Gary is currently in Gerona, Cataluña (Nov 26th, 2014)
 

Search Form

Seven Wonders of America

When the New Seven Wonders of the World came out, I added my two cents. I have even done the Seven Wonders of the Philippines. (and will be soon coming out with the wonders of Japan and Australia). I recently (as in a few minutes ago) found out the Good Morning America came out with the Seven Wonders of America.

I couldn’t resist.

Here is the list they came up with:

7) New York City
6) Golden Gate Bridge
5) Saturn V Rocket
4) The Badlands (South Dakota)
3) Grand Canyon
2) Arctic National Wildlife Preserve
1) National Mall (Washington DC)

New York City???? (that should be said in the same voice as the El Paso Salsa commercials) If New York as an entity gets to be included, why not San Francisco? Why do they just get a bridge? My guess is they couldn’t choose between the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building and Time Square, so they just lumped them all together. I agree that New York should probably be represented on such a list, but putting the whole city on it really is sort of cheap.

Golden Gate Bridge I really can’t argue with this. It isn’t the longest bridge in the world anymore, but it is was the first of its type and is still a huge icon for the Bay Area and all of California.

Saturn V Rocket My biggest argument against this is that I didn’t think of it. Usually you think of places or buildings. The Saturn V is pretty damn cool, but the only Saturn V which currently exists is a shell sitting on the ground in Huntsville, Alabama. If you are going to include vague non-place type things, I’d just include the entire Apollo program. If you wanted to make it a place, perhaps include the Kennedy Space Center or the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum (which is technically included in #1 on the GMA list).

The Badlands I’ve been to the Badlands several times. I like the Badlands. However, it doesn’t belong on this list. I can’t say I’d rate it over half a dozen other national parks, including: Yellowstone, Yosemite, Volcanoes, Everglades, Zion, Arches, Arcadia, Denali, or even Theodore Roosevelt in North Dakota. Hell, I’d put the Black Hills ahead of it for the Seven Wonders of South Dakota.

Grand Canyon Duh. This is probably the most significant natural feature in the US. It should probably be #1.

Arctic National Wildlife Preserve If it weren’t for the oil drilling controversy, there is no way in hell this would be #2. No way. I won’t deny that there is some sort of grandeur to the place, but that doesn’t mean it should be put at #2. Hell, even the National Park Service hasn’t given it National Park status. It lacks the geologic and historical significance of Yellowstone or Yosemite, neither of which are on the list.

National Mall I can’t argue with this being on the list, but I really don’t see it being #1. You can easily spend several days exploring what amounts to less than one square mile in Washington. If you walk a bit farther, you can see even more. If you had to make a list of things people should see in the US, this would have to be on the list.

Here are some things I’d put a short list if I were coming up with a Seven Wonders of America:

  • Hawaii Volcanoes National Park I’ve been there twice, neither time was lava flowing on the surface. It is flowing now :(
  • Independence Hall/Monticello/Historic Boston I’d have something regarding the Revolution on the list. The American War for Independence is a pretty significant event in world history. It was the first act of rebellion against a colonial power and set the stage for much of what happened later in history.
  • Gettysburg Probably the most significant battle in the Civil War. I suppose one can argue that an empty field isn’t really a wonder, however.
  • Yellowstone and Yosemite That these were left off the list is a travesty.
  • Redwood National and State Parks The redwood forests are the most impressive forests in the world. I’d also include Sequoia National Park and Muir Woods
  • Death Valley It’s Death Valley.
  • Las Vegas If you are going to put an entire city on the list, put Las Vegas. There is no place in the world like Las Vegas. Not even close. Even Macau, which is probably the closest thing to Vegas, is nothing like Vegas. Vegas is uniquely American. Vegas could never have arisen anywhere but the US.
  • Denali The highest point in North America, Mount McKinley is actually one of the largest mountains in the world when measured from base to peak.
  • Theodore Roosevelt National Park This will probably take most people by surprise, but it is one of my favorite spots in the world. I love the Great Plains and I love this park.
  • Carlsbad Caverns The biggest cave system in the world.
  • The Interstate Highway System The more I travel, the more I come to appreciate this as really the most impressive building accomplishment of the United States.

