The 50 states are some of the most unique and original places to visit. While many people are eager to travel beyond the shores and visit other lands or other countries, there are numerous travel books and websites that would argue that there's plenty to see right here in the U.S. With a never-ending number of intersecting highways and interstates, the country is becoming easier and easier to navigate (with the exception of the ongoing road construction, that is). With such odd attractions, such as the world's largest ball of paint or a house made of newspaper, people never seem to be out of ideas to keep life all the more interesting. On the east coast, one can visit such great monuments as The Statue of Liberty or Plymouth Rock. To the west, there are such tourist draws as the world's largest ball of stamps, the Seattle Space Needle, or the ever-famous Hollywood sign. The world is a rich tapestry, as they say. But it was also Dorothy Gale who taught us that sometimes adventure can be as close as your own backyard. And that's pretty much where this quiz takes its readers. It goes across the U.S. and back, showcasing some of the oddest exhibitions to some of the most patriotic. So, take some time and check 'em out. Maybe some are worth a quick photo op, maybe not. Either way, we hope the quiz is as much fun to take as it was to create.
World's Largest Frying Pan: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Brandon, Iowa - The world's largest frying pan was built in 2004 by local men to promote the city's Semi-Annual Cowboy Breakfast. The project took nearly 41 hours of volunteer labour to construct and was modelled after a 10 inch cast iron frying pan. It has an 8-foot base and is 9 ft. 3 inches at the rim. The pan has a five-foot handle for a total length of 14 foot 3 inches and weighs just over 1,020 pounds.
World's Largest Burger: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Clearfield, Pennsylvania - On October 13, they say someone finally ate an entire 15-lb hamburger at Denny's Beer Barrel Pub. The feat was accomplished in 4 hours, and 39 minutes by Brad Sciullo, a chef from Uniontown, PA. The 15-pounder is not the biggest burger offered at Denny's; there's also a 123 lb. monster burger made for charity events as well.
World's Largest Ball of Twine: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Cawker City, Kansas - The Twine Ball story began in 1953, when a farmer named Frank Stoeber, found it more tidy and efficient to roll spare bits of twine into a small ball in his barn. But over the years, instead of re-using or disposing of the twine like everyone else, Frank just kept rolling it up. By 1961, when he turned it over to the town, Stoeber had just over 1,600,000 feet of twine rolled into a sphere more than 11 feet in diameter.
Hollywood Sign: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Hollywood, California - The sign was originally built in 1923 as "Hollywoodland," an advertisement for a housing subdivision. Now just "Hollywood," it serves as a symbol of the movie industry. Residents of the former Hollywoodland discourage tourists, so sign close-ups are a rarity. One good place to view the sign is at the Lake Hollywood Dog Park. There's also a hiking trail you can follow and a nearby road that you can drive up, to get closer.
St. Louis Arch: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
St. Louis, Missouri - The Gateway Arch is a 630-foot monument. Clad in stainless steel, it is the world's tallest arch, the tallest man-made monument in the Western Hemisphere, AND Missouri's tallest accessible building. It was built as a monument to the westward expansion of the U.S. Over the years, it has become an internationally recognized symbol of St. Louis, as well as a popular tourist destination.
Space Needle: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Seattle, Washington - The Space Needle was first built for the 1962 Seattle World's Fair. It's known as the U.S. version of the Eiffel Tower and is the first international icon with a revolving restaurant on top. The structure is over 600 feet tall. Its original name was The Space Cage and there are 848 steps to the top (but everyone takes the elevator). The Statue of Liberty has only 354.
Hole in the Rock: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Moab, Utah - Albert Christensen's home is pretty much a neighborhood of its own. Not content to be just another guy with a drill and a dream, he hand-carved his luxurious suite of rooms out of a natural cliff face in the 1940s, and called it Hole N" The Rock. It lies on US Highway 191, just south of the town of Moab.
Grand Canyon: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Arizona - The Grand Canyon; considered to be one of the greatest natural wonders of the U.S. It was carved out by the Colorado River over the course of 6 million years! There's also the Grand Canyon Railroad, but there are also those who prefer to hike their way to the bottom.
