Tour Guides Share The Dumbest Thing They Have Ever Seen A Tourist Do On The Job

Tour Guides Share The Dumbest Thing They Have Ever Seen A Tourist Do On The Job

We've all been on a tour where someone does something so ridiculous you all cringe: a family trying to ride a buffalo, someone telling your tour guide that their accent isn't right, or one tourist asking if they have Christmas in Canada. Tour guides have seen and heard it all. These tour guides share the most hilarious and incredibly dumb things they've experienced on the job.


1. Pirates Life For Me

I worked at a magical theme park and had a woman come up to ask me a question. I stood in front of the pirate ride, dressed as a pirate, and she asked, "Where is the pirate ride?" I looked up at the big sign then back at her, then again at the sign, then to her. She became frustrated I wasn't answering her so she asked me again louder, "Where is the pirate ride?" I pointed to the train to my left told her to take the train to the fourth exit and get off and it will be on your right. The train has 4 total exits and I went on my break just in time to see her get off the train and give me an angry look. Then she got on the pirate ride.


2. Nice And Easy

In France, we were dispatching a tour to Nice and Eze (pronounced correctly sounds like Niece and Ezzz) but when it was called over the intercom no one moved. We tried again and still, no one budged. Finally, we tried again with "nice and easy" and everyone jumped up and headed to the bus.


3. Alaska's Next To Hawaii... Right?

I went on a cruise to Alaska one summer. One of the other passengers, a girl in her early 20s, packed only bikinis, short-shorts, and tank tops. One of the landing party tour guides asked her why she didn't pack more warmly. She said it was because the weather channel always shows Hawaii and Alaska right next to each other. I gave up on the human race right then.


4. There’s A Canadian Christmas After All

I give tours in Vancouver. I had some Americans from Florida ask if we had Christmas here. They were also surprised that we had our own lottery.



5. Have Them Removed

I worked for the State Park system years ago. I basically hiked around and worked on trails, so I got to know trails quite well and would often talk with people directing them to interesting places. One group was following me so I could point out a unique flower that only grows in a few areas in the country. It's habitat is mostly swampy areas.

Upon reaching the area one lady asked me, "Why did they have to put mosquito's in the park?"

I laughed, "Yeah, they're terrible here." Complaining about mosquitoes is basically the state past time.

But she continued, "I understand why they put deer and birds in the park, but why all the bugs?"

It then dawned on me that this woman thought that someone had built and stocked the park like it was some kind of zoo. I'm not sure that I ever got across to her that the bugs were just part of nature like the entirety of the rest of the park.

tiger-mosquito-49141-300x199.jpgImage by

6. Sign Me Up

I was a tram tour guide at Universal Studios Hollywood. There was a very scary looking dude sitting in the last row of the first car, staring at me like he was going to tear my head off the entire time. As the tour ends, I make a quick retreat, afraid I did something to deserve whatever hurt he was going to put on me. Over my shoulder, I see him jump out of the tram car and start running for me. He caught me, turned me around, and with total seriousness said,

"Hey man. Where do I go to sign up to be in the movies? I want to be in the movies. I don't just want to watch those movies. Y'know. At the picture show. I thought you would tell us where that building was on the tour. But you didn't point it out."

charlize-theron-79562-300x218.jpgImage by

7. Make It Yourself!

I am a tour guide for the university I attend and the amount of dumb questions I get can be overwhelming.

The one that sticks out most is the aggressive quinoa question. I was giving a tour to a mom and her son. They were really fun to give a tour to and were really excited about checking out the campus. However, as the tour was coming to an end, the mom asked about the vegan/vegetarian/gluten-free options on campus.

When I told her about the various options on campus and the local vegan food establishments within a 5 minute walk, she flipped out over the fact that I didn't mention quinoa. I told her the grocery store down the road had quinoa and she asked, "You're not going to try and even offer to MAKE my son any quinoa??? You expect him to be a vegan without the key staple that is quinoa???"

She was being 100% serious and it blew my mind how she expected me to just... make her son quinoa for some reason.

pan-1832926-300x200.jpgImage by

8. Space Cases

When I was an undergrad student I worked at my university's observatory. We'd be open to the public once a week and ran programming for school and scout groups, and were observing pretty much every clear night during the semester. We had a bunch of 8" telescopes, two 12" ones, and a 14" in the dome, plus lots of really good eyepieces and cameras. In short, we were incredibly well equipped to see pretty much anything that was notable in the night sky.

Most questions/comments we got were pretty good, especially from kids. My favorite recurring one was "Whoa!!!!" upon seeing Saturn through our biggest telescope. My favorite unique question was "Can there be a planet made entirely of water?" from a fifth grader learning about exoplanets. This turned into a really good discussion of pressure and gravity. However. There were some notable doozies. These are all from adults.

"It's all blurry!"

  • After person touches the focus knob that I pointed out and said to not touch.

"It really sucks Pluto's not around anymore"

  • Literally though Pluto didn't exist anymore.

At least once a night...

"What's that really bright one hovering there?"

Me: "It's a plane in a holding pattern. The airport is in that direction"

Guest: "No it's definitely Venus/The Christmas Star/a UFO. Hey kids come look at this!" 5 seconds later, the light moves. Because it's a plane.

People showing up to public night, when it's really cloudy or pouring rain: "Whaddya mean no telescopes tonight?"

"Why can't I see the flag?"

  • Guest looking at the moon

observatory-2224991-300x200.jpgImage by

9. Let's Hope They Don't Strike

I am a ghost tour guide in a nice downtown area with cobblestone streets and a plethora of bars. Someone asked me once, "How did you get the ghosts to agree to be on the tour?" "It's on a strictly volunteer basis, ma'am."

edinburgh-1688490-300x165.jpgImage by

10. North Is Not Up

I was a tour guide on a river boat. I had my share of dumb questions, but there is a particularly dumb statement that drives me crazy. The river I worked on ran south to north at the mouth. Part of the basic tour was providing directions and giving people a general sense of where we were traveling through the city.

