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South Burlington, Vermont: Whale Tails

Two 13-foot-tall whale tails, made of granite, stick out of the ground next to the interstate.

I-89, South Burlington, VT
North side of I-89, roughly midway between exit 12 (Hwy 2A/St Georges Rd) and exit 13 (I-189).
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Visitor Tips and News About Whale Tails

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Whales' Tails

I am a resident of South Burlington, and elementary school science teacher. I want to clear up the "out of place-ness" of these Whales' Tails.

Once upon a time, what is now Lake Champlain was the Champlain Sea, and was home to many large animals, including whales. Evidence was found of this in fossils, and the famous Charlotte Whale (found in nearby Charlotte). Homage to the Champlain Sea was not the impetus for acquiring the sculpture, necessarily, but it does explain why they are not quite so out of place as one might first believe.

Enjoy, and welcome to Vermont!

[Annalisa Parent, 07/22/2008]

Whale Tails sculpture.

Whale Tails

Whale Tails are still along the interstate just outside of Burlington, VT. It is quite a sight to see. You can't miss them!

[Jen, 08/13/2007]

Whale's Tails.

Whale Tails

The name of the whale tails sculpture is "Reverence" and is meant to symbolize the fragility of the planet -- that is, if you think of granite as fragile. It was commissioned in 1988 by a wealthy British metals trader named David Threlkeld, who lived in Randolph at the time. Jim Sardonis sculpted each of the two 13-foot high tails from six tons of black granite. The tails resided in Randolph beginning in 1989 and were to have been placed in front of a motel and conference complex planned by Threlkeld, but financing fell through and Threlkeld split for Arizona. The tails were offered up for sale with a price tag of $100,000. New Bedford, MA was considering it for awhile, and a sale to the Hartford Whalers hockey team seemed possible until the team moved and changed its name, but the tails eventually found their way to their present location beside Rte 89 outside Burlington.

[Christopher Scott Martin, 06/21/2000]
Whale Tails

The 12 foot high hand sculpted solid black marble Whale tails have just been moved to South of Burlington, best seen from interstate 89. Sculpter is Jim Sardonis of Randolph.

[anon., 09/25/1999]
Whale Tails

There is a sculpture of a whale's tail on a hillside overlooking Randolph, Vermont. It can be seen from Interstate highway 89 and Route 66, across from the McDonald's. It's a little out of place don't you think?? It has been there since I moved here in 1988.

[Cindy Fuller, 11/20/1997]

Nearby Offbeat Places

Bizarre Memorial ParkBizarre Memorial Park, Burlington, VT - 3 mi.
World's Tallest File CabinetWorld's Tallest File Cabinet, Burlington, VT - 4 mi.
Earth Clock: Mini-StonehengeEarth Clock: Mini-Stonehenge, Burlington, VT - 4 mi.
In the region:
Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour and Flavor Graveyard, Waterbury, VT - 21 mi.

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