In the big, global scheme of things, the United States is a very young country and we don’t have a lot of history compared to other places. Most of the things I’d put on the list are natural in nature, not historic.

What would you put on the short list?

  • 11 Comments... What's your take?

Get My Free Travel Photography Ebook

Subscribe to my email newsletter to get a FREE 100 page ebook of my favorite travel photos.

Comments

  1. ChinaMatt says:

    I like that Peter backed me up on that one. Those bastards in NY have stolen our statue for far too long. Besides, she’s showing her back to our state! To hell with it, let NY keep it…just send the money across the state line.

  2. Peter says:

    Why has Google lied to me? I will never trust again. :(

  3. Bietz's Friend Pete says:

    The House of ChampionsTM, if for no other reason, it has magical powers.

  4. Gary says:

    Do not doubt me on such things. Liberty Island is in the State of New York. There is a good argument that it should have been in the state of New Jersey, but it is in fact in New York.

    From Wikipedia:

    Liberty Island is 2000 feet (600 m) from Liberty State Park in Jersey City, New Jersey. By comparison it is 1-5/8 statute miles (2.6 kilometers) from Battery Park in Manhattan; this makes Liberty Island much closer to Jersey City, New Jersey than to the rest of New York City, of which it is a part.

  5. Peter says:

    Actually, Garry, ChinaMatt is right. To wit:

    http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&hl=en&geocode=&q=statue+of+liberty&ie=UTF8&ll=40.692353,-74.039698&spn=0.046857,0.057592&z=14

    It’s on the left side of that dashed line, which is clearly Jersey. Bastards.

  6. Gary says:

    While it would be the best thing in New Jersey if it were in New Jersey, alas, it is not in New Jersey.

  7. ChinaMatt says:

    Seeing as I haven’t been everywhere in the states, I’ll stick to what I know. Personally, I’d put up Garden of the Gods in CO. I’d also go along with the redwoods in CA. If you took NYC as a whole off the list, I might go with McSorley’s or possibly Crif Dogs.

    Just a side note: The Statue of Liberty is in Jersey, damn it.

  8. Gary says:

    John Doe, I disagree.

    The moon holds a much larger place is human imagination than “low earth orbit”. The photos taken of the Earth from the moon and the photos of a human on the moon (FYI, all the Apollo 11 photos are of Buzz Aldrin, not Neil Armstrong) have had far more cultural impact than Yuri Gagarin’s flight.

    The Apollo 11 moon landing was an event watched live and shared simultaneously by a larger percentage of humanity than any other event.

    That, and whatever Chinese guy steps on Mars, will be what people remember in 1000 years.

  9. John Doe says:

    As regards the Saturn V, there are three left. One is at Johnson Space Center and another is at Kennedy Space Center. They probably chose to mention the one in Huntsville because it was actually designed at Marshall Space Flight Center. The Apollo program isn’t a tangible thing at all, so I can understand them using the Saturn V to represent the space program. 1000 years from now I think the first time man left low earth orbit will be far more historically significant than anything else you might pick from America.

  10. Erik Smith says:

    No Yellowstone?!?!?!?!?

    How does this happen??

    I think Olympic National Park would have been a good choice. It’s home to the only rainforest in the US, as well as some great mountain scenery and a significant amount of coastline.

    Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado is home to an outstanding collection of old Indian Pueblos.

    The Everglades, while disappearing more and more each day, is a unique natural habitat.

    Living in Michigan, I am partial to Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in the Northwest tip of the lower peninsula.

Leave a Reply

You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>

About Gary Arndt

My name is Gary Arndt. In March 2007 I set out to travel around the world...
Read More

Get My Free Travel Photography Ebook

Subscribe to my email newsletter to get a FREE ebook of my 100 Favorite Travel Photos and exclusive travel updates.

  • Archives