Every now and then I'd get someone who'd contradict me and tell me that rivers can't run due north because water "only runs downhill." They'd tell me this while I was looking directly at a compass in front of me, and after I'd have been running a tour on this river for multiple years.

For the record, rivers do run downhill. Gravity is a cruel mistress, she doesn't have any time for other ladies like cardinal directions, or stupidity. Lots of rivers run north. North is not up.

prairie-679014-300x194.jpgImage by


11. Level Up

A guy came up and asked me how far above sea level we were. I looked at the water and told him about 6 inches because I was standing on a small rock.

He got all whiny at me and stomped off because he thought I was making fun of him. In fairness, I was.

boy-909552-300x200.jpgImage by

12. Show Some Respect

I used be the resident Native American guide for a tourist trap in Banff, Alberta. The Europeans were the worst, and very condescending towards me. I was frequently, and very rudely asked if I either lived in a tipi or if I was a "real Indian" since I have light skin and short curly hair, and didn't fit their stereotypical image of a savage living off the earth. The English, Italians, and Germans were usually the worst about it -- of course there were exceptions. The Scots and Texans were my favourites though. Still, that job took a lot out of me, and it was pretty dehumanizing at times. Lost count of how many times I was asked to assign a spirit animal to some loud middle-aged jerk from London, or deal with some pedant from Germany who apparently knows more about my tribe than I do.

alberta-2297204-300x202.jpgImage by

13. I'll Give You Three Salmon For A Root Canal

I do nature tours in Southeast Alaska. Basically, we take people on walks in the woods and teach them about the local flora and fauna. My absolute favorite story was when myself and another guide were passing around Sitka spruce and Western red cedar branches. The other guide was explaining how Sitka spruce needles are actually edible, so one guy doesn't wait for the go-ahead and just takes a big bite out of the tree branch he was holding. The only problem was, he was holding the cedar. We were like, "Sir, it's actually the other tree that's edible..." He just shrugged and kept eating it. What a baller.


14. Concrete Or Snow?

I used to work for a ski resort in Colorado for a summer. Texans were notorious for silly questions.

A lady asked me in total seriousness, "How did you get that there cement up on that there mountain?" I looked where they were pointing while asking the question: Residual snow on the mountaintop. They actually thought we covered a mountain peak in concrete. It was a facepalm moment for the woman asking.


15. A Bear Cub Is Not A Kitten

A couple of European tourists asked the tour guide where they could see some bears. The ranger mentioned a few spots where bears are known to be and cautioned them to be careful. The next year, he saw the same couple and they thanked him and showed him some pictures they had taken. In one of them, there was a picture of the wife holding a black bear cub and smiling. The ranger kinda lost it on them.


16. When Your Accent Isn’t Southern Enough

Visitor: "You're not from around here, are you?"

Me: "Actually I am, born and raised."

Visitor: "Well, I've been coming to the South for 25 years and you just don't seem like you're from here."

Me: "Well, um, my parents don't have strong accents either."

Visitor: "I just think I would like you better if you had a Southern accent."

Sorry that playing up to stereotypes is not in our visitor's services manual. I'm here to talk about history, not recreate your Southern fantasy.



17. Don’t Go Chasing Waterfalls

Some lady asked me when I worked at the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, "When do they turn on the waterfalls?"

Lady, for $50, I'll make sure it's turned on for your family.


18. A Little Common Sense

Tour guide in Copenhagen here.

For some reason, I have had a few tourists showing up for outdoor tours in shorts and T-shirts in the middle of winter. I honestly don't know what they were expecting, the wind chill can be brutal here.

I've had a couple of people ask me how they can get to Legoland (since Lego is from Denmark), and be genuinely disappointed when I tell them it's pretty much on the other side of the country. You would think if it mattered that much, you would check that beforehand.

People ask if I have learned to speak Dutch since moving to Denmark.

A guy who used to work with me had a tourist ask him how to tell if you have a kidney infection, which was pretty bizarre.

Two guys on a trip wanted to relieve themselves in a shop window because "nobody's around; it'll be fine". I literally had to beg them to wait until we reached the next place.

Most of the tourists I work with are perfectly nice and I don't think people are dumb for not knowing everything about a new city/country, but sometimes people do need to use a little common sense.


19. Show Me The Money

I worked at a marina in Canada for a while, and we got a lot of US yacht owners in from cruising around the coast. (We are not near the border.) I had this one lady pay in US dollars, which is fine; I even took it at par at the time. (In the Early 2000s our dollar was higher.)

She was livid when we gave her Canadian bills as change, outright demanding American bills. When we explained that we didn't just keep a stack on hand for the change, she just kept demanding because, "I can't take your money, it's useless in America, I'll just have to throw it in the trash."

Disclaimer: 80% of American boaters were just fine. Mostly old people with tiny dogs named "Diesel".


20. Banned For Life From A Tour Bus

I sold the tickets for tour buses so I met all of the tourists before they took the tours.

The most frustrating experience was probably when a woman handed me a $100 bill for a $45 bus ride. I was digging through my float (envelope of money) for the money to give her back. I took out a $50 and then rummaged around for a $5. I handed her the $5 and couldn't remember if I had given her the $50 or not so I asked, "I'm sorry, did I give you a $50 bill?" She stared at me blankly. "Did I uh... Did I hand you a $50? I can't remember, I'm sorry."

More staring and just kind of muttering. "Oh, well, $50 is a huge sum. If I forgot it, I'm sure she'll flag me down before I get off the bus," I thought to myself. I checked everyone else's tickets, got off the bus. About half an hour later, I got a call on my walkie: "I've got a woman here who says you didn't give her $50?" (She spoke perfect English, by the way. She talked to me as I was discussing the pricing with her.)

