The United States is a wonderful destination for many reasons. Each U.S. state boasts cultural diversity, rich history, fascinating towns and cities, and an array of world-famous sights.
This detailed guide on USA bucket list ideas highlights a variety of attractions and places of interest that attracts millions of tourists every year.
While each state in America has plenty of things to do for visitors, below you can read about the best things to do in each state and create your own adventurous USA bucket list.
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There are many reasons why this fabulous museum is one of the top tourist attractions in Alabama. One of the reasons is because it is a place that can be enjoyed by adults and kids alike. Another is that it is a fascinating place packed with things to see and do with an impressive 9,000 square feet and four floors of exhibits.
Having opened in 1998, this place has seen millions of people come through the doors to explore the interactive exhibits. You can explore the natural wonders of the state at the science center and take the exhibits such as Native American artifacts, fossils, minerals and rocks, and much more.
You can also pay a visit to the IMAX theater, which is a dome theater that provides you with an immersive experience as you watch documentaries that are designed to educate and fascinate visitors of all ages.
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If you enjoy taking in stunning natural beauty, then you will be thrilled with this attraction. Situated in the Alaska panhandle, this is a place where you can immerse yourself in the incredible surroundings that Alaska has become known for.
There are many outdoor activities that you can look forward to when you visit this attraction, and there is even a lodge that you can use as your base.
Amongst the recreational activities you can enjoy here are kayaking and hiking, not to mention bird watching and fishing. You will be fascinated by the wildlife that is present here too, including mountain goats and black bears.
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No trip to Arizona would be complete without a visit to the breathtaking Grand Canyon, which is known as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.
You will find plenty to see and do here and some fantastic photo opportunities of the awe-inspiring surroundings. Accessible from both the North and South Rim, the Grand Canyon offers a host of hiking trails for those who really want to explore the area.
You can even explore via mule rides if you prefer, although hiking on foot allows you to explore at your own pace and get to one with nature as you take in this stunning natural formation.
This theme park provides a day of thrill, amusement, and fun for the whole family. There is something for all ages at this park with both white-knuckle rides and rides for younger ones.
If you visit during the summer, you will also enjoy being able to cool off at the water park, which provides a host of additional thrills, including the fabulous wave pools.
If you want to chill out and relax for a little while, you can enjoy the lagoons. The impressive water slides offer added excitement for kids and adults alike and thus should be on your USA bucket list.
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There are so many great attractions in California, but this world-famous theme park is an absolute must when you come to this state. Although there are other Disney theme parks around the globe, this is the only one where construction was personally supervised by the man himself – Walt Disney.
This gives it a unique and special twist as well as a little extra Disney magic. Of course, the fabulous rides, magical attractions, and exciting characters also add to its appeal, making it the perfect place for the whole family to visit when visiting this state.
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Located in Colorado Springs, this is an attraction that brings in huge numbers of visitors from around the globe. At close to 1400 acres, there is plenty for visitors to feast their eyes on at this park with some stunning scenery to take in.
Garden of the Gods is designated a National Natural Landmark, making it the perfect attraction for those that want to get close to nature. You will be thrilled with the rock formations found here, which cover geological history going back hundreds of millions of years.
You can also enjoy the various walking trails to help you to make the most of your visit to this widely popular natural wonder. So, be sure to add this attraction to your USA bucket list.
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If you have an interest in literature and literary history, then the Mark Twain House & Museum is an attraction that you really shouldn’t miss. Although it only opened to the public in 2003, it has become quite popular.
You can learn more about the hugely talented Mark Twain and find out details about both his personal life and his life as a legendary author.
There is a gallery where you can take in an exhibition of Twain’s life and work, and there is even a theatre where you can watch a documentary on him.
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There are plenty of excellent attractions in Delaware, but if you are looking for something truly unique, you should take time out to visit Frightland. This spine-chilling attraction has become known as one of the scariest in the country and offers many spooky experiences to keep you on your toes.
Explore the Ravenwood Cemetery, taking in the Zombie Prison, or try out the Horror Hayride. There are many other spooky attractions that you can look forward to when you visit this scream park. Do bear in mind that Frightland only opens during the fall, from late September through to early November.
