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What Happens When A Small-Town Family Visits The "World's Largest"... Whatever!

Archive for Photo Friday

PHOTO FRIDAY / Sighted and Shared!

One of the best things about travel blogging is the community among fellow bloggers. I especially love when another blogger will let me know about a BIG thing they’ve see in their travels; even more so when they share their photos with me!

For Photo Friday today, I wanted to show you some. First, Annie at Practical Adventurology recently attended Carnaval de Nice in France, one the world’s largest pre-Lent celebrations. It’s been taking place since 1873, but is now known for the spectacular, immense floats. These figures were about six stories tall!

Carnaval de Nice

Carnaval de Nice

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World’s Largest Group of Christmas Carolers, Westport, CT

On Wednesday night, 502 Christmas carolers in Westport, CT set a Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest group of singers caroling door-to-door!  We weren’t there, but two of our friends were! You may remember Fiona from her guest post on the world’s largest Rubik’s Cube. She and Libby got their official numbers to wear in the “One Voice” event:

One Voice

Ready to sing! Libby’s the “high-spirited” one on the right.


The caroling took place in Westport’s Compo Beach area Wednesday night, and raised more than $4,000 for a local charity.

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PHOTO FRIDAY: Big Fun Toy Store, Cleveland, OH

I included the Big Fun toy store on our Cleveland itinerary for its name, obviously.

Big Fun

It’s not the world’s largest toy store (that would be the Toys R’ Us in Times Square), but it lives up to its name by giving you a really enjoyable trip down memory lane!  Big Fun, which has been around for almost 20 years, has two locations. We went to the one in the Coventry neighborhood. Both are stuffed to the brim – literally from floor to ceiling – with an amazing array of toys, collectibles, novelties and gag gifts.


Their own description says it best: “a cathedral of counter-culture, a warehouse of nerdabilia and nostalgia.”

toy store

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Walt Disney World: World’s Largest Theme Park

On Wednesday, we spent an exhausting day at Walt Disney World, the world’s largest theme park. Specifically, we spent 10 hours straight in the Magic Kingdom, pushing through the heat-induced crankiness and cyclical sugar lows to fit in what everyone wanted to see and do.

There’s not much new to write about Disney World. Many of us have the same photo, standing in front of Cinderella’s castle, and similar stories about our favorite rides and characters. What makes it magical is seeing it through our children’s eyes, especially if it’s their first time there.

This was The Girl’s first visit to the Magic Kingdom. I spent more time watching her face than anything else.

Her first character encounter was with Merida from Brave:


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PHOTO FRIDAY: World’s Largest Pigeon Species, Pittsburgh, PA

We’re headed west to Cleveland today, plodding along I-80, which traverses the width of Pennsylvania in the most boring of fashions. Mere months ago, we took this same route to Pittsburgh, and thought maybe we had enough of this interstate to last a while. Apparently not.

Speaking of Pittsburgh, the final BIG thing we saw there was the world’s largest pigeon species, the Victoria Crown Pigeon, at the National Aviary.


William, a friendly resident of the National Aviary!

This is William. He is not THE world’s largest pigeon, but he gets my vote for the world’s friendliest pigeon! He just walked right up to us. His “life partner” Mary was much shyer, and kept to herself in her habitat.

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PHOTO FRIDAY – Dino Trio, Pittsburgh, PA

“Dino Trio.” Sounds like a smooth crooner group from the ‘50’s. “Singing live tonight at the Starlight Lounge…it’s the Dino Trio!”

Last week, on our post about the Jurassic dinosaur collection at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, I mentioned DinoMite Days, a 2004 public art project which resulted in 100 uniquely decorated dinosaurs, made of fiberglass and weighing 200 lbs each. They were temporarily installed throughout the city, but most have since been sold to private collectors.

However, several can still be found on public display. We found these BIG beauties in front the “Wintergarden” building at PPG Place!

DinoMite Days Pittsburgh

They are, from left to right:

Philiposaurus. Artist: Gary Mesa Gaido

Ketchupsaurus. Artist: Kristina Martinez

Mr. Dig. Artist: Glennis McClellan

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Wall Drug: World’s Largest Drug Store

Sure, you could go see Mount Rushmore on your next trip to South Dakota. It’s BIG, so why not? But if you’re going to “The Coyote State,” you need to visit the Wall Drug, the World’s Largest Drug Store!

And we will. As soon as we get to South Dakota.

In the meantime, I am grateful that Anne at 500 Places With Kids DID go there, and has shared her photos with us! You can read a full report of her family’s visit on her blog.

Wall drug

One of America's top roadside attractions!

At 76,000 square feet, Wall Drug is not only a drug store. The space also contains a gift shop, pharmacy museum, art gallery, chapel, restaurants and other shops.