There was another woman who came up to me while I was working (I was stationed outside of museums to sell the tickets) and her face was caked in makeup. Like, she looked like a clown. She came over and started talking to me, telling me that she loves our bus rides and that she's good friends with our company. She took out a picture of her on one of our tours and showed it to me. Then she started rambling about whatever. I didn't mind the company, honestly. When I got back to my station at the end of the day, I told my boss and she said, "OH. Oh no, her?! She's back?!" My boss then explained to me that she was the only person banned for life from our tours for assaulting other clients with her purse because they wouldn't buy her paintings.


21. Tourists Are Weird

I'm from just outside of Atlanta, GA. I also had zero relatives who fought in the Civil War. That is important to the story.

I interned up in Massachusetts at a museum one summer. One of the best stories was one of our many Chinese tour groups. By and large, they were always picture-happy, but generally respectful. We had just changed out an exhibit, and the newest one was focused on the local people who had fought in the Civil War. There were a couple of local folks who had gone to fight for the Confederacy, and we had a mannequin display with a recreation uniform. The mannequin had a Confederate battle flag draped over his arm.

When giving the tour of the room, I often brought up the educational differences between the way modern day schools talk about the war in different parts of the country. One of the tourists piped up and said, "So you are Confederacy?" I said, "No, that was a long time ago, and none of my family was involved. I was just born in Georgia." But they started talking to each other quickly in Chinese, and one of them grabbed the hat off the mannequin.

Next thing I know, half the group is taking pictures, and the other half is trying to get this hat on me and tossing the flag at me. I had to grab both of them back. I tried to put them back in their correct places, ask them not to touch anything, and carry on with the tour. Turns out, as soon as I left the room to take them into the hallway, they grabbed them again and started trying to get me to put them on.

I didn't have the authority to ask people to leave the museum (intern) so I radioed for my supervisor. He instead agreed to finish the tour, but if anything else was touched the group would be thrown out. Someone picked up a 200-year-old painting on the 2nd floor that wasn't behind glass yet, and they were told to not come back.

I have so many stories from that place. Tourists are weird.


22. Call The Archbishop

I worked as a tour guide at a few really old churches. Most people were fantastic, but some are astonishingly terrible.

Three types of tourists come up pretty often:

1. Those who interrupt to sound smart and it backfires miserably: "Oh, the bell tower collapsed in 1605? Well OBVIOUSLY it was damaged by peasants at the start of the French Revolution as all symbols of religion were reviled..." Nah, bro, you're, like 180, years off.

2. Those who DEMAND to see closed sections of the church. One lady threatened to "call the archbishop on me" because I couldn't take her down to the crypt. Look, it's locked and no one's seen the key in 300 years; I don't know what to tell you.

3. Those who mock me/try to challenge me on every part of the tour. If you hate it so much, then why are you paying to be here?

Again, they were the exceptions. Most of the time, I had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the groups I led. But some people seem to go out of their way to be dumb/rude.



23. You're Not In Pearl Harbor, Sir

"Are those islands in the bay real?"

"Who turns all the boats in the water to face the same way?"

"Where are all the military ships?" This person thought Pearl Harbor occurred there because apparently there is only one harbor in the U.S.


24. Witches Only Town

I work as a tour guide in Salem, Massachusetts. Every tour has at least one person asking if I'm a real witch because why else would I live here? The worst part is when you tell them no, they usually say, "Yeah, sure you're not," and wink at me.


25. Bringing Shame To Americans

Two American tourists on a Eurostar train were waiting to depart Paris for London.

"What time does the train depart?"

"I'm not sure. The ticket only has military time on it."

"I wish they would use normal time. It's offensive to us Americans who don't understand military time."

As an American who is capable of subtracting 12 from a number, all I could do was lay my head in my palms and wish I could smack them across the face.


26. Come To See The Wild Human

I worked at a petting farm and there I took a few photos for people. Mostly standard stuff, but one day the cockatoo was at the top of the slide in the little park area (it was his favorite place). The slide wasn't that popular, so normally we let him be. There was an Asian couple, however, who decided to join him. I spotted them so I went over to supervise and talk about him a little. For those who don't know, cockatoos get a little nippy with people they don't know or like. Luckily, I was in the accepted circle of people who he gets friendly with so that allows me to control him when he gets "playful". I go over and talk to the couple so they don't get bitten and they were very impressed I put the bird back down on the slide as we were finished and they took out a camera and asked for a photo. I said sure. But instead of wanting ME to take a photo they just wanted a photo of me (with the bird not in frame). It was fine and all but I just felt weird they wanted a picture of me and not the big bird nor themselves by it. I was, like, 12 when this happened so I was just a little shocked. My mum thinks it's because I have lighter hair.


27. This May Be Scarier Than The Confederacy

I was a tour guide for the Confederate White House in Richmond Virginia, where Jefferson Davis stayed while president of the Confederacy. I had a family come in thinking they had arrived at the actual, real White House. It took me a second to realize they were serious.


28. Wouldn’t It Be Nice

I work at Epcot in Disney World and one day I was walking to my break and a guest asked me with a totally serious tone, "Miss! When are you guys gonna put the dome up? It's raining."

I had to stifle a laugh and explain we don't have a dome that covers Disney World when it rains.


29. Bikinis Aren't Meant For Diving

I was lobster diving in Palm Beach off a boat. A group of fellas had a good looking girl with them. They were in wetsuits; she had a nice two-piece bikini. When you lobster dive, you carry a net bag with a long string to carry your catch. They had hooks/snaps to drag around. She just tied it to her bottom bikini. They did well, putting their catch in the bags, letting them fall behind. When they were surfacing, a great barracuda went for a snack. A tasty lobster in a bag, with the bottom bikini attached. Needless to say, the girl went up the ladder first to get on the dive boat. She didn't even flinch!


30. No, Those Aren’t Pet Elk

I worked at a resort in Jasper National Park, Canada. That lake really is a spectacular blue-green color and very clear. I had people earnestly ask me if we drained it and painted the bottom blue.

