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Planning any road trips this summer? If you’re an animal lover, chances are you already plan to have your eyes peeled for zoos, aquariums and wildlife refuges to stop at. But don’t forget to buff up your history and art appreciation skills by also looking for some of these famous animal statues along the way. You would be surprised at how much interesting and awe-inspiring public animal art can be found throughout the U.S. Use our quick guide to get you started.
Nothing captures the spirit of the American West more than the sight of a herd of wild horses. Artist David Govedare’s installation of 15 larger-than-life steel scuIptures creates a dramatic image of wild horses galloping across a ridge above the Columbia River. View them from Interstate 90 or hike the trails to visit these stunning steeds in person.
One of the most visited statues in New York City, this iconic 3.5-ton bronze sculpture by Italian-American artist Arturo Di Modica was a gift by the artist to the city. The statue is located not far from the New York Stock Exchange in Bowling Green Park at the intersection of Broadway and Morris streets. The bull’s imposing form has become synonymous with Wall Street, and legend has it that rubbing its nose, horns — and unmentionables — brings good luck.
This statue of Balto, which stands near the Tisch Children’s Zoo in New York City’s Central Park, is a well-loved attraction for children. His bronze back and ears have been rubbed to a shine thanks to his many young visitors over the past nine decades. It’s a fitting location for the heroic Alaskan sled dog who helped save the lives of countless children during a deadly 1925 diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska. The only way to get needed medicine to the town was by sled dog teams that braved blizzards and sub-zero temperatures for the nearly 700-mile trek. The heroic Balto was the leader of the team that completed the last leg of the journey.
Smallbones, Wikimedia Commons
Tigers are the mascot of Princeton University, so tiger statuary and imagery abound in this picturesque Ivy League university town. Two of the most famous statues are the Nassau Hall tigers, whose imposing bronze images, cast and installed by sculptor A.P. Proctor in 1911, are popular tourist destinations. However, don’t stop with this regal pair: You can download this booklet and take a fun guided tour to view all the beautiful tiger statues that can be found throughout Princeton.
Michael Rivera, WikiMedia Commons
Pier 39 in San Francisco is famous for its living sea lions who seasonally take over the floating docks there. But whether or not live sea lions are present, visitors to the area can always enjoy viewing some of their bronzed brethren. A sweet, stylized statue of a sea lion family graces the front of the pier and is a popular meeting place and sightseeing stop for tourists.
Secretariat, one of the most famous racehorses in the world, is immortalized in bronze at the Kentucky Horse Park in Lexington, Ky. Secretariat was a Triple Crown winner, and his decisive 30-length win at the Belmont Stakes has been ranked as one of the most incredible moments in sports. Horse buffs will want to make the park a stop as there are many other famous horse statues to be found throughout the grounds, including Man o’ War and Misty of Chincoteague.
There might be a little rivalry regarding which major U.S. city has the most famous lion sculptures, but New York City certainly has two that would be at or near the top of the list. Patience and Fortitude are the two regal white marble lions that have graced the Fifth Avenue entrance to the New York Public Library since 1911.
Should you happen to visit the Windy City this summer, don’t forget to visit the famous bronze lion statues that have guarded the entrance to the Art Institute of Chicago since 1894. Native Chicagoans might claim that their big cats are more famous than the Big Apple’s.
The bas-relief figures of horses carved into the granite rock of Stone Mountain in Georgia are the largest in the world. The giant mountainside sculpture, although later modified, was initially based on the vision of the same artist who created Mount Rushmore. A theme park and other attractions are available in the park located north of Atlanta.
J. Stephen Conn, Flickr
This bronze statue in Fort Benton, Mont., immortalizes the loyalty of a sheep dog for his master. When Old Shep’s owner fell ill in 1936, he made his way to the Fort Benton hospital. Shep waited by the hospital doors. When the man died a few days later and his family requested that his body be returned east, Shep followed the casket to the train. For the next five and a half years, the “Forever Faithful” Shep met every train, hoping in vain to greet his returning master and friend. His bronze statue was installed in a city park in 1994.
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