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Shanghai’s Expo 2010: The New World’s Fair

What do Paris’ Eiffel Tower, Seattle’s Space Needle, and San Francisco’s Palace of Fine Arts have in common? They were all built for prior World’s Fair events.

If you’re unfamiliar with World’s Fairs, try imagining a cross between a technology convention and a county fair, with nations from all over the world setting up the displays. There are elaborate buildings, artistic displays, live performances, movies, and more–and this year, the festivities are taking place in Shanghai, China.

Working with the theme “Better City, Better Life,” Expo 2010 is already providing peeks at some very interesting displays. My favorite, however, has to be the U.K.’s bizarre “Seed Cathedral.” Looking like some kind of futuristic pincushion, this 65-foot structure sits in the center of the U.K. Pavilion, inviting visitors to crawl inside and look around. And while the outside of the structure–described as “threatening” or “fuzzy” depending on who you talk to–is a burst of fiber optic filaments, the interior showcases a variety of seeds encased in the tip of each rod. At night, the structure will glow.

Other pavilions to look forward to include France’s pavilion, wrapped in huge, white, fishnet-like wire mesh; South Korea’s pavilion, shaped after the letters of the Korean alphabet; Singapore’s pavilion, with its “symphony” theme and music box feel; and Switzerland’s pavilion, blending elements of technology and nature.

Expo 2010 opens to the public on May 1, 2010 and runs through October 31, 2010. And with up to 800,000 visitors expected each day, it’d be a good idea to plan ahead and book your Shanghai hotel a little early!


Image by subjectindex (via Flickr).


My name: Kate Beall

How I earn my keep: Writing for Travelocity.

Best meal I've ever had: There are three: the mofongo at Jimmy'z Kitchen in South Beach, the lomito completo at Fuente Alemana in Santiago, and (for the sheer novelty factor) the cuy chactado in Arequipa, Peru.

First thing I do in a new place: Hit the shower. Anything more than an hour in transit gets me fantasizing about soap.

View that took my breath away: Seeing the endless stretch of the Sierras as I flew in to Reno/Tahoe for the first time. In the winter, it's an aching field of white all the way to the horizon, like a world wiped clean. Looking out at it gives you this unmatched feeling of eternity.

Most challenging travel moment: Sharing a pull-out couch in a cramped New York apartment. The heat wave of 2010 was in full, humid swing and the air conditioning was D.O.A. There was nothing to do but soak your clothes in the sink and hope to pass out before they dried. ...then wake up in an hour and do it all again.

Favorite way to get around: On foot. I'm still working on the motorcycle license.


Urso Chappell

Thanks for posting about this. I’m amazed at how few North Americans realize world’s fairs still happen. There are billboards advertising Expo 2010 in San Francisco but no one knows what it is without the words “world’s fair” on it.

I would say, though, that world’s fairs are more like a cross between the Olympics and theme parks… kinda-sorta.

Nathan Rodriguez

All pavillions are very creative in my opinion, a lot of cool ideas.

Park Hotel

The Seed Cathedral in London sounds amazing. I must visit London soon to see this object.

Wisconsin Dells Hotels

I wish i can attend this expo.Does this expo has display of latest electronic gadgets.

Smart Traveller

I saw that seed cathedral on the television, looked pretty incredible. Expo’s often have a lot of crazy things on show

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