We also had wild elk wandering around the resort property to graze, and I was asked on more than one occasion, "Where we keep them during the day?" (They are most active at dawn and dusk.)


31. Survivor Man

When I worked in Idaho's River of No Return Wilderness, we'd regularly encounter people who had watched too much Discovery Channel and decided to abandon civilization and "live off the land".

Which isn't at all impossible -- a decent fly fisherman or a halfway good shot can easily shoot or catch all the fish and game they care to eat. In fact, the vast majority of our visitors were there to shoot elk or catch trout, and they did well.

But these survivalist types never came prepared with a rod or a gun or even a tent. No. They were going to build a thatch shelter and whittle a spear and go stab an elk, or something.

Of course, if anyone had ever succeeded in this, it would be illegal on a number of levels. (You can't camp for more than 14 days in a site, can't stab an elk without a hunting license, etc.) But it never came up. After a couple days, they'd get bored and cold and hungry and walk back out the way they'd come in.

hunter-1503082-1-300x214.jpgImage by

32. And To Your Left...

I used to be a tour guide in Rome.

Many people seem to go on a tour because they are told they should. But what’s the point if you’re not really going to listen or give a care about it? Or even try and rush the guide to get finished sooner?

It’s worse when it affects other group members. If they’re actually interested in the tour, and listening, asking questions, etc., then it’s incredibly rude for others to be talking amongst themselves, or holding the group back by taking 10 photos of the same pose in the same place.

Asking a question about something when I’ve just finished talking about it is also annoying and time wasting and shows that you weren’t listening to a word I said. Unless, of course, you did listen but would like clarity or a bit more depth -- then it’s fine.

But stupid questions aren’t annoying. In fact they can be hilarious. I still remember someone in the Roman Forum asking me why they built it so close to the modern main street. Another chap asked, in the Colosseum, “Is this where Jesus fought the lions?” I must have missed that day of Sunday School.

Benjamin Messenger

colosseum-526244-300x200.jpgImage by

33. All For A Selfie

I worked at a national park where there are lots of big animals -- dangerous and deadly animals. People seem to think they can just act however they want around this creatures without consequence.

Once I saw this stupid kid with his back turned, trying to take a selfie with two adult male caribou, very large ones, literally 10 feet behind him. They could have charged and he wouldn't have seen them coming. I had to go over to him and the idiot women next to him and tell them to get away before they get gored to kingdom come.

Later, with the SAME caribou (mind you they were walking to the river, as they always do), there was a somewhat medium sized crowd keeping a good distance away. But this one lady for WHATEVER reason decided it was a good time to walk this small trail that the caribou were walking, and she passed RIGHT between them. She could have reached out and petted them she was that close. The people next to me were like, "What is she doing?!" "Taking her life in her hands," I said.

I've seen a horde of cameramen paparazzi following a grizzly bear. If he had been hungry and irritated, he easily could have killed a handful of them. They kept their distance but not nearly enough, especially for a grizzly.

Photographers NEVER listen to us and always do whatever they want.

I once saw this guy taking pictures of a rather large female moose from across the road. The moose was obviously very agitated and stressed as her hair was up, she was kind of snorting, and she was stomping the ground.

I stepped in between them and told the guy, "Hey, you need to move away. She's stressed out and she's going to charge you." "Oh okay," he said, without moving. "Hey, I said you need to BACK UP." "Oh, yeah, okay, okay." He kind of backed up but kept snapping pictures.

As I drove away, in my mirror I saw the idiot going back to where he was. I don't know if she charged or not but I honestly kind of hope she did.


34. Whatever Gets You Money

I was working in a museum in the Tower of London (archival work, designing exhibitions etc. so didn't have a lot of contact with the public) but the amount of people running in front of marching guards is ridiculous. Also when 90% of tourists ignore all the fascinating exhibits they came to see to look at a souvenir coin machine it's kind of irritating, especially when they leave the room without seeing anything in it. On he plus side those machines make the museum a lot of money.

tower-of-london-948978-300x169.jpgImage by

35. How Do You Think Earth Works?

I did kayaking tours in Hawai'i for about three years. Had a lady ask me if you could swim under the island to the other side. I had to explain that the Hawaiian islands are not floating in the middle of the Pacific.

hawaii-839801-300x200.jpgImage by

36. Koalas Are Fake News

I used to work in a wildlife park in Sydney and one day I caught an American tourist on the wrong side of the fence in the koala enclosure. I got him out but he said someone back home in Georgia had told him they weren't real so he went in to "take photos to prove there were no koalas inside". Holy crap, dude. I mean, okay, he would be unlucky to get mauled in the middle of the day but it's not unheard of.

koala-3055832-300x200.jpgImage by

37. Shark Attack

I was teaching a couple of tourists to surf and a dolphin came near us and they screamed "SHARKS!" They ran into the shore and told the lifeguard. The lifeguard swam out to me and I showed him that it was a dolphin. There is also this cove called La Jolla Cove that has a reef that is home to a bunch of fish and sea lions. So I'm showing these people around the cove with snorkels and I notice a couple is missing. THEY HAD CLIMBED UP ONTO THE ROCKS WITH THE SEA LIONS ON THEM AND WERE GOING TO PET THEM. I started screaming at them along with the lifeguards because the sea lions were starting to freak out. I put them back on the beach and told them not to move.


38. How Many Watermelons Fit In The Cave?

I work as a tour guide at a local cave. Some of my favorite and reoccurring questions are: "How much sunscreen do I need to bring?" "Are we going underground?" "Will we see the cave?" "Is there a restroom?" (as we're 100 feet underground in a tiny hole) "How many watermelons fit in the cave?" (Yeah, I don't know either....)


39. I Don’t Think Whales Can Live In A Lake, Sir

I used to give tours on a glacial lake in Alaska. It never ceased to amaze me how many tourists asked if there were whales in the lake.