Black Mailbox: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Alamo, Nevada - Yes, it's a mailbox for space aliens. Located on the Extraterrestrial Highway, between the Little A'Le'Inn and the Alien Research Center, there is a turnout with what looks like a small campsite. However, a closer look reveals a black(?) mailbox stuffed with letters from people and tourists alike ... addressed to aliens. There are letters in multiple languages, and they range greatly in tone and topic. Some people even choose to leave photos.
World's Largest Boot: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Red Wing, Minnesota - The world's largest boot is size 638 1/2 D. It's located downtown, at the Red Wing store and museum. Some say it's similar to the Grand Canyon in that photos and words alone fail to capture the majesty of this leather giant. The boot is made exactly like the shoes, so you can smell the leather used in the construction, experience the heft of the massive laces and feel the cool touch of the metal eyelets.
South of the Border: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Dillon, South Carolina - South of the Border is a unique mix of Carolina Dixie and Old Mexico. At first, you wonder what all this Mexican stuff is doing in South Carolina, thousands of miles from its natural habitat. But in a remarkably short time, you accept South of the Border as a neon yellow and pink Tijuana, with the added benefit that its staff and attendants speak English and the water there is safe to drink.
Kennedy Space Center: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Titusville, Florida - Rocketships, astronauts, and outer space, oh my! It's easy to understand why nearly 1.5 million people visit the Kennedy Space Center each year. And it may seem like all of those people are here on the same day that you are, which can make for a long, long walk from your parking space to the ticket booths, but with all the gift shops, photo spots, and attractions, it's worth the stop.
World's Most Scenic Bathrom: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Kealakekua, Big Island, Hawaii - About 20 minutes southeast of Kona, on the big island, is the small town of Kealakekua on the Mamalahoa Highway. There's a smattering of artists studios, little mom and pop stores, and a few Bed & Breakfasts as well. On this highway is an interesting, little, pink hotel. As you enter the building, on the right is a history of this quaint, little restroom.
World's Largest Catsup Bottle: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Collinsville, Illinois - Built in 1949, the World's Largest Catsup Bottle celebrated its 65th anniversary in 2014. It's actually the water tower at the old Brooks Catsup Plant. Unforutnately, in the late 1970s, Brooks Foods slipped out of town and moved to Mount Summit, Indiana--but their condiment monument remained! Nearly 70 feet tall, atop a 100-foot-tall steel tower, it could hold up to 640,000 bottles of regular catsup (or 100,000 gallons of water).
World's Largest Corn Building: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Mitchell, South Dakota - The Palace, with its weird mix of onion domes and minarets, looks like it was air-lifted right out of Russia. It was originally built in 1892 to show off the fertility of South Dakota soil and bring in more settlers. Mitchell's Corn Palace is actually built out of reinforced concrete, not corn. But, every spring, its exterior is completely covered with thousands of bushels of native South Dakota corn, grain, and grasses that are arranged into large murals.
Lenny, the Chocolate Moose: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Scarborough, Maine - Lenny's sculptor, reportedly travelled to Freeport to get a good look at the stuffed moose on display in the lobby of L. L. Bean. He then spent a month slathering, slapping, and dripping 1,700 pounds of milk chocolate over a wire lathe to create Lenny-- eight feet tall and over nine feet from nose to tail. Lenny stands in the Len Libby ice cream parlor, behind a wooden fence to prevent others from "sampling" him. His feet disappear in a pond of white chocolate, dyed blue.
The Paper House: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Rockport, Massachusettes - Elis F. Stenman, with the assistance of his family (of course), began the construction of the Paper House in 1922. For the next twenty years, they layered and pasted and rolled approximately 100,000 newspapers to use in their creation of a two-room dream home. What started out as a simple experiment in novel construction materials yielded paper tables, chairs, lamps, and bookshelves. The walls are made of 215 layers of newspaper.
World's Largest Ball of Stamps: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Boys Town, Nebraska - The ball is a relic from a time when people had more hobbies, less entertainment, and actually mailed things to each other with postal stamps. The sphere is 32 inches in diameter, weighs 600 pounds, and contains a reported 4,655,000 canceled stamps. It was stuck together, layer upon layer, by the Boys Town Stamp Collecting Club starting back in 1953.
