If there’s one thing Clark Griswold would enjoy most about Minnesota, it’s the various quirky roadside attractions we have lining our highways. When you go, don’t forget your camera. Over-sized birds, giants and a large ball of twine make up this list of eccentric photo-ops.
Jolly Green Giant
1126 Green Giant Lane
Blue Earth, MN 56013
Giant Food’s Jolly Green Giant mascot has been entering customers’ homes since the 1920s but if you head to Blue Earth, Minnesota you will find a 55-foot version of the giant posing with weary road trippers. With hands on his hips, the Jolly Green Giant has been overlooking the point where I-90 east and west road crews met at the completion of the highway in 1978.
World’s Largest Ball of Twine
1st Street/CR 14
The “World’s Largest Ball of Twine” really exists, in fact, there are several throughout the world – it’s how they were created that sets them apart. In Darwin, Minnesota we have the World’s Largest Twine Ball Rolled by One Man. Francis A. Johnson began his endeavor in 1950 and is said to have worked on the ball several hours a day for 29 years. Today, the impressive twine mass sits on display 24 hours a day in a plexiglass enclosed gazebo. If you’re lucky, an employee will open the door and let you take an up-close photo and touch the twine ball.
1101 N Main St.
Austin, MN 55912
The 16,500 square-foot SPAM Museum in Austin, MN sure sounds quirky but it’s actually a wonderful look at the history of this famous canned food. Highlights include WWII history, vintage advertising, radio jingles and even a pretend “can your own SPAM” section, which is a hit with the kids. And, yes, there is a good chance you will be offered SPAM samples during your visit.
The World’s Largest Pelican
Pelican Rapids, MN
The World’s Largest Pelican is appropriately located in Pelican Rapids and scenically stands at the base of Pelican River’s Mill Pond dam. Standing at 15.5 feet tall the bird was built in 1957, but not much else is known about how or why this pelican landed here.
World’s Largest “Booming” Prairie Chicken
Rothsay, MN 56579
Prairie Chickens have one of the most memorable mating “dances” in the animal kingdom. The male stomps his feet while releasing a “booming” sound which is triggered from his puffy orange sacs. In honor of this interesting chicken a 13-foot tall statue was erected in Rothsay, the self-proclaimed Prairie Chicken Capital of Minnesota for America’s 1976 Bicentennial.
World’s Largest Turkey
It’s no secret Minnesota has a thriving turkey industry and it’s even more apparent in the town of Frazee where you will find the World’s Largest Turkey. The original “Big Tom” accidentally caught fire during routine maintenance before the annual Turkey Days Festival, naturally triggering a number of roasted turkey jokes. After the fire, the former was replaced with a larger and fresher looking version. The new turkey is 20-feet tall, 17-feet wide and weighs over 5,000 pounds.
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
300 Bemidji Avenue
There are a number of Paul Bunyan and Ox statues overlooking the US, but the pair on the shore of Lake Bemidji, created in 1937, is certainly one of the oldest and about as old-school postcard as you can get. This Paul Bunyan stands 18-feet tall and is made of wood, cement and steel.
-- Beth Blair has turned a decade of travel industry experience into an action-packed travel writing career. She writes for various print and online publications and is co-founder of TheVacationGals.com and TheSpaGals.com. Learn more about her at BethBlair.com and find her on Twitter: @BethBlair.