On our way home from Michigan we stopped at what might be a familiar sight for those of you who have headed up I-75, the giant dinosaur. Originally a mascot for Thunder Mountain Fireworks, this hand-built green dinosaur has looked out over the highway from Caryville TN since the 1980’s.
Sadly, in May 2011 the fireworks store caught fire, and the site is now occupied by a Dollar Store. Rumor has it, the dinosaur is for sale…
Caryville doesn’t seem to have good luck with fireworks stores. You might recognize another site from the interstate, just minutes north of the dinosaur.
We made an overnight stop outside of Lexington in order to break up the trip, had we not we would have witnessed the fireworks… That’s right, the store caught fire that evening, and firefighters had the dangerous task of preventing the neighboring buildings, and even cars on the highway from catching on fire. I-75 was shut down in both directions, it must have been quite a sight.
|Source: USA Today|
It isn’t just the fireworks laying waste to I-75 roadside attractions on the north-south highway. Some of you might recognize this 62 foot tall giant Jesus from the roadside just north of Cincinnati.
Nicknamed “touchdown Jesus,” it was struck by lightning and destroyed in 2010. The church has rebuilt, and the new statue (nickname “Hug me Jesus”) was dedicated in 2012. Named Lux Mundi ("Light of the World" in Latin), the 52 foot statue was designed by Tom Tsuchiya.
What is your favorite roadside attraction on I-75?
Directions to giant dinosaur:
Take exit 134 and head east on US Hwy 25W/Hwy 63. Make a right (south) onto Hwy 116/John McGhee Blvd. and after 0.5 miles turn into the Dollar Store parking lot. The dragon is located behind the store on the highway side.