15 Places With Adorable Animal Ambassadors

A certain location can bring to mind any number of things — a particular monument, a beach, a person, an attitude. Even animals have the power to evoke a country or destination. Here are 15 creatures that are inextricably linked to a place.

Photos

National Finals Rodeo

National Finals Rodeo

A cowboy casts a cool look during the National Finals Rodeo, popularly known as the “Super Bowl of rodeo.” The 10-day event, held each year in Las Vegas, determines the world champ in 7 main events, including bareback riding, steer wrestling and team roping.

When to go: First full week of December
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PRCA ProRodeo Photo/Tom Donoghue  

Caldwell Night Rodeo

Caldwell Night Rodeo

The cowboys are the stars at this annual 5-day rodeo event. Held in the Boise metro area, Caldwell Night Rodeo draws crowds of more than 40,000 people, eager to see the big draw: many of the world’s top professional cowboys who make Caldwell Night Rodeo an annual stop on their circuit.

When to go: Mid-August
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CNR/Jim Babb  

Pendleton Round-Up

Pendleton Round-Up

Ready for some bulldogging? A cowboy reaches for a steer’s horns at the Pendleton Round-Up, one of the 10 largest rodeos in the world. Started in 1910, the annual rodeo event draws crowds of 50,000 to Pendleton, OR, where the town’s motto is, “The Real West.”

When to go: Mid-September
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William Mancebo  

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo

Dodge City Roundup Rodeo

Western heritage -- and big bucks -- draw championship cowboys and cowgirls to the annual Dodge City Roundup. Since its start in 1977, the 10-day event has grown to include a payout of nearly $254,000, alongside an audience of more than 100,000 people.

When to go: Late July to early August
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Kansas Tourism  

Cheyenne Frontier Days

Cheyenne Frontier Days

The granddaddy of rodeo events, Cheyenne Frontier Days has been held in its namesake Wyoming town since 1897. The outdoor rodeo and western celebration features hundreds of horses performing rodeo events and track acts. The annual event draws nearly 200,000 people, with a whopping 100,000 free pancakes served by the local Kiwanis club.

When to go: Last full week of July
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William Mancebo, Getty Images  

Ellensburg Rodeo

Ellensburg Rodeo

After more than 75 years, the Ellensburg Rodeo in Washington State has grown from a local competition among ranch hands to a leading rodeo festival: More than 600 contestants vie for prize money in excess of $400,000. In the Pacific Northwest, the rodeo is second in size only to the Calgary Stampede in Alberta, Canada.

When to go: Labor Day weekend
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Debra Feinman, iStock  

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo

Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo

For 23 heart-pounding days, the annual Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo puts on quite a show at the Will Rogers Memorial Center. The annual event, which draws a crowd of 900,000, showcases the world’s original indoor rodeo, with 36 performances of professional rodeo on display, such as calf roping.

When to go: Mid-January to early February
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Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau  

Nebraskaland Days

Nebraskaland Days

Wild West showman Buffalo Bill considered North Platte, NE, his hometown, and went on to found modern-day rodeo in the city. Today, the legacy continues with Nebraskaland Days: The largest rodeo event in western Nebraska showcases parades, art shows, concerts, food events and, of course, rodeos.

When to go: Mid-June
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George Hipple Photography  

Yellowstone Rodeo

Yellowstone Rodeo

Exciting rodeo action mixes with stunning mountain sunsets at the annual Yellowstone Rodeo in southwestern Montana. The annual event showcases the big rodeo draws -- including bareback bronc riding, bull riding, team roping and saddle broc riding -- as well as a “calf scramble” event in which kids can safely compete.

When to go: June through early September
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William Campbell, Getty Images  

National Western Stock Show

National Western Stock Show

Now in its 106th year, the National Western Stock Show in Denver spans 16 days, and a 100-acre show ground home to the second largest rodeo in the United States. Hands-on animal exhibits feature 15,000 head of horses, cattle, sheep, alpacas, llamas and more -- plus, a chance for the little ones to go giddy-up.

When to go: Last 2 weeks in January
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National Western Stock Show  

RodeoHouston

RodeoHouston

For the world’s largest live entertainment and livestock show, head to Houston’s Reliant Stadium. In 2012, this massive 1,900,000-square-foot facility hosted the annual Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo -- and a whole lot of animals: 26,305 livestock and horse show exhibitors competed for a shot at a Houston championship.

When to go: Late February to mid-March
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Matthew Ashton/AMA, Getty Images  

Reno Rodeo

Reno Rodeo

Billed as the “wildest, richest rodeo in the West,” the Reno Rodeo spans 10 days and attracts more than 140,000 fans. Events include a Miss Reno Rodeo Queen pageant, cattle drive, carnival rides and the Xtreme Bull Riding Tour stop, featuring 40 of the world’s best pro bull riders.

When to go: Late June
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Courtesy of Reno Rodeo  

Florence Junior Parada

Florence Junior Parada

The world’s oldest continuous junior rodeo finds its home in Florence, AZ. Eighty years since its start, the annual Florence Junior Parada rodeo draws hundreds of future PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assocation) cowboys and cowgirls, ages 5 to 18, to compete in rodeo events such as team roping, breakaway roping and even bull riding.