40. This Isn’t A Mall

A group of guests asked me when the city's shopping district closed.

At first, I thought this was a simple misunderstanding. Obviously, they'd never been there and thought it was a mall rather than a section of the city with lots of stores in it. I explained that the stores all had their own hours and weren't connected or related in any way, and that I personally didn't happen to know the hours of any of them, but that a lot of the stores had websites, so they could look up the hours on their smartphones.

This was a completely unacceptable answer. They kept demanding to know when the entire thing closed. Every time I re-explained to them the concept of a neighborhood with lots of unrelated stores, they responded with things like, "We just need to know when [that entire chunk of the city] closes," or "We need to go to [whatever store]," and "We don't want to look up their hours online, we want YOU to tell us."

They told me I was terrible at my job for not having memorized every fact about the entire city that any tourist might ever want to know. I eventually told them that I was not a tour guide, it was not my job to do anything other than work in this restaurant, and that the reason I didn't know the store hours was that my job didn't pay me enough to shop there. They left still raving about how horrible I was and that I should be fired.


41. This Isn’t A Lazy River

I rent out paddleboards to people on our local river, and people ask us all the time if the river goes in a loop. Sure, lady, it's just like at the Hilton Resort in Hawaii: grab a nice beverage and hop on in, we'll see you in a few hours!


42. Are You For Real?

From my husband that was a tour guide at the Animal Kingdom in Disney World: 1.) "Is that real rain, or Disney rain?" was just raining 2.) "Hey, man, do you ever hear those elephants fart?" 3.) "Can my son go pee in the corner over there so we don't lose our place in line?"

sogol-salehi-1064909-unsplash-225x300.jpgPhoto by Sogol Salehi on Unsplash

43. Opining On Pine

I work in a National Park and occasionally lead tours. My park has fossilized redwood trees (34 million years old) and one of them happens to have a pine tree growing out the top of it (20 years old).

Some chick asked me if it was possible that the pine tree growing out the top of the redwood was a descendant of the redwood that had grown from one of its seeds once the conditions were right.

Yes, ma'am, a seed waited 34 million years to grow out of the top of its fossilized parent... Genius.

Instead of saying that, I just said, "No, this is a pine tree."

fog-3622519-300x200.jpgImage by

44. Come On, Man

Most of my family members who fought in the Civil war died at the Battle of Shiloh. They are buried in a mass grave and every year at the anniversary, we will all go down to Shiloh and have a small gathering and participate in the festivities.

On the 150th anniversary, there was a huge crowd and a tour bus from Nashville brought some foreign tourists. Since we were also volunteers, we took a couple of groups around a showed them the sights. We took them over to the mass grave where the Confederate dead were buried.

One guy, who Irish, stepped over the stones that marked one of the mass graves. We told him to step out of the stones, but he remarked that they lost and died for slavery. Two big dudes who were with us grabbed him and threw him out of the grave markers.

I don't care if they lost, have some respect for the dead.

battle-197727-300x194.jpgImage by

45. No Sense Of Time

I used to work at a tourist attraction in Texas and we got some people who had visited the Alamo on their vacation who asked us, "Why did they build the Alamo in the middle of the city?"

Yes, that's right. After taking the Alamo, Santa Anna checked out the shops on the Riverwalk before heading up north to Schlitterbahn to get his tube on.

alamo-678138-300x198.jpgImage by

46. Buildings Are Fake

I'm a tour guide in Chicago, mostly giving architecture tours on the river. We drive up and down the river on a boat and I talk about buildings and history.

I had one guy who thought that all the tall buildings in the downtown area were government projects and they were all mostly empty. Just shells put up to look nice and generate construction. I'm really not sure why...

Also, "Why aren't you talking about Al Capone?" Um, because he didn't design any goddamn buildings.


47. Way To Show Respect

I work at Valor in the Pacific National Monument, but the USS Arizona Memorial is probably the more well known name for it. We get about 4000-6000 visitors a day, and every single day I am astounded that these people even managed to make it out here.

Just this past weekend a man dropped his shorts to the ground and reached into his underwear with both hands to adjust himself. At the main entrance to the entire park. With children right there. And he honestly just didn't think it was wrong.

We had a family bring a plastic bucket, like the kind of thing you might bring to the beach, with them into the movie theatre. That wasn't a problem; what was a problem was when one of them used it to take a dump while still in the theatre. It's mind-boggling what people think is acceptable at a place of memory. Or frankly any place!

memorial-708684-300x199.jpgImage by

48. Leave The Towers Out Of This

NYC helicopter pilot here.

"Where are the twin towers now?"

Whilst flying over Coney Island in Brookyln, NY: "Is that where the Jersey Shore was filmed?"

My favorite was when it started to rain and you can hear the sound of rain hit the windshield and SEE THE WATER DROPLETS and the front seat passenger points, and asks, "Is it raining?"

world-trade-center-2699805-300x241.jpgImage by

49. I Love Elephants Too, But Come On!

Used to work at a zoo. Another coworker and I caught some people who were beyond old enough to know better off the path, down a hill, through bushes, getting close to the elephants. We shouted at them to get back up to the road, that they can't go into the elephant area. Their excuse was there wasn't a sign to tell them not to.

We should have just let them go Darwin-style...

elephant-1421167-300x200.jpgImage by

50. A Civil Chat

I volunteer at a museum. One time, a woman, surrounded by Civil War artifacts, asked: "Is this stuff from World War II?"

"No," I said, "The Civil War."

