March 2 marks what would have been Dr. Seuss’ 99th birthday, an age we feel is wonderfully Seussian in its defiant rejection of the easy, round 100. We haven’t cracked the spine of a good Seuss yarn in quite some time (although there was a long period of time when we were mere babes when “One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish” was at the top of our nightly reading list) but we have vivid memories of the absurdly fantastical landscapes the good doctor created for his bizarre characters to roam around.
So, as a small birthday gift to the man who turned a tale about stacking turtles into a valuable political statement, we’ve rounded up a list of five real-life places around the world that could easily be mistaken for settings in a Dr. Seuss book due to their wonderful irregularities. Check them out and then read “Oh, the places you’ll go!” for even more inspiration.
Socotra Island | Yemen
One third of the plant life on Socotra in the Indian Ocean is found nowhere else in the world, meaning the tiny island looks like some sort of alien planet populated by kooky shrubs and magic trees – one of which (pictured above) even “bleeds” red when you cut it. Somewhere on this island the Lorax is sitting on a stump, brooding over deforestation.
Kliluk Lake | British Columbia, Canada
This strange, segregated lake comprised of 365 separate pools was considered a sacred healing place to Native American tribes who lived nearby – but we just think it looks like a place where Seuss would weave a story about anthropomorphic ducks fighting for control of all the puddles. And in the end we would learn an important lesson about friendship and individualism.
Vale da Lua | Brazil
Referred to by some as “Moon Valley,” Vale da Lua is a loopy rock formation formed in prehistory by lava flows and erosion. Dr. Seuss would most likely turn the twisting slopes into slides for a community of sninks or woozles, or some other breed of make believe creature.
Racetrack Playa | California, USA
Something about this dry lake in the middle of the desert makes heavy boulders slide across the surface of the “playa,” leaving long indentations on the mud in their wake. Can’t you imagine a story about a willful little rock trying to slide away from the desert, only to realize that the desert is his true home? We’d read that.
Dwarf Empire | Kunming, China
Okay, this last one is kind of a cheat. The “Dwarf Empire” Kunming in China is technically an amusement park, not a landscape. However, the entire place is run by dwarfs who live and work in mushroom-shaped structures, and we assume Seuss would have nostalgic memories of Whoville despite the fact that the park is an exploitative “freak” show.