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Florida is a state known for its plethora of fantastic theme parks, amongst other things, and one theme park that you will love is Universal Studios.
An excellent place for a family day out, this park has something for everyone and will enable you to immerse yourself in the world of the movies through fabulous settings and thrilling rides.
Terminate, Jaw, and Twister are amongst some of the incredible rides and experiences you can enjoy here. You will also be delighted to see actors wandering around the theme park dressed as iconic movie stars and characters.
It truly deserves a spot on your USA bucket list.
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A visit to the studio of one of the world’s best-known news networks is something that will provide you with the most memorable and unique experience. Visitors can look forward to a fascinating tour of the studio, which is the global headquarters of the network.
Enjoy seeing where news stories are gathered, written, edited, and broadcast to the world as you make your way around the studio.
There are also VIP tours and the chance to see the news being broadcast live. Also, you can enjoy a bite to eat at one of the news-themed restaurants onsite.
Accomodation: Where to stay in Atlanta
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If you want to explore the world of volcanoes, Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is the place to visit in Hawaii. You will be thrilled with the dramatic landscapes and breathtaking views as you explore, and there are even various recreational activities that you can enjoy as you take in the surroundings. These activities include biking, hiking, and camping as you make your way through the park and marvel at the incredible scenery.
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Yellowstone National Park is a must-see attraction not just because of its natural beauty and recreational activities but because of its history. This was the first national park in the country, having been established in the early 1870s.
You will find some truly fascinating flora and fauna here, and it is the perfect place to soak up natural beauty in a historic and dramatic setting. There are plenty of activities, including camping, fishing, hiking, and spotting wildlife such as wolves, bears, and bison in the mountain wilderness.
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Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum is perfect for history lovers, and it is all the more fascinating because it stands in Springfield, which is the hometown of the 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln.
You can take in a range of exhibitions and artifacts relating to the life of this iconic former president, including original and signed copies of documents that helped to change American history forever.
There are various other exhibitions to take in at this museum, with some artifacts belonging to his wife and even the box seat from the Ford Theater, where President Lincoln was assassinated.
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Indianapolis Zoo is not just a regular zoo but a place where you can take part in some unique and exciting experiences. The zoo is the perfect attraction for families, as it aims to educate as well as fascinate its visitors.
There are, of course, plenty of animal species to see and learn about at this zoo. However, you can also enjoy some pleasant and memorable experiences, such as a guided in-water adventure with the dolphins.
The Animal Art Adventure enables you to have a personalized painting created by artists while the White River Garden teaches adults and kids about conservation of plants and animals.
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One of the top attractions in Dubuque, Iowa, the museum and aquarium provide visitors with a unique and enjoyable experience. It is situated in the Port of Dubuque, and through the use of aquariums, exhibits, and wetlands, it takes you on a journey along the Mississippi River. There are various hands-on experiences that you can look forward to, and the experience is both educational and entrancing for adults and children alike.
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Just like Dorothy was whisked away from Kansas to Oz, you can look forward to being whisked away from Kansas into space when you visit this immersive attraction.
There are some engaging US space artifacts and exhibitions to take in when you come to the space center, and it is a place that adults and children will love exploring.
Make sure you visit the Hall of Space Museum, which is second only in size to the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. There are several excellent shows to see at the dome theater, as well as plenty to learn at the planetarium.
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One of the attractions that this state is famous for is the Kentucky Derby. If you are a fan of horse racing and want to have a unique experience, you can see where it all happens with a visit to Churchill Downs horse-racing track.
This is an unforgettable and exciting experience where you not only enjoy the racing but can also take a trip to the Kentucky Derby Museum and learn all about the prestigious annual horse race through various exhibits.
There are even family Fun Days held here, which means that you can take the children along for a fun-filled day out.
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One grand and impressive event that Louisiana is known for is its colorful and fascinating Mardi Gras Parade, which takes place in New Orleans. You can learn all about this world-famous parade when you take the Mardi Gras Tour, where you can look forward to fun and entertainment every step of the way. You can delve into the roots of this parade as well as exploring how the famous floats are created, which makes for a beautiful and memorable experience.