She perked up and replied, "Oh! So do you anything from Martin Luther King?"

people-3255328-300x230.jpgImage by

51. Lake Vs. Ocean

Oh my god... I used to work at the Navy pier in Chicago. So many instances of unbridled ignorance present themselves daily. Here's a couple examples I can think of a few years down the line:

  1. Tourists screaming about how they can't see the whales or dolphins... in Lake Michigan.
  2. People FROM CHICAGO asking where the ocean is. It's a lake and it's 20 feet behind where we are standing. Oh, and it's massive. I literally don't know how you could miss this.
  3. Are the boats upstairs? Ok, no. Sea level.

chicago-1804479-300x169.jpgImage by

52. Show And Tell

This wasn't really that dumb, but annoying. I'm French Canadian and I was giving some information to four French tourists, and suddenly I noticed that this woman has her camera pointed at me. I'm embarrassed but I still keep giving the information and at the end, they ALL start laughing. At this point, my face is red and I'm feeling super uncomfortable. I ask the woman if she was filming me and she says, "Yes your accent is too funny I have to show that to my friends in France." Basically, I felt like some kind of freak show and that woman didn't even ask me before starting to film, she just put the camera in front of my face, which was really disrespectful. Let me tell you that I'm very self-conscious and I felt terrible after that.


53. Ghosts Of Humidity

I used to work for a ghost tour company for extra cash. I live in the south and it's VERY humid pretty much year-round.

One night I had a small group of about six people and we were going through locations pretty quickly. At the company I worked for, our tours were never quite the same. It was up to each guide which locations to hit and which stories to tell in X amount of time. We just guaranteed that you'd be able to go inside one "haunted" location. Most groups hit three to five locations.

One of our indoor locations was a bed and breakfast, one was an old jail/courthouse, and another was a cemetery. I ran the group by the bed and breakfast but another group was already touring it so I decided to hit the cemetery and then go back to the bed and breakfast since they were such a fast group.

I walked everyone through the cemetery, told all the stories, and answered questions. I let everyone have time to take photos to kill some time. As everyone was grouping back together to head to the bed and breakfast, one of the guys comes running up waving his camera around saying he got the best ghost pictures EVER.

I checked it out. He had about 30 pictures of humidity. All the other people start checking their photos. Sure enough, they all have it too. Every last one of them said it was the best ghost tour they ever went on.


54. I Didn’t Have Any Ancestors Back Then

I worked at the Visitor's Center in Gettysburg for a while. Here are some of my favorites:

"Do they take the monuments in at night, or just leave them on the battlefield?"

"Why aren't there any bullet holes in the monuments?"

"Oh, I didn't have any ancestors back then."


55. A Segway Tour Accident

I used to work as a tour guide for the college I go to. As part of my job, I gave Segway tours to prospective students and their families.

One time I was with a couple of families, and one of them had a 10-year-old boy with them. I was leading them through the tour and at one point we were in a parking lot getting ready to park the Segways before heading inside a building.

The 10-year-old boy had gotten off of his too early and was trying to get back on to catch up to the rest of the group. Instead of getting on the Segway when it's stationary like you're supposed to, the kid tried to jump on after getting a running start.

He completely flipped over the front of the Segway and landed helmet-first on the parking lot concrete. He was fine, but instead of checking on him like a good tour guide I started laughing uncontrollably. As you can guess I wasn't that family's favorite person after that.


56. Don't Ride The Elk

I worked in Yellowstone National Park for a summer and enjoyed spending some downtime taking tours.

My favorites include:

"When do you guys take out the bears?"

"Can we ride the elk?"

"If the volcano is going to erupt on us tomorrow, why can't I take rocks home with me?"

I also saw someone drive onto the hot springs area. Caused $10,000 in damages to resources.


57. It's A living Rock

I was at the Monterey Bay aquarium and they have a row of touch and feel tanks with things like sea cucumbers, starfish, and other things like that. In one of the tanks there was a gumboot chiton. It's a big blob thing that has a foot like a snails or slugs. Well along comes a younger kid about 6 or 7 and he's looking at it all excited and feeling it. Then all of a sudden he grabs the thing and yanks it up from out of the water waving it around showing his parents who don't seemed to be concerned in this slightest. I love sea creatures of all kind and seeing him do this got me a little upset to the point where I yelled at the kid to put it down. Then all of a sudden here come the parents with, "Don't you yell at our child, he wasn't doing anything to hurt it, blah, blah, blah." Why do people have to be so dumb. Just because it looks like a rock doesn't mean it's a rock.

naomi-tamar-326761-unsplash-300x200.jpgPhoto by naomi tamar on Unsplash

58. Same Country Man

Worked as a tour guide in Alaska. Had (American) tourist ask about the exchange rate.

aaron-wu-753749-unsplash-300x200.jpgPhoto by Aaron Wu on Unsplash

59. Different Countries Same Language

My family went on a trip to Spain, and on our tour, there was a guy who kept asking why everybody was speaking "Mexican." We and the tour guide kept telling him that it's Spanish, not Mexican, but he kept doing it. He even called a bunch of Spaniards Mexican to their face. Apparently, he thought all Hispanic people were "Mexican." I hope I never have to go on a tour with someone who ruins the experience like that again.

willian-justen-de-vasconcellos-473976-unsplash-300x200.jpgPhoto by Willian Justen de Vasconcellos on Unsplash

60. The Winner Wins

I was a tour guide at a horse track, and someone asked me "how do you know who wins?"... you know, because the horse who finishes first wins.

jeff-griffith-662736-unsplash-300x201.jpgPhoto by Jeff Griffith on Unsplash

61. Is This Real Life?

I was on a cruise ship in Alaska, and eventually, someone asks the cruise ship recreation manager about the dumbest question that he's been asked.

He said that once, some woman looked over the side of the cruise ship and asked if the water was real.

matt-hardy-562566-unsplash-300x200.jpgPhoto by Matt Hardy on Unsplash

62. Wrong Audience

My dad went to Israel recently and wore a shirt around that read "bring pork to the people". It was from his favorite bbq place, and he didn't see the problem.

andres-medina-499259-unsplash-300x200.jpgPhoto by Andrés Medina on Unsplash

63. Chemical Burns For The Whole Family

In Wyoming, it is common to buy bear spray (highly concentrated pepper spray) when heading into Yellowstone. One tourist believed it was bear repellent, lined up his family and sprayed all of them. Chemical burns for everyone!

