05/24/2013 12:48 pm ET Updated Jul 24, 2013

Mother Nature's Most Amazing Sights and Sounds

Sometimes nature creates displays so incredible--heavy stones that seem to drag themselves across a dry lakebed, fish that literally rain down from storm clouds and stunning colored lights that dance silently in the crisp night skies of the polar regions--that we can hardly believe our eyes, let alone come up with a plausible explanation for them. Perhaps that's why, for thousands of years, humans have created stories and myths to help explain even the simplest of Earth's natural phenomena: Ancient Greeks had Zeus in charge of lightning; the Egyptians attributed the sun's transit across the sky to the efforts of their god Ra.

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Over time, science has helped explain most these natural occurrences, from volcanic eruptions to shooting stars, but that doesn't make it any less awe-inspiring--or, at the very least, surprising--when you're suddenly confronted by, say, a herd of goats that's somehow managed to climb a tree (yes, it happens). What's more, some of these incredible events--such as ball lighting--still puzzle scientists today. Not even Google has all the answers.

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And that's the beauty of it. Explained or not, the mystery and majesty of these rare sights remind us of how big the Earth is. You haven't seen it all until, well, you've seen it all. This list serves as a humble beginning, a short bucket list of Mother Nature's spectacles that may just help you choose your next big travel adventure.

While creating our list, we made sure each event occurs at regular intervals at a given destination. With a little inspiration and a good deal of advance planning, you'll have a shot at experiencing 15 of the most interesting and unbelievable sights, sounds and events nature has to offer.

-Megan Taylor Morrison, The Active Times

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Most Amazing Sights and Sounds