What is it about BIG?

The Biggest Pumpkin – Iowa State Fair 2012

Big things fascinate me. Maybe that’s true of most of us. The biggest anything is almost always a draw. At the Iowa State Fair, the Biggest (fill in the blank) will always have a line of people waiting to see or take pictures.

After ogling big tomatoes and big horses and big pumpkins at the Fair, my husband and I took a drive to western Iowa last week. The primary goal of this trip was to see in person all the things in that part of the state that I’d written about for The Iowan magazine but had not yet seen. Along the way we saw some things we hadn’t expected to see. Some really BIG things.

Albert the Bull – Audubon, Iowa

Albert the Bull, for instance. Albert is the biggest bull in the world, standing 30 ft. tall, weighing 45 tons, requiring 65 gallons of paint to cover. Definitely bigger than the Big Bull at the State Fair. Albert draws people to Audubon, just north of I-80

The 50-ft. tall Molecule Man is visible from both I-80 and I-29 in Council Bluffs. The 33,000 lb. sculpture by artist Jonathan Borofsky is part of an ambitious public art project transforming the Council Bluffs landscape. There are only three other Molecule Man sculptures in the world and they stand in Berlin, Germany, Los Angeles, CA, and Yorkshire, England. I guess I don’t know if these are the Biggest Men in the world, but they have to be right up there. Certainly the biggest men in Iowa.

Molecule Man – Council Bluffs, Iowa

We saw other big things on this trip. The Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, for instance. It is not the biggest bridge, but it is the longest pedestrian bridge, a 3,000 ft. span, across the Missouri River, and connecting two states – Iowa and Nebraska. Impressive. And fun to walk across.

Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge – Council Bluffs & Omaha

Most often we stand there, shaking our heads in amazement and asking, “How’d they do that?”  The making and installing of these works of art – whether pumpkin or bull or stainless steel men or bridges – are fascinating stories. Worth a drive. Worth a picture. Great for tourism.

We’re heading west later this year and plan to see more really big things both man made and nature made, including the Hoover Dam and the Grand Canyon.

We expect to be amazed.