More than Slots at Your Fingertips: Next Exit History Finishes Tour in Las Vegas

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Next Exit History™ is a free mobile app that provides a fun and exciting way to learn more about the history and culture of over 60,000 sites and landmarks around the world, additionally the app uses GPS to steer users to historical points of interest around them. With innovative and engaging storytelling, and the History Hunters™ game, Next Exit History encourages all generations to actively explore and fully immerse themselves in the incredible iconic landmarks and natural wonders in their own backyard.

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, right? Or so the motto goes! It might surprise some people to know that much of the history of the City of Lights is now accessible in a free mobile app, Next Exit History (NEH). Thanks to the diligent efforts of a class of students at the University of West Florida (UWF) you can now cruise down memory lane while driving down the strip.

Las Vegas marks the final stop in a whirlwind 28-day road trip through 11 states and 30 national parks. As a part of their graduate course, students have been developing content for locations across the U.S., including Vegas, for the GPS-based app. From stomping through canyons where allosaurus once roamed in Dinosaur National Park to studying the various hydrothermal features of Yellowstone National Park, the class worked in collaboration with rangers, guides and historians from Florida to California and all the way back again. Developed by UWF faculty researchers in partnership with Historical Research Associates (HRA), Next Exit History provides information on more than 60,000 historical sites around the world. With the students help that number will increase by over 400 entries this summer.

“This was a journey through both the modern day United States and our past as a nation,” said UWF graduate student Jessica McKenzie. “From cold mountain terrain to dessert to the ocean, there were so many different things to take in, considering I've never really been out of the Gulf Coast! Thus far my favorite place has been either Yellowstone due to the various hydrothermal features or Crater Lake because of the sheer beauty.”

In addition to providing historical fun facts for travelers, Next Exit History has also been a critical part of the ramp up to next year’s National Park Service Centennial celebration. NEH will be a key component in highlighting sites across the country that have received protection under the National Historic Preservation Act. In fact, NEH has been named an official app of the Preservation 50 Initiative.

“History is so much more than what you read in a textbook or on a website. As a teacher, finding ways to show students the amazing things all around them can be challenging,” said Dr. Patrick Moore, lead UWF professor on the tour. “That’s why we are so excited about the app, because it brings this information right to where people are standing. Working with the National Park Service really makes showcasing these beautiful places possible.”

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The NEH app hopes to unite all generations, spanning iconic historical locations from the birthplace of hip hop to the Alamo. For more information, visit http://www.nextexithistory.com or contact Tessa Bodell at 808.462.1685 / tessa(at)zenwerks(dot)com.

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William Rinehart
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