As a raft guide, we regularly got asked whether we would be passing the same spot/going through the same rapid later in the journey. We would reply, "Why yes, this is actually one of the only circular rivers in the world!"


64. Everyone Deserves A Name

I'm a tour guide for a dogsledding company in Iceland and we get some really silly questions. My favorite is when a customer first sees the 36 dogs and asks "Do they have names???" Like we call them all by numbers.

jeremy-stenuit-636307-unsplash-300x247.jpgPhoto by Jérémy Stenuit on Unsplash

65. They're Coming To Steal The Telescopes

I work in this small castle that was used as protection for the Port of Cork against pirates about 400 years ago, but also doubles as an astronomy centre.

We have an ocular telescope on the roof that is not in use anymore because we have a radio one now. It never ceases to amaze me how many people ask if they can use it to stargaze... in broad daylight.

As well as that, I've had people ask me if the pirates that used to attack Cork are still doing so, and if we have to defend against them at our tiny antiquated castle which was fit for purpose in 1582. Strangely enough, I've observed that most of this comes from visitors from the North American continent.

viking-4178411-300x200.jpgImage by

66. Jurassic Park Wasn't A Documentary?

I worked for a couple of Body Worlds exhibits.. You know, the ones where plastinated humans and animals were on display. More often than you'd think, people would ask if we had plastinated dinosaurs.

landscape-3969074-1-300x200.jpgImage by

67. Education Is Really Important

At the Titanic museum in Belfast, I’ve had people ask me all kinds of dumb questions.

“What room is the actual ship in?”

“When do we get to go on the Titanic itself?”

“Where’s the Heart of the Ocean necklace?”

We have a room with a big cinema screen that shows the submarines exploring the wreckage of the ship and just before you exit there’s another section that has a few screens embedded in the floor that you can walk across that gives another view from cameras on the submarine’s hull. We’ve had people ask -- completely seriously -- when they’ll be back on land or what happens if the glass breaks and water leaks in. This part of the tour is on the 2nd floor of the building.


68. You're Thinking Of The Amish

I used to work at Colonial Williamsburg. I basically dressed up in big, heavy costumes and either manned a gift shop or did demonstrations on how they did stuff back then.

A lady asked me once if the employees in authentic dress lived there like that all the time and if we had TV and computers and whatnot.

horses-65610-300x251.jpgImage by

69. I Quit!

I used to run tours at Kensington Palace, London. This one lady left the tour completely after finding out she was not going to get to meet the royal family.

beauty-354565-300x200.jpgImage by

70. Live By The Sword

I'm not a tour guide, but I play a knight at medieval markets and Renaissance fairs. Last weekend a dude asked one of the other guys in my camp if our cooking fire was real or just a hologram.

Another time a tourist noticed that I'm a girl (it's kind of hard to see under the shitload of armor we normally wear) and asked something along the lines of, "Does the female body react differently when hit with a sword than a male's body?"

Dumb tourists at their best.

knight-2565957-300x200.jpgImage by

71. Why Would You Ever...?

I watched a tourist throw his hat over the railings at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Arlington cemetery...then proceed to go and pick it up.

unknown-soldier-109237-300x199.jpgImage by

72. How Big Are Yours, Ma'am?

I work at a drive through zoo. I drive a horse-drawn wagon and while I was explaining the difference between an ostrich egg and an emu egg to some guests, a 40-year-old woman asked me how big a zebra's egg was. So I had to explain how mammals give birth to a grown woman with 3 kids.


73. Let Me Ask The Dictionary

"Does water go all the way around the island?" I used to be a tour guide in Hawaii.


74. This Isn't A Dog Show

Used to live and work in a national park. One lady was very upset that the animals weren't groomed. She got quite irate over it. She thought we should take more pride in their appearance. I was dumbfounded.

deer-1245712-300x200.jpgImage by

75. Things Not To Say In Ireland

I'm a full-time tour guide in Ireland. If I had a Euro for every time I've explained the "don't go to a bar and ask for a car bomb, you're being rude" thing to Americans, I'd be a millionaire.

As for other stories... There's the Japanese group that wandered into Belfast looking to go drinking with the IRA. Then there's the baby-boomer woman in Dublin who tried to pay me in Pounds Sterling, telling me that "Ireland is basically in England so you have to accept it." Oh, my favourite was the little old Italian lady who asked me to buy her pot. I spent ten minutes laughing and explained there was no way that was happening.


76. Dragon Conservation Is So Important

I was working in a room in a fairly well known attraction in the UK, when an American family walked in. Now, it was a pretty long tour through the building and the kid was getting a bit bored and restless, so I started taking to him and pointed out the cool picture of St George and the Dragon on the wall. I asked him if he knew the story, and he did not. Neither did his mother -- maybe it's not that common over the other side of the pond, I thought.

So, I was happy to be the first to tell this kid the classic story of George and the Dragon, and he was suitably entertained. The mother then asks if it really happened, to which I assume she means if the story was based on any historical event.

I go off on a quick outline of the historical St George, and how he had really nothing to do with England and that dragon slaying myths pops up everywhere in Europe, so it's unlikely to be based on anything in English history.

The poor woman looks confused and asks, "But they must have had some battles like that at some stage before they were all hunted, right?"

"Madam, dragons don't exist".

Not a sentence I thought I'd have to ever say while working there.

dragon-238931-300x197.jpgImage by

77. The Giving Tree

When I was working as a tour guide we used to tell silly jokes for the kids. One of the local tree species has bark that looks a bit like bacon, so we would tell people that on a warm summers day if you stand really close and sniff the trees it smells like cooking bacon. An American (because it is always an American) took us seriously, smelt one and then got surprisingly angry at us when the tree did not in fact smell like bacon.

bacon-1341868-1-300x174.jpgImage by

78. Mammoth Misunderstanding

I work at one of the largest Pleistocene paleontological sites in North America. I've had people ask where they can see the living mammoths.

