Stupid Tourist Questions. Ya gotta wonder. . .


There’s no such thing as a stupid question. Right? Well, yes there is, if you ask the National Park rangers who compiled this list of actual questions asked by park visitors.

At Grand Canyon National Park:
“Was this man-made?”
“Is there an elevator to the bottom?”
“Do you light it up at night?”
“Is the mule train air-conditioned?”
“Where are the faces of the presidents?”

At Carlsbad Caverns National Park:
“How much of the caves is underground?”
“So what’s in the unexplored part of the cave?”
“Does it ever rain in here?”
“So what is this, just a hole in the ground?”
“How many ping pong balls would it take to fill it up?”

At Everglades National Park:
“Are the alligators real?”
“Are the baby alligators for sale?”
“When does the two o’clock bus leave?”

At Yosemite National Park:
“What time of year do you turn on Yosemite Falls?”
“What happened to the other half of Half Dome?”

At Alaska’s Denali National Park:
“What time do you feed the bears?”
“How often do you mow the tundra?”
“How much does Mount McKinley weigh?”

At Mesa Verde National Park (home of ancient Indian cliff dwellings)
“Did people build this, or did Indians?”
“Do you know of any undiscovered ruins?”
“Why did they build the ruins so close to the road?”

Have you heard a stupid tourist question? If so, please leave a comment and tell it to us.

##RVT832 ##RVDT1416

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Robin J Brown
4 months ago

Was at a ranger talk in Yosemite one Night, when asking if there were any questions, this was an older ranger who had lost the tip of a finger. A lady asked how he had lost it, just wore it out pointing out all the landmarks to tourists, was the reply

Brian Holmes
4 months ago

pretty easy to who asked these questions, like the lady that asked how to lower the window in the airplane at 30,000 feet.

4 months ago

I don’t know if this is a real question or a joke some ranger made up (I suspect the latter, but who knows?), but years ago in Death Valley it was going around the campground in Furnace Creek that someone had asked a ranger what time they turned on the alluvial fans to cool the place off.

Just in case:
“alluvial fan
noun Physical Geography.
a fan-shaped alluvial deposit formed by a stream where its velocity is abruptly decreased, as at the mouth of a ravine or at the foot of a mountain.”

Paul Cunningham
4 months ago

We camp hosted in Yellowstone for 4 summers and often got asked funny (to us) questions. We found that when the Tourists crossed the boundary into the park they became Morons, hence the designation Tourons (cross between tourist and moron). Here’s a few that I remember.

What time do the turn the geysers off at night, or on in the AM.
They wouldn’t put wild animals in the park with people, would they.
When do they let the animals out in the morning.

4 months ago

They walk among us.

4 months ago
Reply to  Kenn

They vote among us!

Tom Gutzke
4 months ago

At Yellowstone in 2016 a person asked, “What time do you let the animals out so we can see them?” In 2017 we flew to Hawaii. At Volcanoes National Park Visitors’ Center [at Kilauea Volcano] a tourist said he wanted to know where he could drive to see the lava flowing into the Pacific Ocean. The Ranger said that you couldn’t see it from land; you had to take one of the cruise boats to see it but he shouldn’t go because the flow had stopped three weeks earlier. The tourist then asked, “When will you turn it back on?” VERY difficult to not laugh out loud.

Sharon W.
4 months ago

My husband and I were walking among the geysers in Yellowstone. An osprey flew right over our heads with a huge fish in its talons. It flew into a tree nearby and started eating its breakfast. Very exciting! All of a sudden a woman in a perfectly accented British voice shouted at us, “Look at the eagle!! Look at the eagle!! Did you folks see the eagle??!! She was so adorable with her excitement we didn’t have the heart to correct her!

Glenda Alexander
4 months ago

Several years ago (2008-09) I volunteered at Lake Texoma at the Corps of Engineers’ regional office. There was a severe drought during that time, so the lake level was very low. One morning a man called and asked me to tell the engineers to put about four more feet of water into the lake so his dock would float!

4 months ago

Lol 😂

Ken Neubecker
4 months ago

When I worked at the Vail Nature Center many years ago a not uncommon question was “At what elevation do the deer turn into elk?” I was also asked once in the winter by a woman who wanted to avoid hilly terrain on the golf course nordic track “How will I know when I reach a hill?” You can’t make this stuff up….

Ronald J Texter
4 months ago

And to think a lot of these people can vote! Ya gotta wonder……..

4 months ago

Some of them even reproduce, which is a scary thought.

Tommy Molnar
4 months ago

Years ago when I was still working, I always stopped at the truck stop at the Nevada/Utah border to get coffee. An out-of-country tourist asked the cashier what all that white stuff was to the east (the Bonneville Salt Flats). The cashier replied that it was salt. The tourist then asked, “who put it there?”. Obviously they didn’t know what it was called, so I gave them a pass on that one.

Last edited 4 months ago by Tommy Molnar
Lisa Adcox
4 months ago

I used to work at The Hermitage “Home of President Andrew Jackson”
We had a map hanging in visitors center showing the country written it was Territories. A mom and daughter was looking at it. The mom asked why we did not finish the map and put all the states on it.

Another lady was coming through headed to the museum and asked if the house is in the museum. Now the museum is fairly small so not sure where she got that idea.

Also we had people ask if there was an elevator to get to second floor of the home.

