Road trippers along the PA Turnpike won’t want to miss a chance to pose with this giant Pennsylvania elephant statue in Somerset.
My family has come to accept the fact that we can’t travel anywhere without stopping at a few roadside attractions. I seek them out wherever we go. Sometimes I find them before we leave home and other times, I read about them or spot them on the road.
For those passing the time along the Pennsylvania Turnpike, you may notice the towering Jenny Globe that is visible from the interstate but did you know there are several interesting roadside attractions to check out at the Somerset exit? Not only can you check out the rotating globe, but Roadside America also lists the Quecreek Mine Rescue Memorial and a giant elephant statue. Whether you seek it out, or just spot it hanging out next to the road, you can’t miss this life-size gray African elephant replica!
Why is There An Elephant Statue in Somerset County, PA?
Believe it or not, the nearby town of Fairhope in rural Somerset County is home to a 1000-acre elephant breeding facility, owned by the Pittsburgh Zoo. The land used to be a commercial wild game hunting reserve but was purchased by the Zoo in 2005. The International Conservation Center is the country’s premier breeding and training facility which specializes in African elephants. The facility also plans to develop a training program for elephant keepers.
So, the elephant statue in Somerset symbolizes the work with elephants that is happening nearby. Unfortunately, the International Conservation Center is not currently open to the public, so you’ll have to settle for a photo opp with the statue instead!
How to Find the Pennsylvania Elephant Statue
The elephant statue sits right off the turnpike in front of the Eat N’ Park, a diner serving up soup, sandwiches and a salad bar. It’s a great place to stop for lunch on the road, and to snap a few photos with the elephant before you continue your road trip. The address is 926 N Center Avenue, in Somerset. (Note: various companies sponsor the breeding ranch, so the elephant does move occasionally. Check for a location online before your trip if seeing the elephant is a must on your Pennsylvania road trip.)
If you’re not quite ready to get back on the road, you may want to stop by the Flight 93 Memorial which is a short 20-minute drive from Somerset. I visited the memorial shortly after 9/11 and have visited again recently. The transformation is incredible. The memorial is very solemn and not one that you’ll want to rush through so allow a minimum of one hour for your visit.
Resources to help you find Roadside Attractions
Have you seen the Somerset elephant?