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

A Hugh Mongous Update!

Mama always said, “don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” Actually, my mama said “don’t wear that safety pin as an earring.” I did it anyway (I was 13), and boy, was that a nasty infection. Anyway, last week I did some “online research” about the BIG roadside attractions we discovered on our Virginia Beach vacation.

And the info I dug up about Hugh Mongous, the giant gorilla? Wrong.

water park

Hugh is older than I thought!


I got the real scoop yesterday from the nice folks at Ocean Breeze Waterpark, who scanned and emailed me what was a yellowed backgrounder page, typewritten in the 80’s. From the looks of the font, I can tell their info is authentic!

So, for the record, Hugh Mongous is, in fact, the 45-foot tall, 11,000 lb. mascot standing in front of the Ocean Breeze Waterpark. He’s actually been here since 1977, when the park was called Jungle Falls Waterslides. The original sculpture was created in 1977 out of Styrofoam, wood, and urethane by sculptor Demetrios Mavroudis. The work was commissioned by the publisher of New Dominion Lifestyle magazine, and was hoisted to the top of the magazine’s office building in downtown Richmond, VA, as a promotion. He only lasted up there for two days until city officials declared it a violation of several codes. The water park purchased him for $5,000, and moved Hugh to his current home. He WAS damaged by fire in 1989 and restored.

I feel compelled to set the record straight, because we had a wonderful day at the Ocean Breeze Waterpark. THIS is why:

water park

And this is why:

water park


But, this…this made it ALL worthwhile.


Disclaimer: Ocean Breeze Waterpark hosted our visit.

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Virginia Beach: World’s Longest Stretch of Pleasure Beach


Shark week

BIG teeth at the Virginia Aquarium (in honor of Shark Week)!

Where we went, and who was coerced into going:

Over Memorial Day week, we drove down to Virginia Beach, VA and Williamsburg, VA. We were game for a road trip, and The Boy got to miss four days of school. He starts middle school next month (hold me), and I figured this may be the last opportunity to pull him out of school for such a long stretch!

WHY did you go there, exactly?

Virginia Beach holds a Guinness World Record as the “world’s longest stretch of pleasure beach.” The 35-mile coastline is comprised of the Virginia Beach resort area, the Chesapeake Bay beach, and Sandbridge beach (our favorite spot!)

It’s always convenient when a beach vacation fits with our BIG theme!  Plus, we were on the hunt for several BIG attractions I had read about, including a giant gorilla, a 30-foot statue of Neptune, and an oversized sea serpent!

Okay, what was so cool about it?

Beyond the beautiful beaches, there were several attractions and activities we all enjoyed, especially the Virginia Aquarium and Marine Science Center, and the Ocean Breeze Waterpark. I’ve already written broader descriptions of Virginia Beach for other family travel sites. If you would like info on family–friendly attractions, activities, and dining in Virginia Beach, please visit FamilyVacationCritic.com and FamilyTravelNetwork.com

But I know what you REALLY want to know more about – Hugh Mongous, the giant gorilla; Neptune, the King of the Sea; and Isabel, the sea serpent!

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