Skip to Main Content

Tommy Turtle.
Visitors can ascend to a platform at Tommy Turtle's snowmobile windscreen.

Tommy the Turtle

Field review by the editors.

Bottineau, North Dakota

Bottineau is a cluster of tree-lined streets and stores nestled around a railroad track. It's an aberration in the surrounding perfect grid of county roads and Great Plains flatness that extends to the horizon and beyond. It's only a few miles south of the Canadian border. And it's the home of Tommy Turtle.

Tommy Turtle is 30 feet tall. He is the Tallest Turtle in the World and he straddles the Largest Snowmobile in the World, which is 34 feet long. He guards the entrance to Bottineau's municipal tennis courts. He weighs three tons.

Tommy was built by an Idaho man named Boots Reynolds in 1978 and moved here on a couple of flatbed trucks. He is featureless, and looks like the minimalist animals often seen in low-budget Soviet bloc cartoons from the 1960s. His eyes and nostrils are inverted quotation marks. His mouth is a black slit slashing halfway across his head, curving upward into an alien grin. His feet and hands are blobs, dissolving into the handlebars of the snowmobile. His helmet visor resembles Gort's from The Day The Earth Stood Still. His skin is a uniform shade of pea-soup green. In fact, Boots economized by using only six colors of paint on Tommy and his snowmobile: yellow, brown, black, green, red, and silver.

Tommy fans wave.

It may seem odd to have a turtle as a civic symbol up here, in a place where reptiles become blocks of ice nine months out of the year. Tommy supposedly marks "the gateway to the Turtle Mountains," a prime fishing and camping spot, but those mountains were obliterated sometime during the last ice age.

Tommy, mighty turtle of fiberglass, survives.

Tommy the Turtle

City Park

103 S. 11th St., Bottineau, ND
County Road 5 to town. In City Park, east of the town center.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Four Chaplains MemorialFour Chaplains Memorial, Bottineau, ND - < 1 mi.
Iwo Jima Flag Raising in PipesIwo Jima Flag Raising in Pipes, Bottineau, ND - 3 mi.
Mystical Horizons: Century 21 StonehengeMystical Horizons: Century 21 Stonehenge, Bottineau, ND - 10 mi.
In the region:
Geographical Center of North America, Rugby, ND - 38 mi.

More Quirky Attractions in North Dakota

Stories, reports and tips on tourist attractions and odd sights in North Dakota.

Explore Thousands of Unique Roadside Landmarks!

Strange and amusing destinations in the US and Canada are our specialty. Start here.
Use's Attraction Maps to plan your next road trip.

My Sights

My Sights on Roadside America

Map and Plan Your Own Roadside Adventure ...Try My Sights

Mobile Apps

Roadside America app: iPhone, iPad Roadside America app for iPhone, iPad. On-route maps, 1,000s of photos, special research targets! ...More

Roadside Presidents app: iPhone, iPad Roadside Presidents app for iPhone, iPad. POTUS landmarks, oddities. ...More

North Dakota Latest Tips and Stories

Latest Visitor Tips

Sight of the Week

Sight of the Week

Desert Christ Park, Yucca Valley, California (Jul 22-28, 2024)

SotW Archive

USA and Canada Tips and Stories

More Sightings

Favorite Quirky City Sights