I knew when I began this project that it would be extremely difficult to pick just one colossal attraction to feature for each state. So in case you're craving more, here's a list of other "world's largest" things you might want to visit during your time in Iowa.
World's Largest Popcorn Ball*
Sac City, Iowa — Iowa's attempt at the World's Largest Popcorn Ball has been upstaged a number of times now with the most recent upset being in August of 2013 during the Indiana State Fair. While Indiana's popcorn ball weighed in at 6,510 pounds—1,450 pounds heavier than Sac City's—the giant mass of popcorn was later dismantled to be used as animal feed. So, technically, Iowa holds the record for the world's largest (still intact) ball of popcorn.
World's Largest Cheeto
Algona, Iowa — Of all of Iowa's "world's largest" things, I was most skeptical about the World's Largest Cheeto. Originally found in a bag of Cheetos in Hawaii, bidding for the World’s Largest Cheeto hit over $1 million on Ebay. However, the owner eventually rescinded the offer giving the Cheeto to the small town of Algona, Iowa. It now calls local restaurant Emerald’s home and sits atop a purple velvet pillow.
World's Largest Concrete Garden Gnome*
Ames, Iowa — Located in Ames' Reiman Gardens, the World's Largest Concrete Garden Gnome, named Elwood, stands at 15 feet tall and weighs in at 3,500 pounds.
Update (6.19.16): Read more about the World's Largest Concrete Garden Gnome…
World's Largest Manmade Grotto*
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
Pocahontas — Built in 1954, the World’s Largest Pocahontas stands at 25 feet tall. According to Travel Iowa, a local family started building the statue to honor the town’s namesake in 1954 and completed it two years later.
World's Largest Strawberry
Strawberry Point, Iowa — On display in front of City Hall, this 15-foot tall strawberry sculpture was designed by a local ad agency in the 1960s. Discounting buildings and water towers painted to look like strawberries, this is technically the “World’s Largest (fake) Strawberry.”
World's Largest Swedish Coffee Pot and Coffee Cup*
Stanton, Iowa — While Stanton's World's Largest Swedish Coffee Pot and its matching Cup no longer tower above the small town, the iconic water towers still call the southwest Iowa community home. A symbol of Swedish hospitality, the World’s Largest Swedish Coffee Pot stands at 125 feet and holds about 50,000 gallons (or 800,000 cups of coffee). Update (1.27.16): While the coffee cup is still standing tall, the coffee pot has been relocated to the grounds of the local Swedish Heritage and Cultural Center.
World's Largest Wooden Nickel*
Iowa City, Iowa — Update (2.17.16): Not too long ago someone told me that the World's Largest Wooden Nickel had been taken down. I received confirmation from a reader that the nickel still, in fact, calls Iowa City home, and am delighted to be able to keep this roadside oddity on the list. Erected in 2006 as a protest against county officials’ decision to raise speed limits in the area, the wooden nickel took six months to create and weighs in around 4,000 pounds.
* Denotes that I have personally visited this attraction