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Animal Houses

big-chicken-marietta-georgia I love animals. But I've never wanted to live in one. Yet, all over the world there are buildings shaped like animals – chickens, elephants, sheep, sharks, fish. And people live, work and play inside them. It's a curious thing – there are loads of them. And if you don't believe me, scroll down and have a look. sheep-building-tirau-waikato-new-zealand-wool-shop Here' s a wool shop in Waikato, New Zealand. Shaped like a sheep. We knew sheep were big in New Zealand, but this is something else. It's rather appropriately named the Big Sheep Wool Gallery, and it's located in the small village of Tirau next to the Big Dog Tourist Information Centre (below – yup, there's another building shaped like a dog). sheepdog-tirau-waikato-new-zealand As is often the way, the dog followed the sheep, and a trend was born. Tirau now has a unique claim to fame – its streets are lined with curiously-shaped buildings made out of corrugated iron. Which seems like a great reason to visit it. Inside the dog, you'll find pastoral murals, information (naturally) and public toilets (which is kind of ironic, if you think about it). big-duck-flanders-new-york While we're in a farmyard kind of mood, here's a duck that also offers tourist information – as well as duck souvenirs. The Big Duck can be found in Flanders, Long Island, New York – and get this, it is usually lit up at Christmas. Fantastic. shark-bar-perm-russia This shark is a bar, and it can be found near the river in Perm, Russia. Beyond that, I haven't been able to find out much about it. If anyone has been there, let us know. Looks like it could give you a nasty hangover… lucy-the-margate-elephant-new-jersey Now, as for Lucy the Margate Elephant, she has her own website. The 65ft high wooden elephant was built in 1881 on the southern shores of New Jersey. Conceived by engineer and inventorJames Vincent de Paul Lafferty, Jr, as a way of attracting visitors and selling real estate, Lucy cost $38,000 to build. Interestingly, in 1882, Lafferty was granted an exclusive patent by the US Patent Office to create and sell animal-shaped buildings, which lasted for 17 years. Over the years the rather exotic Lucy has been a restaurant, office, tavern and home. Today she's a National Historic Landmark. elephant-building-bangkok Here's an elephant of a different color. The Elephant Tower in Bangkok is one of the city's most famous landmarks. Located in the Chatuchak district, it has three towers and forms the shape of Thailand's national animal. It's made up of condominiums, office space, and a language school. frank_gehrys_fish-building-barcelona Frank Gehry's Fish, above the Vila Olimpica in Barcelona, was built in 1992 for the Olympic Games. It may not be inhabitable, but at least with this one we get an explanation: 'It was by accident that I got into the fish image,' said Gehry. '[In the Eighties] my colleagues were starting to replay Greek temples. That was hot, everybody was re-doing the past. I said, y'know, "Greek temples are anthropomorphic. And three hundred million years before man was fish. If you wanna, if you gotta go back, if you're insecure about going forward, dammit, go back three hundred million years. Why are you stopping at the Greeks?" So I started drawing fish in my sketchbook. and then I started to realize that there was something in it.' Many fish buildings followed. giant-muskie-national-freshwater-fishing-hall-of-fame-hayward-wisconsin But this is not one of them. This giant creature, part of the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame and Museum in Hayward, Wisconsin, is half a city block long, four and a half stories tall, and made of concrete, steel and fiberglass. It's hand-sculpted to look like a muskellunge, or leaping fish, and is called the Shrine to Anglers. Its jaw accommodates 20 people and offers panoramic views of Lake Hayward and the city. How many fish can do that? gagudju-crocodile-holiday-inn-jabiru-kakadu-national-park-australia Here's one that can really only be appreciated from the air. The Gagudju Crocodile Holiday Inn is situated in the heart of the World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park in Australia. Disappointingly, on the inside it looks just like any other Holiday Inn, but how cool to say you spent the night in a crocodile's belly… dog-bark-park-idaho If you've been reading Been-Seen for a while now, you might recognize this pooch, the world largest Beagle. The Dog Bark Park Inn in Cottonwood, Idaho is the only bed and breakfast located inside a dog. There should be more. (And by the way, the chicken pictured top can be found in Marietta, Georgia. But remember, it's just a KFC.) RM

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