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9 Giant Man-Made Animals Just Beyond Your Doorstep

A Hallmark of the Great American Road Trip has always been a visit to a Giant Man-Made Replica of an Animal. Did you know that many of these are within a Day Trip of Major Cities? And with the new Sports Utility Hybrid's great gas mileage, it's never been easier on your wallet.

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1. Lucy the Elephant - Margate, NJ

This classy lady is 65-feet high and weighs in at a slim 90 tons. She was originally designed as a hotel for the Boardwalk Empire crowd back in 1881, but is now open to the public as a tourist attraction. Just a few miles outside of Atlantic City and a stone's throw away from Philadelphia, Lucy is an American Icon just waiting for you to visit her scenic seaside home.

2. Kaskaskia Dragon - Vandalia, IL

Just northwest of St. Louis, you can encounter this mystical creature, built in 1995 by a local hardware store as a parade float. 35-feet long and open to the public since 2008, visitors can insert a token into the Dragon's base and watch in amazement as it spews fire from its friendly-looking snout while its eyes glow bright red. Best when seen after dark.

3. Claude Bell's Dinosaurs - Cabazon, CA

Best known for their memorable cameos in Pee-Wee's Big Adventure and Paris, Texas these giant thunder lizards were erected by Knott's Berry Farm artist Claude K. Bell between 1964 and 1986. Nestled among picturesque palm trees under sunny skies between Phoenix, Los Angeles and San Diego, these dinosaurs are over 40-feet tall and open to the public year-round. They have been joined in recent years by an open-air museum featuring robotic dinosaurs and interactive exhibits.

4. The Big Duck - Flanders, NY

This friendly fellow has been a famous resident of various locales in Long Island's famous Hamptons Region since 1931, but most recently found a new home near Riverhead in 2007. Originally designed as an advertisement for Martin Mauer's Duck Farm, its eyes are made of the tail lights of Model Ts. Standing 20-feet tall, the Big Duck has been added to the National Register of Historic Places and houses a quaint gift shop full of Long Island-related souvenirs and memorabilia.

5. The Blue Whale - Catoosa, OK

East of Tulsa, lounging in a tranquil pond, lies the great Blue Whale of Catoosa, one of the most iconic attractions along Historic Route 66. It was designed by Hugh Davis as a gift for his wife Zelta, a collector of whale figurines. Today, visitors can swim alongside it, have a family picnic, or simply scale The Whale, which has been featured on An Idiot Abroad and in the Zippy comic strip.

6. Fiberglass Muskie - Hayward, WI

Between Minneapolis and the shores of Lake Superior, situated on the grounds of the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, is this monstrous muskellunge that also happens to be the Largest Fiberglass Structure in the World. Known as the "Shrine to Anglers," the four-and-a-half-story tall fish houses museum exhibits and an observation platform in its jaws that can fit up to 20 visitors at a time.

7. Chatty Belle - Neillsville, WI

Northwest of Madison, tourists can find The World's Largest Talking Cow, Chatty Belle. When you slip a coin into her deposit box, she will inform you that she is 7 times larger than the average Holstein Cow, and if she were flesh and blood, would be capable of producing over 270 pounds of milk per day. She lives alongside the Wisconsin Pavilion from the 1964 World's Fair, where visitors may purchase souvenirs and fine Wisconsin cheeses.

8. Dakota Thunder - Jamestown, ND

Jamestown is a small city in its own right, located directly between Fargo and state capital Bismarck on I-94. Since 1959, it has been home to The World's Largest Buffalo, and was named "Dakota Thunder" as the result of a contest held in 2010. This 60-ton structure is also anatomically correct, and therefore very popular with students from the local high school.

9. Maxie - Sumner, MO

West of St. Louis and East of Kansas City, visitors to the "Show-Me State" can catch a gander of Maxie, the World's Largest Canada Goose. Sculpted during America's Bicentennial in 1976, Maxie is 40-feet tall, with a wingspan of over 60 feet. He was dedicated by the town's Goose Queen during the Annual Goose Festival, and is said to rotate slightly in strong winds. A button on his pedestal allows tourists to hear an audio version of Maxie's story.

Let life take you on your own Wild Goose Chase. The Sports Utility Hybrid offers fuel efficiency and safety with a smaller frame than traditional SUVs, so you can drive and park anywhere with ease.

Leave a comment describing YOUR favorite Giant Animal-Type Structure with "#takemethere" and celebrate this Great American Tradition.

Sometimes, you just have to get out of the Big City and see Man-Made Megafauna. The Sports Utility Hybrid is ready for Life Takes You There.

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