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Tulsa's Gathering Place named the Best New Attraction in the nation

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Winning riverfront park was designed as an inclusive green space

From waterparks and theme parks to museums and performance spaces, travelers were treated to a host of new attractions in 2018. With the help of a panel of travel experts, we combed the country for the best new attractions of the year, then asked our readers to vote for their favorites. The results are in.

  • Gathering Place
    Tulsa

    Gathering Place, a new riverfront park in Tulsa, was designed as an inclusive green space where residents and visitors alike can relax and engage with one another. The expansive park makes use of more than 6 million gallons of water and 80 tree species, with attractions like multi-story fireplaces, an adventure playground, boathouse, sensory garden and a reading tree.
    Photo courtesy of Shane Bevel / A Gathering Place For Tulsa

  • National Comedy Center
    Jamestown, N.Y.

    Situated in Jamestown, N.Y., the National Comedy Center is the first museum in the world dedicated to the art of comedy in the United States. More than 50 interactive exhibits and an extensive collection bring to life the voices of comedy greats, from Charlie Chaplin to Dave Chappelle.
    Photo courtesy of National Comedy Center

  • Chicago Architecture Center
    Chicago

    Opened in August 2018, the new location of the Chicago Architecture Center serves as a gateway to the city’s fascinating architectural past and present. Visitors learn the stories behind iconic skyscrapers and how Chicago architects have impacted skylines around the world. The 20,000-square-foot facility offers city views through floor-to-ceiling glass windows, as well as docent-led tours and interactive programming.
    Photo courtesy of James Steinkamp / Chicago Architecture Center

  • Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience
    Indianapolis

    New to the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, the Riley Children’s Health Sports Legends Experience celebrates the history of sports and physical fitness through a range of indoor and outdoor experiences designed with families in mind.
    Photo courtesy of Children's Museum of Indianapolis

  • Orlando Starflyer
    Orlando

    Standing 450 feet tall, the Orlando StarFlyer opened on International Drive in 2018 as the world’s tallest swing ride. Once buckled in to double seats, riders move up, down and around the tower at speeds of up to 45 mph while taking in panoramic views of Orlando.
    Photo courtesy of Jeff Turner / Flickr

  • The Gateway Arch Museum and Visitor Center
    St. Louis

    The Gateway Arch, one of the nation’s most recognizable landmarks, got its own new museum and visitor center in 2018. The six themed exhibit areas tell the story of Native Americans, rebels and explorers who contributed to the nation’s pioneering spirit.
    Photo courtesy of The Gateway Arch

  • Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center
    Niagara Falls, N.Y.

    The Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center celebrated its grand opening in May 2018. This new museum tells the stories of abolitionists and freedom seekers in Niagara Falls during the time of slavery and the Underground Railroad.
    Photo courtesy of Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center / Facebook

  • Tower of Voices
    Laurel Highlands, Penn.

    The Tower of Voices was dedicated on September 11, 2018 at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Pennsylvania. The 93-foot monument memorializes the 40 passengers and crew of United Flight 93 through sound, as 40 wind chimes within the tower represent lives lost.
    Photo courtesy of Sheena Baker, Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau

  • Old Forester Distillery
    Louisville

    In summer 2018, Old Forester Distilling Co. returned to its original home on Louisville’s Whiskey Row with the opening of a 70,000-square-foot distillery. Visitors can tour the production facilities to trace the process from grain to glass, including a cooperage where new barrels are crafted. The distillery is an official member of the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.
    Photo courtesy of Old Forester Distillery

  • Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center
    Manitowoc, Wis.

    The 29,000-square-foot Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center opened in Manitowoc in the summer of 2018 as a space dedicated to the story of where our food comes from. Visitors hear stories of food producers while learning how it’s produced and why it all matters. Highlights include a birthing barn where it’s possible to see a calf being born and a cafe serving fresh dairy products.
    Photo courtesy of Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center / Facebook

The top 10 winners in the Best New Attraction category are as follows:

  1. Gathering Place - Tulsa
  2. National Comedy Center - Jamestown, N.Y.
  3. Chicago Architecture Center - Chicago
  4. Riley Children's Health Sports Legends Experience - Indianapolis
  5. Orlando Starflyer - Orlando
  6. The Gateway Arch Museum and Visitor Center - St. Louis
  7. Niagara Falls Underground Railroad Heritage Center - Niagara Falls, N.Y.
  8. Tower of Voices - Laurel Highlands, Penn.
  9. Old Forester Distillery - Louisville
  10. Farm Wisconsin Discovery Center - Manitowoc, Wis.

A panel of experts partnered with 10Best editors to pick the initial 20 nominees, and the top 10 winners were determined by popular vote. Experts Eric Grossman, Gerrish Lopez and Eileen Ogintz (Taking the Kids) were chosen for their knowledge of the American travel industry.

Congratulations to all these winning attractions!

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Eric Grossman

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