When to go: Late November
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Jim Heet Photography  

Yaki Point

Yaki Point

Within the Grand Canyon take in the view from Yaki Point. From an elevation of 7,000 feet, you’ll see the rocky terrain dotted with pinyon pines and junipers -- trees with nuts that sustain wildlife such as deer, squirrels, ringtail and birds. 960 1280

Thinkstock  

South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail

The South Kaibab Trail leads to the Colorado River. Along with the Bright Angel Trail, the path provides a direct route to the bottom of the canyon. But with minimal shade, be sure to bring plenty of water and sun protection. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Mather Point

Mather Point

It took 6 million years for water to carve out the Grand Canyon. Get an expansive view of this handiwork at Mather Point -- where vibrant, ancient rock layers await, stretching back 1.7 billion years.  960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Tusayan Museum

Tusayan Museum

For nearly a millennia, Native American peoples have regarded the Grand Canyon as a sacred place. Visit the Tusayan Museum for a look into Pueblo Indian life at the canyon 800 years ago. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Yavapai Observation Station

Yavapai Observation Station

Without a power plant in sight, the Grand Canyon is home to some of the cleanest air in America. Check out an air quality monitoring stand, located outside the Yavapai Observation Station (pictured here).  960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Shiva Temple

Shiva Temple

See that broad, flat-topped plateau off in the distance? That’s Shiva Temple, a mesa about 1 mile long, with an area of about 300 acres. It’s located near the canyon’s North Rim. 960 1280

Pippawilson, flickr  

Kolb Studio

Kolb Studio

At the edge of Grand Canyon you’ll find Kolb Studio -- in the early 1900s, it was the home and photographic studio of outdoorsmen Emery and Ellsworth Kolb. Today, an art gallery operates inside the building, showcasing artwork from the canyon. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Bright Angel Lodge

Bright Angel Lodge

Bright Angel Lodge was built in 1935 to accommodate the increasing numbers of visitors coming to the canyon via train. The lodge’s rustic architecture of logs and stone was conceived by American architect Mary Colter. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Mule Corral

Mule Corral

These little guys -- call them “long-eared taxis” -- will take you on a cliff-hugging trip through the Grand Canyon. But relax, each mule goes through 1 year of training before it’s ever allowed to carry any passengers.  960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Trailview Overlook

Trailview Overlook

From Trailview Overlook you can look down at Bright Angel Trail -- the main route used for centuries to enter and leave the Grand Canyon. 960 1280

Rosa Say, flickr  

Trail of Time

Trail of Time

Discover the Grand Canyon’s geologic splendor. Take the Trail of Time, a nearly 3-mile-long interpretive walking trail, to peel back the pages of time -- as told through the landscape’s many rock layers. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Hopi House

Hopi House

Architect Mary Colter designed Hopi House in 1905. Today, this Pueblo-style building is the Grand Canyon’s largest gift store; it features a large selection of authentic Native American art and craftwork. The building is located in Grand Canyon Village on the South Rim of the Grand Canyon. 960 1280

Al_HikesAZ, flickr  

Grand Canyon Depot

Grand Canyon Depot

Also within Grand Canyon Village: the Grand Canyon Depot -- one of 3 remaining railroad depots in the US built with logs. The depot opened in 1910, courtesy of Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway -- one of the largest railroads in the US at the time. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Roaring Springs

Roaring Springs

Nearly 5 miles down the Grand Canyon’s North Kaibab Trail you’ll find Roaring Springs. It’s one of several underground water supplies within the Grand Canyon. Listen closely … and hear the roar. 960 1280

Grand Canyon NPS, flickr  

Night Skies

Night Skies

Get out your telescope: The Grand Canyon offers prime nighttime skies for observing stars. Without a telephone pole or electric wire in sight, it’s just the starry skies above … and an awe-inspiring feeling within. 960 1280

Justin Kern, flickr  

Grand Canyon Skywalk

Grand Canyon Skywalk

And for the ultimate view, you’ve got to experience Grand Canyon Skywalk: this glass bridge walkway offers a jaw-dropping 4,000-foot-high view of the Grand Canyon’s floor. 960 1280

Getty Images  

Crown Fountain, Chicago

Crown Fountain, Chicago

Designed by Jaume Plensa, the Crown Fountain in Chicago's Millennium Park consists of two 50-foot glass brick towers facing each other across a black granite plaza. LED screens project the faces of smiling Chicago residents who take turns spurting water into the 1/8th-inch deep reflecting pool. 960 1280

City of Chicago  

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, Missouri

Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park, Missouri

Play in the shallows of the East Fork of the Black River or shoot through "Mother Nature's hydraulics" in the natural swimming holes at Johnson's Shut-Ins State Park in Middle Brook, Mo. 960 1280

Missouri Division of Tourism  

Ohiopyle State Park, Pa.

Ohiopyle State Park, Pa.

Cool off on the natural waterslides, courtesy of Mother Nature, the Youghiogheny River Gorge and thousands of years of erosion. 960 1280

Stockphoto.com/Aimintang  

Central Park, NY

Central Park, NY

Who says you can't keep cool in the city? Park yourself alongside the Bethesda Fountain in Central park or take to the Lake in a rented rowboat from Loeb’s boathouse. 960 1280

Jen Davis  

Robert H. Treman State Park, NY

Robert H. Treman State Park, NY

Take a dip in the stream-fed pool beneath the 115-foot Lucifer Falls, at Robert H. Treman State Park in the Finger Lakes. 960 1280

Aimin Tang/iStock/Getty Images  

Noah's Ark Water Park, Wis.

Noah's Ark Water Park, Wis.

Families visiting Noah's Ark, America's largest water park, have more than 51 exhilirating slides and two giant wave pools from which to choose. 960 1280

Noah's Ark  

Blue Hole Regional Park, Texas

Blue Hole Regional Park, