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Abandoned 'Wizard of Oz' Theme Park to Offer Guided Tours

During the 1970s, you could visit the Land of Oz—but it wasn’t in an alternate universe, or, for that matter, in Kansas. The Wizard of Oz-themed amusement park was located in the resort town of Beech Mountain, North Carolina. Visitors could tour Dorothy’s farmhouse, meet their favorite characters from the film, take a hot air balloon ride, and check out memorabilia and movie props in the park's museum.

Sadly, a series of tragic events (the death of its founder, Grover Robbins, and a mysterious fire, among other things) caused the Land of Oz to close in 1980. Now, it's time to return to Oz: The Charlotte Observer reports that the deserted park will re-open for four Fridays in June.

Visitors ride a chair lift to reach the park's lofty grounds located on top of a mountain. Once they’re inside, they can take guided tours of the Yellow Brick Road—complete with a guide dressed like Dorothy Gale—and get an up-close look at relics like a scale replica of Auntie Em's house and a witch's castle.

For the last two summers, the Land of Oz has offered public tours on Fridays in conjunction with Beech Mountain’s annual “Family Fun” month, as WRAL.com reports. The park is also used as a venue for weddings, parties, and group picnics, and is home to an “Autumn at Oz” festival in October. However, the Land of Oz—once featured in a book called Bizarro: The World's Most Hauntingly Beautiful Abandoned Theme Parksremains eerily empty most of the year.

Want to take a trip to Oz this June? Admission tickets are $12.50, plus a $10 round-trip chair lift ticket. The park will open every Friday in June, and tours will take place at half-past the hour every hour from 10:30 a.m to 3:30 p.m. Tickets will go on sale on the Monday prior to each tour.

Can't make it to North Carolina? You can always visit one of Kansas’s Oz-related attractions, or take a virtual tour via the video above.

[h/t The Charlotte Observer]

Banner image courtesy of iStock.

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The Most Searched Shows on Netflix in 2017, By State

Orange is the New Black is the new black, at least as far as Netflix viewers are concerned. The women-in-prison dramedy may have premiered in 2013, but it’s still got viewers hooked. Just as they did in 2017, HighSpeedInternet.com took a deep dive into Netflix analytics using Google Trends to find out which shows people in each state were searching Netflix for throughout the year. While there was a little bit of crossover between 2016 and 2017, new series like American Vandal and Mindhunter gave viewers a host of new content. But that didn’t stop Orange is the New Black from dominating the map; it was the most searched show in 15 states.

Coming in at a faraway second place was American Vandal, a new true crime satire that captured the attention of five states (Illinois, Kansas, Massachusetts, Minnesota, and Wisconsin). Even more impressive is the fact that the series premiered in mid-September, meaning that it found a large and rabid audience in a very short amount of time.

Folks in Alaska, Colorado, and Oregon were all destined to be disappointed; Star Trek: Discovery was the most searched-for series in each of these states, but it’s not yet available on Netflix in America (you’ve got to get CBS All Access for that, folks). Fourteen states broke the mold a bit with shows that were unique to their state only; this included Big Mouth in Delaware, The Keepers in Maryland, The OA in Pennsylvania, GLOW in Rhode Island, and Black Mirror in Hawaii.

Check out the map above to see if your favorite Netflix binge-watch matches up with your neighbors'. For more detailed findings, visit HighSpeedInternet.com.

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Monthly Internet Costs in Every Country

Thanks to the internet, people around the world can conduct global research, trade tips, and find faraway friends without ever leaving their couch. Not everyone pays the same price for these digital privileges, though, according to new data visualizations spotted by Thrillist.

To compare internet user prices in each country, cost information site HowMuch.net created a series of maps. The data comes courtesy of English market research consultancy BDRC and Cable.co.uk, which teamed up to analyze 3351 broadband packages in 196 nations between August 18, 2017 and October 12, 2017.

In the U.S., for example, the average cost for internet service is $66 per month. That’s substantially more than what browsers pay in neighboring Mexico ($27) and Canada ($55). Still, we don’t have it bad compared to either Namibia or Burkina Faso, where users shell out a staggering $464 and $924, respectively, for monthly broadband access. In fact, internet in the U.S. is far cheaper than what residents in 113 countries pay, including those in Saudi Arabia ($84), Indonesia ($72), and Greenland ($84).

On average, internet costs in Asia and Russia tend to be among the lowest, while access is prohibitively expensive in sub-Saharan Africa and in certain parts of Oceania. As for the world’s cheapest internet, you’ll find it in Ukraine and Iran.

Check out the maps below for more broadband insights, or view HowMuch.net’s full findings here.

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

Map of Internet costs in each country created by information site HowMuch.net.
HowMuch.net

[h/t Thrillist]

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