Have you ever heard people complain that Wisconsin is a boring state, with nothing fun to see or do?
Well… that’s a bunch of bologna!
Wisconsin’s got Summerfest, the world’s largest music fest and Noah’s Ark, the nation’s largest water theme park. We’ve also got the largest cranberry fest and brat fest. But our state has some of the world’s largest and most interesting things to see too.
Here are 17 quirky attractions you can find throughout the Badger state, that maybe you don’t even know about!
1. World’s Largest Six Pack – La Crosse
The world’s largest six pack is not just for looks! It’s actually filled with 22,220 barrels of La Crosse Lager from City Brewery in La Crosse, Wisconsin. This one gigantic six-pack – equaling 688,200 gallons of beer – is enough to make 1,223,466 normal size six-packs. Now that’s a lot of beer!
2. World’s Largest Muskie – Hayward
This 143-foot long and 4 stories tall leaping muskie is the centerpiece for the National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Hayward, Wisconsin. It’s not just the world’s largest fiberglass muskie sculpture, it’s a shrine to the world record fish of North America, with thousands of charter members’ names lining the walls.
It has an observation deck where people have even gotten married! Enter through the door in the tail and work your way up to the muskie’s gullet to see the 6-acre “Sea-of-Fishes” sculpture garden.
3. World’s Largest Night Crawler – Hayward
Something else you’ll find inside the giant muskie is an exhibit dedicated to the biggest earthworm on record.
Herman-the-Worm, a real Canadian night crawler, measured in at 16.5 inches long! He belonged to Portage County, Wisconsin native, George Sroda, who became well-known as the “Worm Czar”. Herman wasn’t just the world’s largest night crawler, George trained him to roll over on demand, paint pictures and even shoot hoops with a tiny basketball!
- Click to learn more about the life of George Sroda.
Herman went along as George’s sidekick on 18 different national talk shows. His first was The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson in 1973. Herman lived to be about 20 years old.
4. World’s Largest Barber Pole – Elkhart Lake
Dave Gumieny, now 79, has been giving haircuts for under $10 for the past 41 years. He does it out of the world’s largest barber pole – a red, white and blue striped silo in the country that’s nearly 115 years old. He’s a family man with many good stories and a love for cutting hair. He remembers back to his early days, starting out as a barber in Milwaukee, when haircuts were just $1.25!
He’s retired now, but still takes appointments. When you stop for a cut, he loves to share his stories, pictures and just enjoys a good chat. Then he’ll brush you off and tell you “You’ll be good for another 1,000 miles.” His barber pole has been featured in the history channel’s Bigger is Better segment and in People Magazine – among many other media. The barber pole was also largely publicized in the mid 70s during America’s Bicentennial.
5. World’s Largest Grandfather Clock – Kewaunee
This colonial style grandfather clock was built in 1976 as a tribute to the United States Bicentennial – a major celebratory event during the American Revolution. The clock is nearly 38-feet tall and it actually works!
Until recently, the clock stood in front of a Kewaunee shop that went out of business. The sheriff’s department now uses the building to store evidence, and officials didn’t like roadside tourists snapping pictures of the high security facility. So they turned the clock off and had it moved.
Thankfully, the Kewaunee Public Works Department is working on refurbishing the clock, and they hope to place it in the park on the corner of Miller Street and WI-42 near downtown Kewaunee sometime this summer.
6. World’s Largest Penny – Woodruff
There’s an inspirational story behind this gigantic penny…
Back in the early 1900s, Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb was a Northwoods physician who took care of people throughout 300 square miles of northern Wisconsin.
She made her way to their distant homes by canoe, snowmobile, or even snowshoes during the brutal winter months.
Dr. Kate became known as “The Angel on Snowshoes.” She never sent her patients a bill, and she even let them pay her with things like vegetables and firewood. Dr. Kate dreamed of having a hospital in Woodruff – since the nearest one was hours away.
Three years before she passed away, Dr. Kate started a grassroots movement encouraging area school children to help collect 1,000,000 pennies for the future hospital.
That’s when curiosity struck the local high school geometry class. Students wanted to see what a million pennies would look like! They helped start the “Million Penny Parade” in 1954 and the school promised to donate $10,000 to the cause.
Wisconsin newspapers covered the story, which sent penny donations from across the country, and Dr. Kate’s appearance on the national TV show, This is Your Life, sent even more donations from all around the world. Soon $110,000 was collected and the “Snow Angel’s” dream quickly came true. The hospital was built, and is now called the Howard Young Medical Center.
- Visit the Dr. Kate Museum website
The world’s largest penny was made in Dr. Kate’s honor to help celebrate her amazing feat. It weighs 17,000 pounds, is 15-feet high and about a foot thick. You can find the penny monument in Woodruff’s city park.
7. World’s Largest Letter “M” – Platteville
In 1936, two Platteville Wisconsin mining school students wanted to represent the Platteville mining tradition and history of the University of Wisconsin-Platteville. That cold winter, they stamped a huge “M” in the snow on top the 450-foot Platte Mound. It stayed there for weeks thanks to the freezing weather, and when the snow started melting, a group of students used rocks to build one leg of the M.
That’s when the head of the school’s engineering department, H.B. Morrow, declared a day for all students and staff to finish what they started. They used picks, crowbars and wheelbarrows to construct the world’s largest “M” with limestone found on the mound. At 241 feet high and 214 feet wide, you can see it from 28 miles away!
The tradition continues today at UW Platteville. The giant “M” is even set ablaze every year.
8. World’s Largest Hamburger – Seymour
Did you know Seymour Wisconsin claims to be the birthplace of the hamburger?
