Wild Road Trip!By Gerry Bishop
It’s a wild and wacky world out there! Want to see for yourself? Meet some of the giant creatures lurking by roadsides and in public spaces across America!
You can spot this awesome sight from blocks away! It’s a Tyrannosaurus rex perched on top of the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Hollywood Odditorium. If you wander inside the building, you’ll find all sorts of other “odd” things. But first, what’s with the clock inside T. rex’s mouth? Maybe it’s time for a snack!
MYRTLE BEACH, SOUTH CAROLINA
Some restaurants will do anything to get you to come inside—even hang a 9,000-pound crab above the entrance. This giant crustacean is named Tommy, after the seafood restaurant’s owner. Let’s hope the real Tommy isn’t too “crabby” to his customers!
In the mid-1970s, the townspeople of Rothsay erected this 13-foot-tall prairie chicken and declared their town the “Prairie Chicken Capital of the World.” But since then, a lot of the birds’ local habitat has been turned into cropland. So the prairie chicken population has gone way down. Maybe the giant statue will remind people to help these threatened birds survive
In 1990, this small town was the first in the United States to be invaded by “killer bees.” These honey bees were different from other honey bees. They were so fierce that they weren’t welcome anywhere. But the mayor of Hidalgo saw a chance to get his little town some big attention. He had a 2,000-pound killer bee statue built, which created quite a buzz!
This 1,200-pound Carolina wren first sat atop a radio station, where it advertised a brand of flour called Jenny Wren. Later, the big bird was moved to Topeka. It’s now perched in a small park there—a real “tweet” for all to enjoy.
Many people have slept with a dog at the foot of their beds. But to sleep inside a dog, you’ll have to go to the Dog Bark Park Inn. This motel was built in the shape of a 30-foot-tall beagle. It has a bedroom and bathroom in its belly—and another bedroom in its nose! In front of the inn is a smaller beagle. There’s even a 12-foot-tall fire hydrant nearby!
What could be better for drawing a crowd to the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame than a giant fiberglass fish? This life-like model of a muskellunge (“muskie,” for short) is as long as a Boeing 757 jetliner and as tall as a four-story building. Its open mouth is an observation deck, from which visitors can view six acres of other oversized fish statues.
FERGUS FALLS, MINNESOTA
To celebrate the 100th birthday of Fergus Falls, local high school students used metal and concrete to build a 40-foot-long river otter named “Otto.” (They had help from a local sculptor.) Why an otter? Because the town is in a county named Otter Tail.
ELLICOTT CITY, MARYLAND
Once upon a time in Ellicott City, there was a park filled with giant storybook wonders. After many years, the park closed. But then a local woman moved some of the enchanted wonders to her farm. Now, at Clark’s Elioak Farm, you can see a giant Old Woman’s shoe, Cinderella’s pumpkin, and more. You can even slide down this 10-foot-tall Mother Goose.
MARGATE, NEW JERSEY
A park in Margate is the home of “Lucy,” one of the most famous elephants in the world. Lucy is made of wood and tin and is as tall as a six-story building. She’s an awesome sight from the ground. But you can also climb a staircase inside her and, from the “howdah” (saddle) on her back, see the sights in every direction.
PALM BEACH GARDENS, FLORIDA
Students at Nova Southeastern University in Palm Beach Gardens love sharks. The school’s teams are called the Sharks, and its mascot is a mighty mako shark named Razor. Outside one of the school buildings is a sculpture of a giant mako riding a wave. There’s another monster mako on campus, too—this one is rising right up out of a sidewalk. Folks walking by this shark are free to give it a pat or a hug—if they dare!