Tuesday, August 10, 2021

Tell Me Something Tuesday: Weird Things Visitors Say In State Parks

Today, we're trying something new. Welcome to Tell Me Something Tuesday. This is a post where I tell you something . . . on a Tuesday. For today's "something," I'm talking about my job. For the past few years, I've worked in revenue and visitor services for a state park. On a typical weekend day, I interact with around 300 visitors. It's intense. And nonstop. For example, I went back to work fulltime a few days after I got my first COVID shot. In my first week back at fulltime work, I got cussed at and flipped off by several unhappy campers. I dealt with long lines and broken equipment. A dog attacked a cyclist, and then the cyclist attacked the dog’s owner. A homeless woman experienced some highly confusing mental health issues. I froze in a snowstorm. I helped settle a few domestic squabbles. I could keep listing problems, but you get the idea. This is what I do all day.

Since I spend so much time interacting with weird and wonderful people, I thought I'd share a few of the memorable visitor interactions I've had the misfortune pleasure of handling.

🏕  Weird Things Visitors Say In State Parks  🌲

Confusion, For The Win

A truck towing a huge camping trailer is driving slowly. The driver looks lost.

Me: “Hello, are you looking for the campground?”

The driver’s eyes get huge.

Driver: “How’d you know I was looking for the campground? Are you one of those what-do-you-call-ums? Psychic mind readers?”

Me: “You’re towing a camper behind your truck. I assumed you were looking for a place to camp.”

Driver: “Oh. I totally forgot that was back there.”

Visitor: “How do I get to the campground?”

Me: “Our bridge is under construction, so you’ll have to go out through the west entrance and in through the east entrance.”

Visitor: “I have to drive around the lake to get to the campground?”

Me: “Yes. I’m sorry about that. We’re fixing the bridge as quickly as possible.”

Visitor: “I have a big truck. Can’t I just gun it and drive through the lake?”

Me: “. . . No . . . . You can’t drive a truck through a lake.”

Some context: The park is located on the high plains, which is one of the most endangered ecosystems in North America.

Visitor: “Can I get a refund?”

Me: “Possibly. What happened?”

Visitor: “We came here all the way from Boston because we heard how beautiful the Colorado mountains are. Then we get to this park, and it’s a hot, barren, treeless, wasteland! All the mountains are in the distance. I thought they’d be in the park.”

Me: “You thought there were mountains in the park?”

Visitor: “Yeah, but there aren’t any mountains here. The mountains are all far away.”

Me: “The mountains are far away because we’re not in the mountains. We’re on the plains. This is what plains look like.”

Visitor: “It’s ugly. You need to plant a forest so people won’t be disappointed when they come here. Can I get a refund?”

Me: “I guess.”

Some context: Parks exist to protect open spaces from urban development.

Visitor: “Is there a place in this park where I could get a Big Mac?”

Me: “You’re looking for a McDonalds? In the park?”

Visitor: “Yeah! A McDonalds. Is there one in here?”

Me: “No.”

Wives, For The Win

Visitors pull up to the park's entrance station in their car.

Visitor: “Can I buy an annual pass?”

Me: “Of course. I’ll need to see your driver’s license and the registration of your vehicle.”

The visitor digs through his car, pulls out 1000 scraps of paper.

Visitor: “The registration is in here somewhere.”

Visitor’s Wife: “This is exactly why I told you to clean out the car.”

Minutes pass.

Visitor: “I found a registration, but it’s expired.”

Visitor’s Wife: “I told you to throw out the expired ones.”

Me: “Expired registration is fine if the information on it is accurate.”

Visitor’s Wife: “Don’t tell him that! I want him to face the consequences of his actions. Now he’ll never clean the car!”

Visitor: “How old do you have to be to qualify for a discounted annual pass?”

Me: “Sixty-four.”

Visitor: “Oh, good! That’s me! I’m qualified! I want that pass!”

Visitor’s wife: “Sorry, he’s overexcited. He’s never qualified for anything in his life.”

Visitor, yelling over the screeching of hyper children: “I’m taking the kids camping for the weekend!”

Me: “Wow, how many kids do you have in your motorhome?”

Visitor: “A lot! When I told my wife she’d get the house to herself for two days, she smiled so big. I’ve never seen her smile so big.”

Me: “. . . .”

Visitor, glancing into his RV: “We just got here, and I miss her already.”

Visitor: “Can I get a receipt for my day pass?”

Me: “Of course.”

Visitor: “My wife needs to see receipts. She doesn’t believe I fish all night. She thinks I’m cheating on her.”

Me: “. . . .”

Children, For The Win

Mother with kids: “Is there a dog park here?”