Ever since Charlie Nagreen started calling his smashed meatball patty on a bun a “hamburger” in 1885, the city has celebrated their unique hamburger history.
The Seymour Hamburger Fest started in 1989, to celebrate the birth of the hamburger. The world’s largest hamburger, weighing a massive 8,266 pounds, was cooked up on the 5,000 pound mammoth “Charlie Grill” and served to everyone at the fest in 2001. It fed a total of 13,000 people!
While you obviously can’t see that particular burger anymore, The Big Burger is still a tradition. Each year the fest makes a 150- pound patty.
9. World’s Largest Badger – Birnamwood
It’s a bit of a sad story for the world’s largest badger (and squirrel). Back in the 70s and 80s, Badger Country in Birnamwood, Wisconsin was one of the best places to stop off and fill up your tank.
There, you could see a giant 40-foot badger towering over his equally massive hallowed log. Inside the log is where you drove the car to pump gas. The Badger Country gift shop sold local crafts, maple syrup, candy, cheese, sausage and souvenirs. There was a trout pond for fishing, you could feed whitetail deer, geese and turkeys and there was even a playground and spots to camp.
But in the late 1990s Badger Country gas station and gift shop closed and was replaced by one of the most unfitting businesses possible for the poor badger – Northern Exposure Gentlemen’s Club. Now it seems like the world’s largest badger (and squirrel on top the log) are waving people in for some “hot girls” and “cold beer”.
Watch this short clip highlighting the before and after of The badger.
10. World’s Largest Mustard Collection – Middleton
Barry Levenson created the National Mustard Museum in 1886. He was an Assistant Attorney General for the state of Wisconsin, but decided to quit his job to collect mustard from all over the world as well as mustard pots, tins, jars and vintage ads.
Levenson has now collected at least 5,566 different prepared mustards from all 50 states and 70 countries. Plus, he has hundreds of other kinds of mustard memorabilia.
Levenson’s museum, in the heart of downtown Middleton, has become a very popular Wisconsin tourist attraction. It was even featured on Oprah Winfrey, The Food Network and Jeopardy!
11. World’s Largest Talking Cow – Neillsville
Chatty Belle was part of the 1964 New York World’s Faire. She’s 16-feet high at the shoulders and 20-feet long. That’s seven times as large as the average Holstein!
There are plenty of other cow replicas throughout the U.S., that are just as big, or even larger, but Chatty Belle’s voice box is what makes her special. Put a quarter in her and you’ve got the world’s largest talking cow.
12. World’s Largest French Fry – Wisconsin Rapids
Back in June of 2003, a man named Simon Holland found a 6.75-inch French fry while eating at the Wisconsin based Culver’s restaurant in Wisconsin Rapids.
Instead of eating the fried tater, he took it home, froze it and put it up for auction on eBay. The fry sold for $202.50 to a bidder who called himself “Culver’s Fan”. The owners of this Culver’s celebrated the strange record by giving away free custard cakes to everyone!
Of course, since that particular french fry got so much attention, others in Wisconsin have found even longer ones and also sold them on eBay. And supposedly, in 2010, some guys found a curly fry that measured 24-inches – a new world record.
13. World’s Largest Roasted Chicken – Elk Creek
When I first heard about the world’s largest roasted chicken, I imagined a gigantic bird dressed up in people clothes with big eyes looking all friendly.
But to my surprise, I discovered a humongous defeathered and cooked chicken butt bulging out of a supper club’s roof. The giant roast chicken dish used to sit on top the roof of Elk Creek Inn in Elk Creek, Wisconsin. It was basically a huge advertisement for the pub’s roasted chicken dinner. But one of our readers recently made us aware that the chicken butt is now in the front yard of the house across the road, and Elk Creek Inn was sold and possibly being converted to a steak house.
14. World’s Largest Soup Kettle – Laona
Every August since the 1920’s, the folks of Laona, Wisconsin gather around at Silver Lake Beach for the Community Soup. It’s a Lion’s Club sponsored “soup-a-ganza” where everyone must bring their own bowl for a free taste.
The World’s Largest Soup Kettle in Laona, is a symbol of this local tradition. The big grey pot is 7 feet in circumference and 3 feet deep.
15. World’s Largest Corkscrew – Hurley
Corkscrew Liquor Store in Hurley, Wisconsin – reputed as the “tavern community” – is owned by corkscrew collector, Robert Vittone.
He welded the world’s largest 24-foot high corkscrew himself out of stainless steel tubing. This unique attraction is part of the sign that sits outside his liquor store.
16. World’s Largest White Pine Log – Glidden
This 7,000 pound white pine log is described as the last and largest sleigh-hauled log in existence.
The log is about 20-feet long and between 400-500 years old. It sits on the same sleigh it was brought in on in 1984. It even has its own protective shelter. Lumberjacks estimate the log could make nearly 1,960 board feet worth of lumber!
17. World’s Largest Stuffed Black Bear – Glidden
Not too far from the white pine log, and a half block from State Highway 13, stands what locals call “Mr. Bear”.
He was 12 years old when he was shot in the head by Otto Hedbany a few miles north of Glidden, Wisconsin. It was in 1963, just one day after JFK was assassinated.
Mr. Bear, now stuffed and mounted, still holds the world record for the largest black bear at 7-feet 10 inches and 665 pounds! That’s at least a foot taller than the average black bear. Since then, Glidden claims to be “Black Bear Capital of the World”.
The next time you hear someone say there’s nothing interesting to see in Wisconsin, you’ll have a whole bunch of cool things to tell them about. So there!
What did I miss? Do you know of any other world’s largest things in Wisconsin you can tell us about?
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Source: Black bear Facts