Giant Travels


Looking to do a little traveling this holiday season. How about an extra large road trip?

If you’re looking for some out of the ordinary sights MSN has put together a road trip with some must see pit stops. And you don’t have to worry about finding them because the list consists of the country’s largest items that range from a frying pan to a killer bee. And these oversized exhibits draw in much needed revenue to towns that might not get a second look.

For example, along route 24 in Flanders, New York sits a giant duck. The 20 foot tall duck was built in 1931 by a Long Island duck farmer and was used as a shop to sell eggs. Now it’s a tourist information center and is listed on the national register of historic places. And if you’re in the area you should swing by Flanders next week. The annual holiday lighting of the big duck is held on the first Wednesday after Thanksgiving. To see what other giant sights are waiting for you along our nation’s roads keep reading. One town’s treasure could be your next Christmas card.

Largest Killer Bee: Hidalgo, Texas
After traveling north from South America, a swarm of dreaded “killer bees” made its first U.S. stop in the border town of Hidalgo. That was back in 1990, and instead of shying away from what might have become negative tourism buzz, “The town ordered a giant fiberglass bee,” says Amy C. Elliott co-producer with Elizabeth Donius of “World’s Largest,” a documentary about big things. “The bee is actually pretty big and scary, but people come from all over to get their picture taken with it. I love it!”

Largest Bottle of Ketchup
This 70-foot tall, bottle-shaped water tower sits on 100-foot-tall steel legs and was built in 1949 to advertise the local bottling plant making Brooks Catsup. In the early 1990s, long after the community’s ketchup-making was capped, a local preservation group saved the bottle from demolition and now holds a World’s Largest Catsup Bottle Festival each July." The world’s largest catsup bottle is next to Route 159, just south of downtown Collinsville.

World's Largest Frying Pan
Rose Hill, N.C., boasts a giant pan 15 feet in diameter, but this 10-by-20-foot cast-iron beauty in Long Beach, Wash., is older and bigger. Forged in the early 1940s, the pan was first used to fry the world’s largest clam fritter. To help out, local girls greased the pan by skating around inside it on large slabs of butter. The world’s largest frying pan is displayed alongside a giant razor clam on State Route 103 in downtown Long Beach.

World's Largest Penny
In 1953, the citizens of Woodruff and perfect strangers from around the country gave their two cents, and more, when Dr. Kate Newcomb asked for help getting a hospital built in this northern Wisconsin town. In response, local schoolchildren began a campaign to collect 1 million pennies. Their success (1.7 million pennies raised) and Newcomb’s dedication (she was known for making house calls on snowshoes if needed) are commemorated with a 17,000-pound concrete 1953 penny 10 feet in diameter and 18 inches thick.

Giant Duck
Built in 1931 by one of the many duck farmers who used to operate on Long Island, this 20-foot-tall, 30-foot-long duck was for many years a shop that sold, you guessed it, eggs and Long Island duck. Most duck farms are gone, but the big plucky duck is still here and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Big Duck, on Route 24 in Flanders, now serves as a tourist information center. A good time to visit the duck is during the annual Holiday Lighting of the Big Duck, which is held on the first Wednesday after Thanksgiving.

World's Largest Spinach Can
Your kids may not care for it, but Alma loves spinach. The self-proclaimed “Spinach Capital of the World” has a spinach canning plant, a bronze statue of Popeye, an annual Spinach Festival and, overlooking the town, a giant water tower painted to look like a can of Popeye brand spinach. Look for the world’s largest spinach can as you approach Alma on Interstate 40 or Interstate 540. In town, visit the statue of Popeye on Fayetteville Avenue in Popeye Park.

Souvenir Plate
Created by Erika Nelson, an artist who travels the country displaying her tiny versions of some of the world’s largest things, this souvenir travel plate is 14 feet in diameter and made from two decommissioned fiberglass satellite dishes, nestled one inside the other. “One of the local scenes depicted is the burning of the fields that takes place each fall,” Nelson says. “It’s very dramatic and scary for a first-time viewer.” The world’s largest souvenir travel plate is on the edge of Lucas, Kan., on Kansas Highway 18, across from the K-18 Diner.

