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Discover the World’s Largest Things in Iowa

Graphic for blog post about world's largest things in Iowa including image of World's Largest Strawberry, World's Largest Swedish Coffee Cup and World's Largest Pocahontas

One of the things I love most about the Midwest is its number of offbeat attractions. You’ll find wacky stops in North Dakota and big things across Kansas. And the Hawkeye State is no different. In fact, there are all sorts of world’s largest things in Iowa!

From the Missouri River on the west and the Mississippi River on the east—and everywhere in between—Iowa is full of quirky attractions. Whether you’re looking for a giant statue or a funky food item, there’s a world’s largest thing for you. The next time you plan a road trip, make sure you visit every world’s largest thing in Iowa along the way.

Albert the World’s Largest Bull

Albert the World's Largest Bull in Audubon, Iowa
Audubon, Iowa

One of my favorite offbeat attractions in Iowa is Albert the Bull. Not only is this 30-foot tall Hereford a fun road trip stop, but he’s also the World’s Largest Bull.


World’s Largest Cheeto

World's Largest Cheeto at Emerald's Fine Food & Libations in Algona, Iowa
Algona, Iowa

Would you believe that Iowa is home to the World’s Largest Cheeto? The sizable snack was originally found in a bag of Cheetos in Hawaii by Navy officer Mike Evans in 2003. The Cheeto is a chunky 3/5 of an ounce and is slightly larger than a silver dollar. For reference, the typical bag of about 40 Cheetos weighs 2 1/8 ounces.

Evans put the Cheeto on eBay and bidding reached over $1 million before the auction was shut down. Ultimately, Evans decided to give the World’s Largest Cheeto to the small town of Algona after local radio DJ Bryce Wilson started a campaign to bring the Cheeto to Iowa. It now calls a local restaurant, Emerald’s, home and sits atop a purple velvet pillow inside a display case. Though the Cheeto is no longer as in tact as it once was. In fact, the staff at Emerald’s jokingly refers to it as the “crumb of Carl.”

Emerald’s, 1515 N. MCCOY STREET in Algona, Iowa

World’s Largest Concrete Garden Gnome

Elwood the World's Largest Concrete Garden Gnome at Reiman Gardens in Ames, Iowa
Ames, Iowa

Located in Ames’ Reiman Gardens, Elwood the World’s Largest Concrete Garden Gnome stands at 15 feet tall and weighs in at 3,500 pounds.

Reiman Gardens, 1407 University Boulevard in Ames, Iowa

World’s Largest Golden Spike

World's Largest Golden Spike in Council Bluffs, Iowa
Council Bluffs, Iowa

What better way to pay homage to Council Bluffs’ railroad history than with the World’s Largest Golden Spike? Also known as the Golden Spike Monument, this 56-foot-tall golden railroad spike was installed in 1939 to celebrate the premiere of the film “Union Pacific” in neighboring Omaha.

In fact, Council Bluffs serves as the eastern terminus of the nation’s first transcontinental railroad, which was completed on May 10, 1869.

Golden Spike Monument, S. 21st Street & 9th Avenue in Council Bluffs, Iowa

World’s Largest Manmade Grotto

All Rights Reserved Megan Bannister
West Bend, Iowa

If you’ve never been to the Grotto of the Redemption, you are seriously missing out. Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the Grotto attracts more than 100,000 visitors every year, and was constructed using an estimated $4.3 million of stones and precious gems.


World’s Largest Pocahontas

Statue of the World's Largest Pocahontas next to a giant metal teepee in Pocahontas, Iowa
Pocahontas, Iowa

Located in Pocahontas County, this unique attraction was built in 1956. While the actual Pocahontas likely never visited Iowa, Senator John Howell, formerly from Virginia, proposed the name for the county in 1850.

However, the idea to build the World’s Largest Pocahontas came about 100 years later. In the 1950s, Senator Albert J. Shaw and his son, Frank, had the idea to construct the statue. The World’s Largest Pocahontas was designed by W.C. Ballard of Nevis, Minnesota and was constructed by Pocahontas local Marcell Moritz. The cement statue stands at 25 feet tall and is seven feet wide at the base of her skirt and tops of her shoulders.

