Not only is the new year a time of reflection and goal setting, but it’s also a great opportunity to make plans for adventures in the coming months. Now you can make your 2015 travel plans bigger and better than ever with a bucket list of Iowa’s largest attractions—literally.
These giant, colorful creations and off-beat attractions are perfect road trip stops regardless of the season:
Iowa's Largest Amethyst (West Bend) With an estimated $4.3 million in stones and precious gems, it’s no surprise that there’s a diamond—or rather, amethyst—in the rough in West Bend’s Grotto of the Redemption. Located on the back wall of the Christmas Chapel in Saints Peter & Paul Church directly south of the Grotto, the amethyst geode was previously known as the World’s Largest. However, in 2008, China’s Shandong Tianyu Museum of Natural History began exhibiting an amethyst geode measuring nearly 10 feet long and seven feet high nabbing the title.
Address: 300 N. Broadway in West Bend, Iowa
Read more about the Grotto of the Redemption.
World’s Largest Ball of Popcorn (Sac City) In 2009, the good people of Sac City built the World’s Largest Ball of Popcorn using 900 pounds of popcorn combined with a fairly sickening amount of sugar and dry syrup. After more than 12 hours of work, the finished popcorn ball stands at just over eight feet tall and weighs more than 5,000 pounds.
Address: 13th and Main streets in Sac City, Iowa
Read more about the World’s Largest Ball of Popcorn.
World’s Largest Bull (Audubon) Built in 1964, Albert the Bull weighs in at 45 tons and has a horn-span of 15 feet, towering 30 feet above the western Iowa landscape. He’s an authentic Hereford replica—right down to his toenails—with a hide covered in 65 gallons of paint.
Address: Albert the Bull Park in Audubon, Iowa
Read more about Albert the Bull.
World’s Largest Swedish Coffee Pot & Coffee Cup (Stanton) In 1971, the southwest Iowa town of Stanton transformed its water tower into a Swedish coffee pot to honor Stanton, Iowa native Virginia Christine, famous for her role as Mrs. Olsen in Folgers’ classic commercials. Also a symbol of Swedish hospitality, the World’s Largest Swedish Coffee Pot stands at 125 feet and holds about 50,000 gallons (or 800,000 cups of coffee). Nearby you’ll find the World’s Largest Swedish Coffee Cup, which was erected in 2000.
Address: Corner of Hilltop & Highland Avenues in Stanton, Iowa
Read more about the World’s Largest Swedish Coffee Pot & Coffee Cup.
World’s Largest Wooden Nickel (Iowa City) The 18-foot-diameter, 4,000-pound wooden nickel was erected in 2006 as a protest against Johnson County officials’ decision to raise speed limits in the area. It took Iowa City resident Jim Glasgow more than six months to create.
Address: Dubuque Street NE just after the Iowa River in Iowa City, Iowa
Read more about the World’s Largest Wooden Nickel.
Image credit: Author Photo