World's Largest Egg
Mentone, now home to two of Indiana’s egg-producing companies, has been known as the “Egg Basket of the Midwest” since the turn of the 19th century, when trains would stop in town to pick up eggs bound for Chicago and East Coast markets. To honor its egg-citing history, it built the world’s largest egg – 10 feet tall and 3,000 pounds of concrete and steel – to display in the center of town. The world’s largest egg stands on end in front of the Lake City Bank at 202 W. Main St. in downtown Mentone. A good time to visit the egg is during the Egg Festival held each June.

Largest Eight Ball
For years Tipton, Mo., was headquarters for a home-grown company that became one of the country’s largest manufacturers of pool tables. The billiards business left town in the 1980s, but this water tower decorated as the world’s largest eight ball remains. The world’s largest eight ball rises above Highway 50 near Tipton, between Jefferson City and Sedalia.

World's Largest Holstein Cow
Salem Sue, the world’s largest Holstein cow statue, was built to honor the area’s dairymen and celebrate the history of this dairy-dependent community. Sue stands 38 feet tall and 50 feet long, and even though it’s hollow and made of fiberglass, it weighs in at 12,000 pounds. Salem Sue is on School Hill, just outside New Salem, and is visible from five miles away. Look for it on Interstate 94, by Exit 127.

World’s Largest Loon
Looking for loons? Minnesota’s state bird is the loon, and at least two towns claim to be the home of the state’s largest loons. The town of Virginia has a 20-foot fiberglass floating loon decoy. Vergas, the self-proclaimed “Home of the Loon” has had a 20 foot-tall sculpture of a loon since the 1960s. The world’s largest loon sculpture is by Long Lake, in the center of City Park in Vergas. The world’s largest floating loon decoy floats on a lake in the town of Virginia, which holds a Land of the Loon Festival each June.

Albert the Bull
Albert the Bull holds the title as the world’s largest bull statue and is Audubon, Iowa's, tribute to its cattle-industry heritage. The 30-foot-tall, 45-ton concrete statue of a Hereford has a horn span of 15 feet and is lighted at night, welcoming travelers passing by. “There’s even a recording out there that will tell you the whole story of how Albert got made,” says a caretaker at the nearby Albert the Bull Campground. Albert the Bull can be found on the south edge of Audubon and is visible from Highway 71.

Lucy the Elephant
This six-story, 90-ton elephant named Lucy was built in 1881 as an attraction to lure potential real-estate investors to a patch of undeveloped property on the southern New Jersey seashore. Since then, Lucy has served as everything from a summer home to a tavern. The wooden elephant with metal skin survived hurricanes, a fire and years of abandonment before being rescued and relocated in 1970. It was eventually refurbished and reopened as a tourist attraction. Lucy the Elephant is now a National Historic Landmark and can be found at 9200 Atlantic Ave. in Margate City.

Big Brutus
The world’s largest electric coal shovel stands 16 stories high (160 feet) and weighs 11 million pounds. From 1963 until 1974, this one-of-a kind, black and orange behemoth worked seven days a week, 24 hours a day moving dirt and rocks aside so coal could be mined. When it came time to retire Big Brutus, operators backed it out of the coal pits, parked it and removed its engines. Today, the giant shovel is the centerpiece of a museum dedicated to miners and mining history. Big Brutus is in southeastern Kansas, near the town of West Mineral.

The Big Lemon
In the early 1900s, Lemon Grove, Calif., was known for its lemon and orange groves, but today the town is a suburb of San Diego with barely an orchard left. “Still,” says “World’s Largest” co-producer Amy C. Elliot, “this big lemon statue is still there. It’s been repainted over the years and still remains a symbol of the town, even though that’s not what they’re about anymore.” You’ll find the giant lemon on Main Street in downtown Lemon Grove.