Off The Beaten Path: Feelin’ Just Ducky!
My spouse and I will be celebrating thirty-one years of marriage in December. During this time we have taken a lot of trips and explored new (to us) places and events. On our way to our destinations we inevitably find ourselves “off the beaten path” (pun intended) and traveling down a side road when we spy a roadside sign touting some marvelous attraction. Sometimes these attractions are spectacular and often they are kitschy and we are always amused and have a good time seeking them out.
The Rubber Duck Project is close to home – about an hour’s drive – in Pittsburgh. This project came from Studio Florentijn Hofman (The Netherlands). This is no ordinary duck! It is a 40 feet tall and 3 stories wide! Definitely something to quack about. The duck has previously been on display in Amsterdam, Lommel (Belgium), Osaka, Sydney Harbour, Sao Paulo and Hong Kong and arrived in the US for the first time for the Pittsburgh International Festival of Firsts in late September.
The Rubber Duck would only be on display for less than a month. Every day I would watch my internet feed explode with photos of people posing with the giant duck. The local TV stations have been doing numerous features on the Giant Rubber Duck, beginning with its float down the Ohio River. One million plus visitors have flocked to Point State Park to see and have their photo taken with the duck that must be a dream come true for Ernie from Sesame Street.
Of course I wanted to jump on the bandwagon and get quacky with all of the other quacks. Surprisingly my guys didn’t want to get up a day of actual duck hunting to make the sojourn to the Burgh with the girls. My son-in-law did jump on the duck bandwagon when he learned that we would be eating at Joe’s Crab Shack afterwards.
We took a boat ride on the Gateway Clipper first and were able to get beautiful views of the confluence of the Allegheny and Monongahela Rivers, which form the Ohio River. And of course we saw the giant Rubber Duck. Afterwards we paid $10.00 to park in an overpriced garage and make the trek down to the Point to see Mr. Quackers (my nickname for the duck) up close and personal. The sun was setting as we arrived and there were at least 1,000 other people there. People of all ages. My personal favorite duck crazy? The closer to 30 than 20-something dude who had a meltdown on his girlfriend because she was not able to take a photo of him standing on a concrete wall, appearing to kiss the Duck. There were lots and lots of women, teens and children doing the same pose – but he was the only man I saw wanting to kiss the duck. Poor Ashley (whoever she may be), I can still hear the tongue-lashing she received.
The Rubber Duck is leaving the fair city of Pittsburgh tonight. I will miss the daily updates and photos. I will miss seeing the real ducks gathering around the giant Duckzilla, gazing up at it as if to say, “Are YOU my Mother?” I was starting to stress about finding something equal or better to The Rubber Duck. Was this even possible? Thankfully I found about RoadsideAmerica.com Attractions and Oddities™, the first GPS guide for travelers to use while on the road. I smell a road trip coming up! I call shotgun!