The best one I was ever asked is about the wax figures of Andrew Jackson and his wife. A couple asked if they had posed to have the wax figures made.

Tourist can ask crazy questions and make you giggle.

1 year ago

Questions asked of the the cruise director:
What time is the midnight buffet? (On that ship it was 12:30 am)
Does the crew sleep on board?
Do you grow the fruits and vegetables on board?
A woman calling his office asked, “How high are we above sea level?”
His response, “I don’t know, what deck are you on?
They can’t, or won’t, think, but they vote!

Kelley Miller
4 months ago
Reply to  Leigh

During my Alaska cruise, one of the questions was: “Does that island have water going all the way around it?” Another was: “Is the TV reception satellite or cable?” Or: “In the photo gallery, how do I know which photo is mine?” “What do you do with the ice sculptures after they melt?” “Should I put my luggage out before or after I go to sleep?”

Lisa Cantrell
2 years ago

My brother worked as a whitewater river rafting guide in CO. They called these stupid tourists Tourons. His 3 most frequent questions were:
Do we get out the same place we put in?
Do these rocks go all the way to the bottom?
And from the very erudite usually possessing more money than brains…At what elevation do deer become elk?

But this was not our first experience with “tourons”. We grew up in the US Virgin Islands where, more than once, we heard someone ready to take a sailing or fishing trip, ask if they could bring along jars to “get samples of the different color waters”

Gene Bjerke
2 years ago

Having worked at both Colonial Williamsburg and Jamestown Settlement, it is easy to collect strange questions. That is why the interpreters refer to the visitors as “turons,” (when they are out of sight).

Dan Tull
2 years ago
Reply to  Gene Bjerke

While looking at the Blacksmith demo, a lady asked, “Is this stuff old, or did somebody make it?”

Bob Love
2 years ago

I’ve been an inner city junior high and high school teacher (13 yrs, retired), an international tour leader and naturalist (couple of trips a year for ~30 yrs), a natural science curator and an education dept. chair in major museums (25 yrs), an RVer (20 yrs.) and a research scientist on cricket songs and evolutionary relationships (~50 yrs). Been there and done that. But I take some exception to the tenor of the article and some of the comments. This is not to say that many of them aren’t amusing – they are! However, there is a basic statement in education, whether as a ranger, a naturalist, a teacher, or any other expert level: There’s no such thing as a ‘dumb question’!
The best way I know for anyone to dispel their own ignorance is to ask questions, and the deeper the ignorance, the harder to ask a question that can’t be interpreted as “dumb”. So, many people (MOST?) don’t ask for fear of seeming dumb. Too bad! for that’s the best way I know to stay ignorant! And, for the recipient, to think a question asked is “dumb” is the best way I know to either 1) show you can’t formulate an intelligent and helpful response to dispel even a smidgen of ignorance, or 2) to bolster your self-aggrandizement and level of ‘superior intellect’ (BS). The level of ignorance among US citizens is generally abysmal!!!! (I include me in there, too!) How many of you can explain evolution to an inner city student? (I usually fail.) Not wanting to is no excuse for ignorance! How many of you can explain the history of plate tectonics to a senior citizen? (I’ve often tried.) Can you succinctly outline the history of the Bible, or any religion? (Very poorly, at best.) What is each of the Amendments to the Constitution of the US? (Forgotten most, though I had to to get a teacher certificate.)
Three examples: At Yosemite National Park: “What happened to the other half of Half Dome?” This is really a great question!!!! Can you answer it? Can you explain what a ‘joint’ is, and how the missing face has weathered and been glaciated away to a joint surface? The difference between a joint and a fault? Why the granitic batholith formed and was raised in the first place?
At Mammoth Cave : Another portly lady asked if she weighed less underground since she was closer to the center of the Earth. Do you know the answer is ‘Yes!’, though almost too little to be measured. ‘Closer to the center’ is a partial answer (less mass pulling from ‘below’), but also, additional mass now above also producing gravity that pulls the body upwards. And, very importantly (re ignorance) the difference between ‘weight’ and ‘mass’, one changes, the other does not – she would mass the same.
At Yellowstone: “Does Old Faithful still go off if it’s raining?” What a great entry to discuss the plumbing of Old Faithful and the role of rain and ground water; that the heat source is far beneath the surface and unaffected directly by cool rain; that rangers do not control a valve that starts the eruption (a common question as well).
And on and on …

4 months ago
Reply to  Chuck Woodbury

As to the weight of Mt McKinley, why can’t someone just measure the base in miles, estimate the density, and measure the height and come up with an approximate answer?

2 years ago

I camphost at a State Park in Missouri known for its Geology. Most of the area is sandstone. I saw an angry comment on a comment card, “Whose bright idea was it to put sand over slick wet rocks!!!”

2 years ago

Senior moments are one thing. This however…
SHEESH! I laughed so hard tears were running down my leg!

RV Staff (@rvstaff)
2 years ago
Reply to  Wayne

Dang, Wayne. I want to say something so bad, but I know I’d get in trouble. (Although maybe I could blame it on a “senior moment.”) 😉 —Diane at

2 years ago

Years ago I worked at Kalaloch Lodge in the Olympic National Park. A waitress in the cafe said a tourist asked “How do all the logs get on the beach?” To this the waitress replied ” The park service puts them there for visitors to sit on and explore!” She was thanked and tipped well.