33-Foot-Long Iguana.
Count the scales: all 120,000+ were made by hand.

33-Foot-Long Iguana

Field review by the editors.

Salt Lake City, Utah

Unveiled on Halloween 2017, a hyper-real giant Red Iguana sits in the parking lot of a restaurant of the same name. Sculpted by Utah artist Stephen Kesler, 33 feet long and 13 feet high, it's official name is Xochitonal, the giant iguana guardian of the Aztec underworld.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, restaurant co-owner Bill Coker originally wanted the permanent outdoor iguana to be made of indestructible concrete, but changed his mind and went with fiberglass artist Kesler "because he likes doing realistic animals, not cartoons."

(Note: we feel that large cartoon animals are okay, too, when used appropriately.)

Kesler's devotion to realism meant that the iguana took two years to make, which included laborious hand-sculpting of all 120,000+ of its scales and 80 of its epoxy spines. He had to work in a downtown warehouse because it was the only building with doors big enough to extract the finished piece.

Kesler told us that the mega-lizard was a "crazy project," and said that he was partly motivated to take it on because he really liked the restaurant's food.

33-Foot-Long Iguana.

33-Foot-Long Iguana

866 W. S. Temple, Salt Lake City, UT
Just west of downtown, on the north side of S. Temple just east of its intersection with N 900 W. Set back from the street, in the parking lot of the Red Iguana restaurant.
RA Rates:
Worth a Detour
Save to My Sights

Nearby Offbeat Places

Mormon Church History MuseumMormon Church History Museum, Salt Lake City, UT - 1 mi.
Road Sign Art: You Are HereRoad Sign Art: You Are Here, Salt Lake City, UT - 1 mi.
Statue of Philo Farnsworth, Father of TVStatue of Philo Farnsworth, Father of TV, Salt Lake City, UT - 2 mi.
In the region:
Gilgal Garden, Salt Lake City, UT - 3 mi.

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October 1, 2020

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