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Maine is a state that is full of culture, and if it’s the culture you are after when you visit this state, you can head to Portland and pay a visit to the fascinating Portland Museum of Art. Here, you can look forward to taking in artworks from both American and European artists with some great pieces of art to feast your eyes on. There are more than 17,000 works of art to admire at this museum, including sculptures, paintings, and photographs.
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Whether you are a train enthusiast or want to have a fun and educational day out with the kids, the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum is a great place to visit. The most important railroad collection in the United States can be seen and explored in this historic national landmark.
There are also lots of engaging activities to look forward to for both children and adults, which includes a 20-min round trip train ride along the first commercial railroad track laid in America.
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As one of the most famous educational institutions in the world, it is well worth heading to Cambridge and enjoying a unique tour of the Harvard University campus when you are in Massachusetts. You can look forward to a self-guided tour of the beautiful and historic campus, where you can learn more about its rich history as well as its many achievements and alumni. You can even get a taste of what's life like as a student at this university as you explore the campus.
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Located in Dearborn, this museum is an excellent choice for those interested in invention, innovation, and history. You can explore the motor exhibits here, including the famous 'Presidential Limousines' exhibition. There is also the 'Heroes of the Sky' display, which is perfect for those who are into aircraft. You can even feast your eyes on a 1970s original Apple-1 computer when you come to this museum. The exhibitions on display here are designed not only to educate but also to inspire.
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Water Park of America is a great place to have some watery indoor fun with your family – and it is the country’s largest indoor water park as well. You will find plenty of thrilling rides at this indoor waterpark, as well as many opportunities to kick back and relax.
Head to the water slides for some excitement and fun or chill out in the indoor hot springs and let your stresses melt away. The Family Raft Ride is a great choice for some extra fun while at the park, and there is even a big game arcade that the whole family will enjoy.
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This attraction is a fantastic way to combine education, fun and enjoy a fascinating experience designed for all ages. Covering 73,000 sq ft, there is certainly plenty to see and do at this museum. Enjoy taking in the fabulous exhibits and marvel at the displays at the open-air amphitheater. The Monsters of the Deep exhibition is one that children will be thrilled with, and there is even an interactive aquarium that is perfect for kids that want to get close up to marine life.
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Situated in St. Louis, Forest Park is not only a place of stunning beauty but also packed with fun activities for the whole family to look forward to. There are 1300 acres of ground to explore here and some beautiful surroundings to admire as you make your way around.
Some of the area’s top attractions can also be found on the site, including the beautiful St. Louis Zoo and the St. Louis Science Center, both of which will be a hit for kids and adults alike. Impressive water features, lakes, and a golf course help to make this a beautiful place for a family get-together.
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Breathtaking beauty abounds at this hugely popular attraction, with some incredible views to be enjoyed. When you come here, you will feel as you have stepped into another world – one of startling beauty and pure tranquility.
Glacier National Park is the perfect place for those who love spending time outdoors but is also ideal for those who simply love to take in magical surroundings. From forests to mountains, lush greenery and sparkling waters, you will find it all when you visit this park.
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This highly rated attraction provides a magical experience for adults and children alike, with both a zoo and aquarium to explore. Henry Doorly Zoo spans 7-acres, so you can be sure that there will be plenty to see and do during your time here.
In addition to some fabulous exhibitions and plenty of animals, you can also explore the aquarium and learn more about the world beneath the ocean. The IMAX Theater adds to your experience, as you can enjoy immersing yourself in fascinating documentaries.
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A trip to the state of Nevada is incomplete without paying a visit to Las Vegas Boulevard, also known as the 'Las Vegas Strip'. Whether or not you are into gambling, it is worth visiting simply for the hotels and their ambiance. The strip is over 4-miles containing large hotels and casino resorts that are unique in every way.
You can explore destinations from around the world simply by going into different hotels such as the Venetian, New York-New York, Caesar’s Palace, and Paris, amongst others. The strip is lit up in neon at night, and there is entertainment everywhere you look. Don’t miss the incredible Bellagio fountains or the volcano outside the Mirage.
