Emperor the Penguin
Little America, Wyoming
Little America -- well-known to I-80 travelers as The World's Largest Gas Station -- was named after Admiral Byrd's camp on the South Pole. Opened in 1932 by S.M. Covey, the refueling stop along the Lincoln Highway grew to include scores of gas pumps, a hotel, restaurants and a post office.
The owners wanted Emperor the penguin to be its live mascot, but the penguin died on its way from Antarctica to Boston. Wanting to make the best of a bad deal, Little America had Emperor stuffed and shipped anyway.
You can visit the famous bird in a wide, wood-paneled hallway on the ground floor of the Little America hotel. He stands on a fake block of ice.
Emperor's glass case is inviolable; you'll never see this bird wearing a Santa's cap or a New Year's diaper. In the words of one Little America employee: "The management doesn't allow joviality with the penguin."
As the symbol of the business, a stuffed penguin also stands in the lobby of the hotel in Cheyenne and other Little America properties.