Road-tripping through Wisconsin? Exit the highway, and go big before you go home.
Whether you are going for a Sunday drive or on a massive Wisconsin road trip, spice up your itinerary by stopping at some of the state’s best roadside attractions. Maybe you don’t have time to linger, but you certainly have time to stop and take a selfie at these nine roadside attractions across Wisconsin.
World’s Largest Six Pack of Beer
1111 Third St. S., La Crosse
The World’s Largest Six Pack is a mandatory stop on any road trip through LaCrosse. G. Heileman Brewery built six 54-foot-tall storage tanks at its facility in downtown Lacrosse in 1969. They painted the tanks to look like Old Style beer. The plant has changed owners a couple of times over the years, so today’s tanks look a little different. Today’s owners, City Brewing Co., have changed the design, and the World’s Largest Six Pack shows a new brand of beer—La Crosse Lager.
World’s Largest Freshwater Fish
10360 Hall of Fame Drive (Highway 27), Hayward
Hayward is home to the Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame, so it’s no surprise they have the world’s largest freshwater fish, which also happens to be the world’s largest fiberglass sculpture. Even if you do not check out the Hall of Fame as you pass through or visit Hayward, you need to stop and get a picture. The 143-foot-long, 41-foot-tall fiberglass muskie has the names of world-record holders and is far too big for a selfie.
Ben Bikin’ Sculpture
101 E. Wisconsin Street, Sparta
The Ben Bikin’ sculpture stands 32 feet high on top of a Victorian-era Penny-farthing bicycle at the entrance to the city. A local company created the sculpture for the city in 1995. It celebrates Sparta’s proximity to major biking trails, and the Elroy-Sparta trail, the first United States rail-to-trail project. Make sure to check out the base of the sculpture when you stop so you can hear Ben give an oral history of Sparta through the speaker.
World’s Largest Sinclair Dinosaur
1280 Wisconsin Dells Pkwy. S., Lake Delton
Wisconsin Dells is full of attractions—inside, outside, large, and small. But, one of the most famous is the 40-foot, fiberglass, green brontosaurus at the Sinclair station in Lake Delton. Interstate 90/94 goes right through the Dells, so when you’re driving through, the Dino Stop is the perfect place to stop and get gas and snacks. As you walk in the door between dino’s legs, notice how he smiles at you.
Sputnik Crash Site
798 Park St., Manitiwoc
Did you know Wisconsin has its own piece of the space race between the US and the USSR? In 1960, Russia launched the Sputnik IV, a test flight for the first manned program with a pressurized cabin and life support equipment. The spacecraft remained in orbit until September 1962, when it began plunging to earth. On Sept. 5, 1962, a small piece landed in downtown Manitowoc, creating a three-inch hole in the pavement. Today you can visit the crash site and see the fragment at the nearby Rahr-West Art Museum if you have time.
5150N Hwy 51, Mercer
When you are driving way up north, you might find yourself in Mercer, the “Loon Capital of the World.” The town embraced its designation in May 1981, when they erected the World’s Largest Talking Loon, Claire d’Loon. the 2,000-pound Sculpture stands 16 feet tall by the Mercer Chamber of Commerce building. When she doesn’t have vocal cord issues from vandalism, Claire d’Loon also has a fabulous singing voice for visitors to enjoy.
World’s Largest Penny
820 3rd Ave., Woodruff
In 1953, Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb, the “Angel on Snowshoes,” started a fundraising effort to build a hospital. She encouraged local school children to save their pennies, and the fundraiser spread throughout the country. Eventually, local children and children throughout the U.S. sent about 1.7 million pennies to Dr. Kate, providing the money to build a hospital. The 15-foot-high, 12 -inch thick penny was dedicated in 1954 to commemorate the students whose perseverance and commitment to fundraising helped the community.
Pinkie the Pink Elephant
4995 County Rd. V, DeForest
Pinkie has lived at her spot at a gas station right off the County Highway V exit from I 90/94 in DeForest since the late 1960s. The owner of the gas station wanted to draw business, so he built Pinkie, which continues to attract visitors and those driving through the state. The gas station has had a revolving door of owners over the decades, but each owner shows love to Pinky to keep her clean and free of graffiti. The fiberglass pink elephant has stylish black-rimmed glasses from the 60s, that perfectly match today’s hip styles.
Al Johnson’s Goats on the Roof
10698 N. Bay Shore Dr., Sister Bay
Door County’s Al Johnson’s Swedish Restaurant is a favorite family spot for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but the restaurant’s Swedish pancakes are especially popular. When you are exploring Door County, you need to stop in to check out the goats on the roof. These are not fiberglass goats. They are live, grass-eating goats that hang out on Al Johnson’s sod roof. If you really love goats, you don’t even have to drive to see them. Check out their goat cam during warmer months.
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