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This fairytale-style estate in New Hampshire is a charming place to visit and is one of the most popular attractions in the state. You can delight at the beautiful and quaint architecture of the mountain top property, which dates back to 1914. You can also take trolley rides along the pathways and take in the romantic ambiance of the area. Make sure you also visit the art gallery, as there are some stunning works of art to admire there.
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This is an attraction that the whole family will love as it offers you a day full of entertainment, thrills, excitement, and adventure. You will find rides to suit all ages and preferences at this theme park, from white knuckle rides for the more daring riders to fun rides for the little ones. You can meet the Looney Tunes characters around the park or head to the Safari Discoveries, which take place every half an hour and allows you to get up close and personal with a variety of different animals.
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Intriguing, exciting, and thrilling are just some of the words that can be used to describe Carlsbad Caverns National Park. There are well over one hundred caves to be explored here, making it the perfect place for those who love exploration and relishing the outdoors. You can enjoy discovering the various caves and take a guided tour to make the most of your time here.
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This iconic monument is the very epitome of New York for many people, so it really is something you have to go and see when visiting this state. You can head to Liberty Island by boat, where you will be able to take in the breathtaking sight of the statue up close and personal.
You can even head up and make the ascent to the crown of the statue, where you will be able to take in some incredible views.
You’ve seen it on TV and in the movies – now is the time to see it in person and enjoy visiting an attraction that is historic, meaningful and inspirational.
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A trip to this museum will enable you to enjoy an interactive experience that will fascinate the kids as well as adults. There are many exhibits and displays designed to teach visitors about the planet as well as space.
Spanning over eighty acres, this is a fun place with plenty for everyone to look forward to. This includes the wonderful butterfly house, the variety of fascinating animals, and the interactive displays that get you involved.
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Named after the former president, who loved the outdoors and nature, this is a wonderful place to explore. There are several different areas in the park where you can take in fascinating wildlife, with a diverse array of species such as elk, deer and Prairie dogs, amongst others. You can also enjoy taking in the beautiful and natural surroundings as you explore the park.
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If you love music, this is an attraction not to be missed while in Ohio. Located in Cleveland, the museum pays homage to some of the most legendary stars in music history, including The Beatles, Bruce Springsteen, the talented late David Bowie, and the King himself, Elvis Presley. There are some fabulous exhibits to explore here and they are designed to enthrall and educate visitors.
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A huge hit amongst lovers of fine art, this museum is a wonderful attraction for those looking for some cultural entertainment. You will find a huge array of American art preserved here, so you can explore both the arts and history as you browse the exhibits. There are fascinating tours of the museum available to help you make the most of your time here with sculptures, paintings, and drawings by hugely talented artists.
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Situated in Newport, this fabulous aquarium provides visitors with 23 acres of incredible exhibits. A wonderful place for children and parents, this is known as one of the best aquariums in North America and offers a host of attractions.
In addition to the exciting exhibits, you can also enjoy tours of the facility to make the most of your visit. You will find all sorts of marine life here, including seals and sea lions – and of course, everyone will be excited about seeing the sharks.
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Spread over 55 acres, this excellent attraction is a must for anyone that wants to delve into the history of America’s independence. You will find some incredible sights, monuments, and artifacts here and you can even visit the museum dedicated to Benjamin Franklin.
You can look forward to fascinating tours of Independence Hall, Congress Hall and Franklin’s Court, as well as watching the Liberty Bell, which is a poignant symbol of America’s rich history in terms of its independence.
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You can combine your love for history with your love of natural beauty when you visit this attraction. Described as a wonderful example of the ‘Country Place’ era, you can explore the many rooms in the mansion, filled with beautiful heirlooms and artifacts, as well as the stunning gardens, which are truly spectacular and amongst the best in the state. You can look forward to learning more about the Van Winkle family, which owned this incredible estate.
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A wonderful combination of natural beauty coupled with rich history, Middleton Place is an attraction that is definitely worth visiting when you come to South Carolina.
You will find the oldest landscaped gardens in America at this historic landmark, and you will be amazed by just how stunning they are as you stroll through them.
The estate spans more than 65 acres in total and is also home to the House Museum. Here, you can take in historical artifacts, stunning works of art, antiques, and much more.