Me: “Yes.”

Mother: “Is it fenced?”

Me: “Yes.”

Mother: “Would I get in trouble if I left my kids in the dog park for a few hours and went shopping?”

Me: “Um . . . I would not recommend doing that.”

Mother with kids: “What are those animals in that field?”

Me: “Prairie dogs.”

Mother, turning to her kids: “They’re prairie dogs.”

Kid: “Oh, daddy has those at his house! I’ve seen them. Mom, you should come to daddy’s house and see the prairie dogs.”

Mother: “Remember how mommy said she’s NEVER EVER going to daddy’s house? We should stop talking about daddy’s house and have fun on vacation with mommy.”

Visitor: “Do you accept credit cards? Please tell me I can pay with a credit card.”

Me: “We take credit cards.”

Visitor: “Oh, thank god. I thought I had cash, but I don’t because I have too many damn kids.”

Visitor: “My son’s father just texted that I should meet him at the boat ramp. Where’s that?”

Me: “It’s—”

Visitor’s child: “I’m going on my dad’s boat! Mom’s not coming. She has to drop me off at the parking lot because my parents got divorced, and now they’re only allowed to talk in public places.”

Visitor: “Hush! The park rangers don’t need details!”

A mother with a child in the backseat pull up to the entrance station in a car.

Mother: "Can I get a day pass?"

Me: "Of course."

The child starts crying hysterically.

Mother: "What's wrong? What happened?"

Child: "I thought this was Dunkin Donuts, but it's not!"

Me: "I've never related to something so much in my life."

If you’re visiting a park this summer, please be kind to the rangers and staff! We’re doing our best to keep everybody alive and happy in the wilderness. Also, don't hesitate to ask questions. Though, you might end up in this post . . . .


  1. This is the funniest thing I've read in a very long time. Thank you for starting my day off with a laugh.

    I was just at a few different state parks while on vacation, but I promise I was nice to the staff!!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

  2. Thank you for the laughs! I read some of them out loud to my family and they also enjoyed. It's amazing some people actually live to become "adults" and take on responsibilities.

  3. Hilarious! I'm sure you get hassled in a bad way a lot so I'm glad you have some funny things too to keep you going.

    Thanks for joining in this week!

    Karen @For What It's Worth

  4. Dealing with the public is more stress than I'm willing to handle on a daily basis, so kudos to you for finding humor in it!

  5. Ahahahah How can you really think it’d be a good idea to drive THROUGH a lake?? Like when has this been possible, ever? 😂😂

    Some people really are something else… I really got asked if they could get a caramel latte, but without the caramel.. 🥲 N-No maam… that’s not a caramel latte then.

    Kristina @ books-and-dachshunds.com

  6. Oh I'm dying! Too funny. The public is incredibly entertaining when viewed in a nice third party way like this so I don't have to actually deal with them!

  7. "I totally forgot that was back there". Oy...

  8. Oh my goodness, these are fantastic. I love hearing stories of people working with the people.
    "drive straight through the lake" and "i thought this was a dunkin donuts" are two of my favorites!


  9. Welcome to TMST!

    "You need to plant a forest so people won’t be disappointed when they come here."
    Absolutely. That sounds like a reasonable plan 😂.

    "Would I get in trouble if I left my kids in the dog park for a few hours and went shopping?"

    At least there's an upside when working with the public, isn't it? At least if one has got a blog 😉.

  10. Oh my goodness! Hilarious. I see a book in your future.

  11. Wha ha ha ha!! This was hilarious! Please start taking photos for us too.....

  12. This is such a great post. Gave me the best laugh, lol.

  13. Oh wow! XD People are the worst!

  14. Gosh AJ!!! I laughed her! especially at the wife telling that her husband had never qualified for anything in his life! Now I assure you that when we visited the Rocky Mountain NP, Great Sandunes or Mesa Verde we were not that weird LOL

  15. All of these had me laughing! What a great post!

  16. Okay AJ this is absolute GOLD! Each one was funnier than the last, and I am dying 😂😂 I agree with Deb up there- we NEED this to be a book!

  17. Dealing with the public is tough! You'll need some aspirin with you. why Boston folks shouldn't leave their state ....

  18. Very funny conversations! But how come none of my camping trips with may parents had funny conversations like that? At least not that I remember. But I have had jobs where I had to deal with the public, but it's not all laughs, people can be downright rude, mean & hateful! Yours does sound entertaining though.

  19. Great lines. You are well on your way to having enough material for a book!


  20. 'Visitor: “I have a big truck. Can’t I just gun it and drive through the lake?”' - I mean, technically they *could* do that ;)