Wall Drug is an iconic American roadside attraction. I love the history of this place. It opened in 1931, and struggled to stay afloat, until the couple who owned it started advertising “free ice water” on small roadside signs. Now they get up to 20,000 visitors a day in the summer!

Check Anne’s site for a smile-inducing photo of the wall of jackalope heads for sale! Who doesn’t love a jackalope? There’s also this BIG one outside, and of course I had to have a pic on my blog:


World's largest jackalope? Actually, no. That one's in Wyoming.


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PHOTO FRIDAY – World’s Largest LEGOLAND, Winter Haven, FL

We have arrived. The Boy is finding it difficult to fill his lungs with air. Maybe I’ve mentioned, he’s a bit of a LEGO freak. Those plastic bricks have covered our floors since he was three years old. I have permanent dot indentations on the bottom of my feet. (If I connect them, I can make out Orion’s Belt.)



We’re here in Winter Haven, FL, halfway between Orlando and Tampa, for the Grand Opening Celebration of LEGOLAND Florida. And we don’t know where to go first. Today, we’ll definitely hit the Ford Driving School so he can drive a LEGO car through the city streets (no tracks!). The LEGO® TECHNIC area looks promising, too.

Tomorrow we’ll be back for more. Next week, I’ll tell you all about the world’s largest LEGOLAND. If I can convince The Boy that his home is actually NOT here.

It’s just me and The Boy on this trip. It took some subterfuge to keep it from The Girl, because she would not take kindly to being left out. (It just wasn’t in the budget.) We told her that we were going to Czechoslovakia on a middle school field trip. Mainly because she can’t quite say “Czechoslovakia.”

Have you ever traveled with just one of your children? Did you have to lie to the others? Am I doomed to be immortalized in her future therapy sessions?

Disclaimer: Our visit is being sponsored by LEGOLAND.

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PHOTO FRIDAY — World’s Largest Shoe House, Hellam, PA

Shoe house

World's largest shoe house! (And possibly the world's ONLY shoe house.)

There was an old woman who visited a shoe. It was closed and her children didn’t know what to do.

Sorry. I’ll stop mangling nursery rhymes now.

This is the Haines Shoe House in Hellam, PA. We found it while visiting the “snack food corridor” of York, Lancaster, and Chester counties in Pennsylvania Dutch Country last month. Built in 1948, it’s 25 feet high and 48 feet long.

It’s actually a house with several interior rooms, although it’s now operating as a museum of sorts. Guided tours are offered, but unfortunately, not when we were there!

By the way, the rest of this family  getaway along the “sweet and salty trail” was really entertaining! Several snack food companies, like Snyder’s of Hanover, UTZ, Herr’s and Turkey Hill Dairy are headquartered here, and offer free public tours.

I wrote a two-part series for FamilyVacationCritic.com about our trip; check it out for more details if you’re interested in planning a trip!

Pennsylvania’s Snack Food Corridor: The Sweet Side

Pennsylvania’s Snack Food Corridor: The Salty Side

world's largest shoe

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PHOTO FRIDAY – World’s Largest State Fair, TX

I’ve never met a state or county fair I didn’t like. They retain the flavor of old-fashioned American fun, even though they’re no longer an inexpensive day out! Last year, we went to the Big E in West Springfield, MA. It’s the state fair of Massachusetts and several other New England states, and it’s where you’ll find the world’s largest traveling amusement park, the North American Midway. The highlight of the day was sampling the Craz-E burger, a bacon cheeseburger sandwiched between two halves of a glazed doughnut. Yes, you read that right. I’m not up for an Oscar nomination, but the video clip we posted of The Boy’s first Craz-E bite captured a really fun Go BIG moment!

This year, the Big E takes place September 16-October 2.

The world’s largest state fair, not surprisingly, is the State Fair of Texas. Three million people are expected to attend this 125-year old institution, which begins in Dallas next week (September 30) through October 23. Our friend Jessica at Suitcases and Sippycups goes almost every year, and has provided us with our PHOTO FRIDAY today!

ferris wheel

This is the 212-foot Texas Star ferris wheel, the tallest ferris wheel in North America! It can carry up to 264 passengers in its 44 gondolas.

 state fair

This is Big Tex (can’t help but love that name!), the 52-foot tall icon of the state fair! Jessica shares, “His voice booms all over the state fair. Most of the time he just makes general announcements about upcoming shows or events. But every now and then he makes a personal comment about someone’s shirt or hair in the crowd. It is hilarious to watch people look up at him and marvel at how the giant statue can see them.” Thanks, Jessica!

Who’s headed to a BIG fair soon? What’s your favorite fair food?  We’re partial to deep-fried Oreos.

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