Hwy 3 and NE 6th Street in Pocahontas, Iowa

World’s Largest Popcorn Ball

World's Largest Popcorn Ball in Sac City, Iowa
Sac City, Iowa

Iowa’s attempt at the World’s Largest Popcorn Ball has been upstaged a number of times now. But Sac City currently holds the record for this particular world’s largest thing. In 2016, the community came together to create the current World’s Largest Ball of Popcorn. Using a plastic form created by Lundell Plastics as a cradle to support the popcorn during its construction, the completed ball weighs 9,370 pounds and stands at more than eight feet tall.


World’s Largest Strawberry

Sculpture of the World's Largest Strawberry outside of city hall in Strawberry Point, Iowa
Strawberry Point, Iowa

While there are buildings and water towers painted to look like strawberries, Iowa is home to what is technically the World’s Largest Strawberry. This 15-foot tall strawberry sculpture was designed and built by Harold Lange of East Dubuque, Illinois while he was working for the ad agency Frank Hardie in Dubuque in the 1960s. Today you can find it on display in front of the Strawberry Point City Hall.

If you’re curious — because I was — the world’s largest edible strawberry was grown in Japan. The fruit grew to be palm-sized and weighed 250 grams with an approximate circumference of more than 10 inches.

111 Commercial Street in Strawberry Point, Iowa

World’s Largest Swedish Coffee Pot & Coffee Cup

World's Largest Swedish Coffee Pot in Stanton, Iowa
Stanton, Iowa

While Stanton’s World’s Largest Swedish Coffee Pot no longer towers above the small town, the iconic water towers still call the southwest Iowa community home. A symbol of Swedish hospitality, the giant coffee pot is still on display outside the Swedish Heritage and Cultural Center. The matching World’s Largest Swedish Coffee Cup, complete with saucer, still serves the town as a water tower.

World's Largest Swedish Coffee Cup water tower in Stanton, Iowa

World’s Largest Truck Stop

Exterior facade of World's Largest Truckstop in Walcott, Iowa
Walcott, Iowa

If you’ve driven on I-80 through Iowa, you’ve probably seen the World’s Largest Truck Stop. You also probably won’t be surprised to hear that it’s one of my favorite places to stop when crossing the state. In addition to a whole lot of snack options, the World’s Largest Truck Stop really does have everything.

From a barber shop and dental office to dog groomer and movie theater, there are all sorts of unusual amenities at this truck stop. You can also stretch your legs while visiting the Iowa 80 Trucking Museum.

W. Iowa 80 Road in Walcott, Iowa

World’s Largest Wooden Nickel

World's Largest Wooden Nickel in a field in Iowa City, Iowa
Iowa City, Iowa

Erected in 2006 as a protest against raised speed limits in the area, the World’s Largest Wooden Nickel is a unique piece of protest art. The roadside attraction took six months to create and weighs in around 4,000 pounds. Today you can see it along the roadside in Iowa City.

3246-3248 Iowa River Corridor Trail In Iowa City, Iowa

Let's Be Social

Want even more offbeat adventures, roadside attractions and world's largest things? Follow Olio in Iowa on your favorite social media platforms, and tag #OlioOnTheRoad when you have quirky adventures of your own.

Share Your Thoughts

I would love to hear from you! Have you visited any of Iowa’s world’s largest things? What are your favorite quirky attractions in Iowa?

There are some many world's largest things in Iowa! From gigantic statues to odd-shaped foods, Iowa is full of road trip worthy offbeat attractions, including the World's Largest Strawberry, World's Largest Ball of Popcorn and more. #Iowa #RoadsideAttractions
There are some many world's largest things in Iowa! From gigantic statues to odd-shaped foods, Iowa is full of road trip worthy offbeat attractions, including the World's Largest Strawberry, World's Largest Ball of Popcorn and more. #Iowa #RoadsideAttractions

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Comments (2)

I never knew about the cheeto! Many of the others I have visited. Other “largest” or “quirky” attractions I think about in Iowa are the Matchstick Marvels Museum, Snake Alley, Crystal Lake’s World Largest Bullhead Fish and Brandon Iowa’s Largest Frying Pan

The Cheeto is such an unusual one! Those are some fantastic other offbeat attractions. I love how many wacky things there are to see in Iowa! I still need to make it to Crystal Lake’s World’s Largest Bullhead Fish!

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