World's Largest Pistachio: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Alamogordo, New Mexico - The 30-foot-tall pistachio is actually made of cement, and stands end-up on a metal pole that is anchored with nine feet of concrete. It's also a memorial to Tom McGinn, who had passed the previous year, and who had founded McGinn's Pistachio Tree Ranch, where the big nut stands. The idea for it came from Tim McGinn, Tom's son.
Jell-O Museum: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Le Roy, New York - A quaint, kitschy museum where you can learn everything you ever wanted to know about the jiggly dessert. The history includes stories about how Jell-O was the first ever product that was marketed door-to-door, had the longest running spokesman, and other interesting facts as well! Tourists say it's a worthy stop on the way to Niagara Falls.
World's Largest Chest of Drawers: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
High Point, North Carolina - The original chest of drawers was built way back in 1926, by the High Point Chamber of Commerce. The 20-foot-tall building served as the local "bureau of information." It was rebuilt in 1950, then again in 1996, when the building was completely renovated. A real chest was actually used as a prototype and it can be viewed in the lobby of the local visitor information center.
Cadillac Ranch: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Amarillo, Texas - Standing along Route 66--just west of Amarillo, the Cadillac Ranch was invented and also built by a group of art-loving hippies from San Francisco. They called themselves "The Ant Farm." They had a silent partner, who was an Amarillo billionaire--named, Stanley Marsh III. He wanted to create a piece of public art that would baffle the locals, and the hippies came up with a tribute to the evolution of the Cadillac tail fin.
Foamhenge: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Centreville, Virginia - Foamhenge was created in 2004 by Mark Cline of Enchanted Castle Studios as an April Fool's stunt to generate tourism. It's designed to match Stonehenge, with similarly sized pieces oriented in astronomically equivalent coordinates. The 'stones' are composed completely of styrofoam and painted gray, weighing approximately 420 lbs. apiece.
United State' Smallest Town: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Buford, Wyoming - Boasting on the town limits sign its population of 2, Buford is really just a single house, a single gas station, and a single post office. It's also the highest spot for a town along the entire span of I-80. Jason Hirsch runs the town, but it's owned by an anonymous patron in Vietnam.
World's Biggest Ball of Paint: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Alexandria, Indiana - "It began," says Mike Carmichael, "on January 1, 1977." That day he encouraged his young son to cover a baseball with a coat of pastel blue house paint; a photograph in the Ball House preserves the famous moment. That baseball is still at the heart of the project, that is now over 14 feet in circumference and weighs a total of 2.5 tons!
Statue of Liberty: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
New York City, New York - The Statue of Liberty is a colossal and historic sculpture, located on Liberty Island in New York Harbor. The copper statue was a gift from the people of France to the people of the United States. The statue was dedicated on October 28, 1886.
Randy's Donuts: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Inglewood, California - The big doughnut at Randy's Donuts is a few miles north of the LAX Airport. Trees and brush obscure the freeway view a bit more than they did back in 1953 when the Big Donut Drive-In chain opened. Once you're up to the exit ramp and on the cross-street, you can see the 22-foot diameter breakfast food that appears to be poised to roll off an otherwise ordinary, drive-thru donut shop.
Geographical Center of the United States: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Lebanon, Kansas - The Geographic Center of the U.S. (contiguous 48) is located roughly two miles northwest of Lebanon, Kansas. There really isn't much to see or do there, but, if you are passing through the area on US Highways 36 or 281, it's worth driving the short distance from Lebanon. Sign the guest register and read some of the notes from previous visitors.
Pike Place Market: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Seattle, Washington - Pike Place Market is the oldest continuously operating farmers market in the country. The market lures visitors and locals alike (we’re talking 10 million people per year) with its farm-fresh produce, butcher-paper clad bouquets, and an abundance of shops, restaurants, and bars. From wader-clad fishmongers slinging salmon to street musicians playing for passersby, there’s always something going on here.
Garden of 1,000 Buddhas: PHOTO OP or MAYBE, NEXT TIME
Arlee, Montana - The Buddhas fill a large, garden out in rural Montana. There isn't much to see there for the little ones, but most adults find it to be quite peaceful and tranquil. Besides the thousand or so concrete-cast Buddhas, there are also a variety of other Buddha images and statues. Most say the best time to visit is in the summer months when the grounds are well-manicured.