on demand, today only from 11-5 p.m. in 33 cities worldwide. The stunt is to help promote the app’s expansion to new cities in the United States and in Australia, Europe and Singapore.

Demand is expected to be high and waits may be long, but if you want to try for a truck, download the Uber app and connect with your credit card info, request the ice cream app, and wait for one to show up in your area. Prices and ice cream treats vary, average is $25 for ice cream for five people. The full list of U.S. cities includes: Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, Minneapolis/St. Paul, New York, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Sacramento, San Diego, San Francisco Bay area, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.

New to Uber cities include Miami, Portland (OR), Houston, Toronto, Sydney, Melbourne, Amsterdam, Berlin, London, Lyon, Milan, Munich, Paris, Rome, Stockholm, and Singapore. Incidentally, those are all cities where you can get a car and driver on demand anytime with Uber.

See all the details and get your ice cream on Uber’s blog.

Space Attractions Down To Earth In California

space


Space Shuttle Endeavor
arrives at the California Science Center soon and space exploration is on the minds of local and visiting space travel fans. Visitors to Los Angeles can see a variety of historical and futuristic space exhibitions and attractions within driving distance from LAX. California residents and visitors alike are rediscovering the state’s rich space-oriented past along with current places of interest that are helping charge the U.S. space program of tomorrow.

Let’s take a look at what California has to offer travelers interested in space-themed points of interest:

Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) (Pasadena) has played a major role in U.S. space exploration achievements and offers free two-hour tours of its Pasadena facility. Right now, NASA’s Mars Curiosity team is performing robotic arm tests in preparation for the rover to touch and examine its first Martian rock.

Griffith Observatory
(Los Angeles) reopened in 2007 after a four-year, $93 million renovation. The 9,000-pound Zeiss Telescope can accommodate as many as 600 viewings per night, giving visitors an unmatched view of the moon and stars on a clear Los Angeles night.

Columbia Memorial Space Center (Downey) is the national memorial for the Space Shuttle Columbia’s seven crew members, lost in 2003 but also a hands-on learning center, dedicated to bringing the wonder and excitement of space science to children of all ages.

Discovery Museum Science & Space Center (Sacramento) is home to the Challenger Learning Center and houses an animal discovery room, nature trails, wildlife pond and Sacramento’s only public planetarium. Weekend activities include animal presentations for all ages, make and take crafts, and planetarium shows.Kidspace Children’s Museum (Pasadena) has more than two-dozen interactive exhibits designed for children from ages 1 to 10. At the Museum’s Gavin Physics Forest, kids can learn first hand about what it takes to get an object into space by creating mini-bottle rockets and study gravitational acceleration with the Ball Bounce exhibit.

Space Mountain– No list of California space attractions would be complete without Disneyland’s Space Mountain, the high-speed thrill ride that has hurtled visitors into the final fun frontier since 1977.


Flickr photo by Lance Cheung

Travel or home improvement? How about travel to a home and garden show?

When I lived overseas some friends of mine, who also lived overseas, complained that when they were in the U.S. on vacation, they couldn’t relate to what excited people.

For example, one friend said that a friend of hers in the U.S. was excited about getting a new deck. My friend didn’t think that getting a new deck was exciting news. Planning an adventure vacation was exciting, however–unless you are a person who enjoys staying home enjoying a party on your new deck.

I did point out that for people who live overseas, buying items like carpets and unusual furniture can also give one that new things rush and that people like to show off at their parties. She agreed.

Once we moved back to the U.S., I discovered that we were fresh meat when it came to people trying to sell us stuff for home improvement. Let’s just say we have a whole house water improvement system that we have to feed salt, because we lived in two countries where we couldn’t drink the water. I have become more savvy since that purchase. Still, there are always home improvements that loom while we are off traveling.

This is the time of year when, now that vacation fun is fading into the past, the need to nest before winter kicks in begins to build. Somehow, each fall, I’m hooked into some “Let’s spruce up the place” endeavor. A friend who is a handy fellow is doing some plaster repair work today.

Because my friend who was less than impressed with decks has not moved back to the U.S., she is unaware that there are places to go dedicated to decks and other wonders of home improvement. Home and garden shows are a nesting bonanza. This month kicks off a flurry of fall activities geared towards getting people to focus on the place where they live.

At such shows, I’m one of those people who picks up brochures just so I can imagine what a sunroom might look like in the backyard. I won’t actually put a sunroom in the backyard, but the brochures are enticing. I also like to tour model homes and trailers. It’s not like I’d actually like to live in one, but it’s like visiting a movie set where you can imagine another kind of life.

A home and garden show, to a traveler, is a place to fantasize what your house might look like if you were ever home enough to fix it up–or what life would be like if you lived in one place.

Of course, a travel show opens up the possibilities of where you might go if you didn’t need to fix the leaky roof, or felt the draw of energy efficient windows. With some financial juggling, it is possible to take the trips and do home improvements.

The Home and Garden shows listed here are some of the ones I found for September and October.

Although there is an admission price, check local grocery stores or other venues for discount tickets. For example, the Best of Fall Show in Columbus, September 12-14 has free tickets at Krogers.

One thing I noticed about the Columbus show is that there are exhibitors specific to Ohio such as Longaberger baskets, as well as local celebrities. Chances are, if you go to a home and garden show, it’s a way to learn a bit about the state where the show is located. The one in Columbus also has travel related exhibitors which illustrates the fix up the house AND travel lifestyle.

Home and Garden Show in Canada

Toronto Home Show: September 18-21

Here’s a link to a site that lists several others. If you miss the ones this fall, there is always the spring.