Columbian Mammoths went extinct roughly 10,000 years ago. No, they're not alive, no they're not dinosaurs, no you can't have your money back just because you're a moron. Go home.

nature-3159111-300x169.jpgImage by

79. I Demand To Be Haunted!

I was a tour guide in Edinburgh. Ghost tours, for the most part. I'd take people into the Vaults and the graveyards and creepy built-over streets.

The stupidest tourists I ever encountered were a family of four who turned up on a very slow day in mid-winter. Pro tip, if you want to do a ghost tour and get scared out of your mind, don't do it at lunchtime. That's what night time is for (partly for atmosphere, but really because nobody does jump-scares in the afternoon). But these muppets showed up at 1pm. They were the only people on the tour, and I was trying my best to make it entertaining and creepy for them.

Alas, my best was not good enough. They didn't want spooky stories, they wanted actual ghosts and nothing else would do. And when I failed to provide actual ghosts, they threw a collective tantrum and took me hostage. They cornered me and told me I wasn't getting out until they saw some poltergeist activity. The dad started threatening me (I was a petite, female, about 19 at the time) with physical violence.

Sucks to be him -- I have a trained voice and I am loud when I want to be, so I started screaming for help (no mobile phones back then) and fending him off with the stick I always carried on tours. The guys from the tour company's office heard me and came to help, along with the boss' massive dog. The family got kicked out, no refund, and banned. They're lucky I didn't call the police.

That was the most dramatic stupidity I dealt with. Mostly it was just people asking where Edinburgh Castle is stored in winter or whether we have electricity in Scotland.

edinburgh-1541103-300x200.jpgImage by

80. That's Gotta Hurt

I used to work in a National Park visitor's center. One day, out of nowhere, there was this huge commotion and a lot of screaming from the lobby.

I walked over to find an entire tourist family crying and screaming and other staff trying their best to manage the situation. Then the air shifted and the smell hits me.

They had applied a liberal amount of BEAR SPRAY all over themselves and the entire lobby. Apparently, they had mistaken the wording of "bear repellent" and had assumed it was to be used like mosquito repellent.

bear-422682-300x200.jpgImage by

81. Who Designed Nature?

I used to guide whitewater rafting trips on the Kennebec river in Maine. One time, we got a group of twenty-somethings who had been wandering astray of the greater Orlando area for the first time in their lives. I took them on an 8-hour trip down one of the most remote and scenic areas in Maine (a town of thirty five about an hour from the nearest 'big' town of about 15,000) and after traversing a dangerous thirteen miles of river, these people who had only known theme parks their whole lives said to me, "Wow, you guys worked really hard to do all this. The trees look so real!"


82. What Does L.A. Stand For

Not a tour guide, but was on a tour.

"When do we get to Los Angeles?"

The tour started at L.A. She didn't know that L.A. and Los Angeles were the same thing.

roberto-nickson-g-508471-unsplash-200x300.jpgPhoto by Roberto Nickson (@g) on Unsplash

83. Wild Animals Are Wild; Stay Away

In Yellowstone National Park, a tourist was trying to take a picture with some buffalo. He had his child, probably three years old, with him, and he was walking towards the buffalo. His wife was holding the camera, ready to take the picture. I knew that he was trying to put his kid onto the buffalo or pose with it or something else immensely idiotic. Fortunately, a park ranger stopped him before anything serious happened. Apparently, this is fairly common in Yellowstone and most people who try it are injured or worse. Wild animals are wild. Stay away.


84. Sure...

Working on a teaching farm, a thirty-five year old adult with two kids asked me if it was OK to pet the horse.

It was a cow. I said, "Sure."

theo-leconte-480341-unsplash-200x300.jpgPhoto by Theo Leconte on Unsplash

85. Just Repeat What You Said

At Disney, "What time is the 3 o'clock parade?"

kenrick-mills-728499-unsplash-200x300.jpgPhoto by Kenrick Mills on Unsplash

86. Just Flick The Big Switch

Not a tour guide but frequently asked by tourists. "What time do they turn Niagara Falls off?" or "If this is Canada why is so hot? and why aren't you speaking French?". It was August and I can speak any language I want! and don't get me started on this one lady who threw a hissy fit, because she got Canadian change back after shopping at Dollarama.

sohhyun-oh-663786-unsplash-1-225x300.jpgPhoto by Sohhyun Oh on Unsplash

87. Europe Is Pretty Big

Finally, my time to shine! I work for a student travel company in Europe for primarily study abroad kids. I've heard it all. In Paris, "This is so dumb, we haven't even seen Big Ben yet." In Amsterdam at Anne Frank House, "what's the likelihood that Anne got to get ripped while hanging in the attic, cause you know it was in Amsterdam". In Prague, a student heard the clicking of a crosswalk for the timer and she asked: "Is that clicking for blind drivers to stop and know that pedestrians are crossing?" I have plenty more

luke-stackpoole-711268-unsplash-240x300.jpgPhoto by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash

88. Look Around You

Was asked to the guide by a fellow traveler on a tour in Scotland:

"Do you know at what altitude above sea level we are"?

We were right next to the ocean.

alex-perez-650185-unsplash-225x300.jpgPhoto by Alex Perez on Unsplash

89. Multiple Moons

Somewhere in the southern hemisphere -"is that the same moon we have in Texas?"

mike-petrucci-607505-unsplash-300x225.jpgPhoto by Mike Petrucci on Unsplash

90. When Deer Turn To Elk

Yellowstone National Park tourists:

"Where do they put the animals in winter?"

At the beginning of a river raft float: "So the boat ends back here right?" ("Yes ma'am, this is a circular river.")

Finally, a question so dumb, you wonder how they came up with it: "What time of the year do the deer turn into elk?"