Our planet Earth has so many awe-inspiring travel destinations it would be impossible for one person to visit them all in a single lifetime. Each and every country offers stunning natural and man-made sights to behold. Selecting a unique travel destination ultimately narrows down to personal appeal of the traveler.  A budding archeologist could travel to see a bone-yard from the dinosaur age. A naturalist could spend a blissful time at an amazing bird watching site. Let’s take a journey to four uniquely distinct travel destinations that will undeniably endow a happy traveler with wonderful memories to keep and amazing stories to share.

Our first travel destination is a very unique nature center on the island of Trinidad and Tobago in the West Indies. With over 450 species of tropical birds and 600 species of butterflies, the Asa Wright Nature Centre has spectacular bird-watching areas and breathtaking hiking trails. Newcombe Wright and his wife Asa, amateur ornithologists themselves, purchased a run-down coffee-citrus-cocoa plantation shortly after World War II.

In 1967, the nature center, with over 1,500 acres, was created with the stipulation that it would be protected tropical rainforest land forever. Visitors to the center are able to see over 2,300 kinds of flowering plants, many of which are different varieties of orchids. The Birding Veranda, a roofed-over screened-in porch situated on one side of the estate house, has sitting stools on which to look out over the tree tops at amazingly colorful birds such as the Turquoise Tanager and the Orange-winged Parrot. King Vultures, White-tipped Doves and Ruby-topaz Hummingbirds are also among the tropical birds that inhabit the island. The Asa Wright Nature Centre tops the list of unique travel destinations.

Our next stop is the island of Grenada which is only 73 nautical miles from Trinidad and Tobago. The wonder to behold here is the Underwater Sculpture Park created by Jason deCaires Taylor.  Similarly to the goal of the Asa Wright Nature Centre, Mr. Taylor has successfully created a way to bring back and preserve the underwater storm-damaged marine world of the shallow waters off the coast of Grenada.

While it is not uncommon for coastal communities to create man-made reefs to encourage the growth of marine life, it is most uncommon and unsurpassed what Jason has accomplished. His underwater sculpture groups such as the “Grace Reef” (statues based upon 16 local women), and Vicissitudes” (16 children in a circle holding hands) celebrate the cohabitation of art imitating life and the marine creatures who live in and around the art itself. Visitors to the site can view the life-like sculpture of the person who is using a typewriter while sitting at a desk either up close as a diver or by using snorkel gear. Above water there are glass-bottomed boats through which one can see the magnificent human-like statue and the living coral growing on top of the desk. The Underwater Sculpture Park in Grenada is an unequalled travel destination to see a man-made creation interacting with nature.

From Grenada we are going to travel approximately 2, 600 miles to the west and about 68,000 years back in time. Our unique travel destination is Waco Mammoth Site in Waco, Texas, United States.  Pre-historic Columbian mammoth bones are the colossal attraction at this dig site. The first bone was discovered by accident by two boys who were scouting the area for fossils and arrowheads.  They took the bone to the Baylor University where it was examined by staff members of the Strecker Museum. Over the course of the next 12 years a total of 16 mammoth remains were excavated. The diggers thought they were done. But wait, there’s more! Seven more years worth of digging rewarded them with six more mammoth skeletons. What an amazing find!

In 2009, the site became open to the public with the help of the Waco Mammoth Foundation. Visitors have the unique opportunity to view a portion of the dig site from a platform suspended from the ceiling of the building encompassing the site.  To this day it is unclear how the mammoths died en masse. Some scientists believe a massive flood event trapped the animals in a river bed. In any case, it is a trip back in time worth taking to see the Waco Mammoth Site in Waco, Texas.

Finally, the last stop on our journey to unparalleled travel destinations is the Lava Beds National Monument located in Siskiyou County in northern California, United States. Established in 1924, the monument is both a historic and geological landmark. In 1872-1873 the Modoc Indians found a large lava formation to use as a stronghold as they fought with the US Army.

A live volcano would be an amazing tourist attraction if we could only get close enough to experience the explosive bursts of lava shooting out of the crater. At the Lava Beds National Monument visitors get to see the next best things: spatter cones, lava tubes, chimneys and cinder buttes formed by the lava as it was spewed out of the volcano thousands of years ago.

When the Medicine Lake Volcano last erupted about 1,000 years ago, the lava boiled, bubbled, spattered and flowed.  The lava flows left behind lava tubes that in some cases have since collapsed exposing the inside of the tube to be a cave-like structure. The hot lava bubbled and spattered out of chimneys and cones that are still standing today.  Lava Beds National Monument gives its tourists a glimpse of some of the ingredients that make up our planet from the inside out.

We’ve traveled to four uniquely different destinations. Each one has its own individual characteristics to hold the attention of even the most seasoned traveler. There are many diverse attributes within each landscape or locality, climate or culture, ecosystem or economy, season or scenery and all are unique in their own way. Traveling to see uncommon people, places and things takes preparation and imagination. To get where you’re going you need to prepare for the journey. To get the fullest enjoyment once you arrive at your destination you need to use your imagination. What was it like when mammoths roamed the earth? Who were the people that created this paradise? Enjoy your trip!