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You’ve probably seen this fabulous memorial many times on the small and big screen, but there is nothing quite like seeing it up close and personal.
It is an awe-inspiring sight to view the sculptured heads of Presidents Washington, Lincoln, Roosevelt and Jefferson carved into Mount Rushmore – it comes as no surprise that this attraction has millions of visitors from around the globe every year.
You can even head to the visitor center and learn about the creation of the monument as well as exploring the history and heritage of the country.
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Many people who travel to Tennessee come with one purpose in mind – to head to Memphis and visit the residence of the King of Rock N Roll, Elvis Presley.
If you are a fan of music and Elvis, this is an experience you will never forget, but even those who are not fans will find a visit to Graceland fascinating.
You can look forward to a guided tour of the residence, take in items on exhibits such as costumes and photos, visit the Elvis: Live from Las Vegas gallery, and explore the Elvis Presley Car Museum.
This attraction is a must-do on any USA bucket list that you will remember for years to come.
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Texas is a state known for many things, and its involvement in space missions is one of them. This is why you should make sure that a visit to the Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston is firmly on your USA bucket list.
You can learn about America’s space program during your visit, take in the fascinating exhibits such as spacecraft and equipment, enjoy educations and incredible shows relating to space, and explore the International Space Station Gallery amongst many other things.
This is a wonderful and fascinating place for adults and children to visit, and there is a huge amount to do and see here.
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If you or your family has an interest in dinosaurs, you should make sure you pay a visit to the Dinosaur National Monument, which is an area that provides evidence of dinosaur occupation in the area.
You can also visit Carnegie Quarry having close to 1500 dinosaur fossils to explore.
In addition to a fascinating insight into dinosaur history, you can also explore historical culture when you visit this national monument as well as enjoying a range of recreational activities.
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Ben & Jerry’s is a brand that has become synonymous with incredible tasting ice cream in a range of flavors.
If you have a sweet tooth, you love ice cream, or you simply want to treat the kids to a visit to a great attraction, head to the Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream Factory in Waterbury for a tour.
The tour is only half an hour but you will be amazed at how much you learn about the process used to create this fabulous sweet treat, which has become a hit the world over.
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Step back in time and enjoy exploring the wonderful Colonial Williamsburg, a wonderful and fascinating living history museum with many attractions for visitors to enjoy.
There are historic hotels that you can stay at here and many places to visit, including a variety of fabulous art museums. You will find events going on here all the time and you can also enjoy tours of the Revolutionary City.
With dining facilities, entertainment, and even golf and spa facilities, you can look forward to a combination of history and modern life when you head over to this area.
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This stunning and natural attraction is visited by huge numbers of people each year, with visitors from around the globe heading over to enjoy the incredible scenery.
The two-acre park is perfect for families or couples that want to enjoy a picnic in peaceful surroundings, while the view of the wonderful waterfall and the beautiful surroundings make for the perfect photo opportunity. The waterfall is a majestic 270 feet, and in the evening, it looks even more magical as it is lit up.
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Although this prison is no longer in operation, it offers guided tours that are well worth going on. Its history as a prison spanned well over one hundred years, so there is plenty to explore here.
You can learn about the history of the prison and take in the Gothic architecture of the building. In addition to all of this, there are often special events held here to provide visitors with a truly spooky experience, so keep your eyes on what’s on when you visit.
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One of the best-loved attractions in the state, the Milwaukee Art Museum provides you with both a historical and a cultural experience.
Art lovers will be delighted with the sheer variety of artwork that can be found here, with more than 30,000 pieces to enjoy.
History lovers will also be able to delve into the past, as the museum is now almost 130 years old, having opened in 1888. You will find some fascinating displays and exhibits of both American and European artwork here and over 40 galleries to explore.
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The history of the American West is something that many people find fascinating.
If you head to Wyoming, then it is well worth taking a trip to Cody, where you can explore the fabulous Buffalo Bill Center of the West, which is a complex of museums providing information on the rich and exciting history of this era.
The museum was established in 1917, making it the oldest of its kind. There are five museums to explore in total and there are exhibits and displays that will thrill adults and children with interest in the American West.
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