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Larger than Life

Why to Texas towns erect giant wildlife statues? Why not?!

 Kirsten Hahn

Arachnophilia • Austin

This statue named for the love of spiders, Arachnophilia, was created by sculptor Dixie Friend Gay. The 23-foot-high giant spider straddles the hike-and-bike trail, adding a bit of fun to a run.

Directions: Southwest Greenway at Mueller Development (former airport), Manor Road and Berkman Drive. Look carefully, may not be easily seen from the road.

 Earl Nottingham | TPWD

Paisano Pete • Fort Stockton

Erected in 1980, Paisano Pete, a giant roadrunner, was the world’s largest for many years. At 22 feet long and 11 feet tall, Pete serves as Fort Stockton’s town mascot.

Directions: Intersection of U.S. Highway 285 and Main Street.

 Sonja Sommerfeld | TPWD

Killer Bee • Hidalgo

Hidalgo is the place where the first colony of Africanized “killer bees” was discovered in the U.S., in October 1990. While many people in the United States feared the arrival, the city celebrated this historic moment by erecting a 2,000-pound, lifelike statue of a massive Africanized honeybee and dubbing itself the “Killer Bee Capital of the World.” The city even sells posters and postcards that feature the bee.

Directions: Ramon Ayala Drive, near Hidalgo city hall.

 Chase Fountain | TPWD

Mustangs at Las Colinas • Irving

Installed in 1984, Robert Glen’s bronze sculpture of wild mustangs commemorates their historical importance in Texas. The mustangs are larger than life, running through a watercourse, with fountains giving the effect of water splashed by the animals’ hooves. The horses are intended to represent the ambition, initiative and freedom of the state’s pioneer days.

Directions: Williams Square in Las Colinas.

 Chase Fountain | TPWD

Ms. Pearl • Cedar Creek

Ms. Pearl, the world’s largest squirrel, stands on the side of Texas Highway 71. She’s 14 feet tall and clutches a pecan bigger than your head. She’s perched at Berdoll Pecan Candy and Gift Company, a family-owned business that includes a gift shop and a pecan orchard. The statue was constructed in 2011 by Blue Genie Art Industries.

Directions: 2626 Texas Highway 71, between Bastrop and Austin.

 Chase Fountain | TPWD

THE RAVEN • HUNTSVILLE

Weighing more than 7,000 pounds and standing 21 feet tall, a massive raven sculpture spreads its wings over a plaza at Sam Houston State University. In 1809, Sam Houston ran away from home and developed a deep, lifelong affection for the Cherokee tribe, considering them his surrogate family. Artist Ed Wilson created the statue as a tribute to Houston’s Cherokee nickname, “The Raven.”

Directions: In the plaza next to the Life Sciences Building at Sam Houston State University.

 Earl Nottingham | TPWD

Jack Ben Rabbit • Odessa

An Odessa landmark, Jack Ben Rabbit is the world’s largest jackrabbit. Built in 1962, the 8-foot jackrabbit was inspired by the Odessa Chamber of Commerce president, John Ben Shepperd, hence the name. In recent years, Jack Ben has been joined by 30-plus brightly colored Jamboree Jackrabbits around town as a public art project.

Directions: Near the school district administration building at Eighth Street and Sam Houston Avenue.



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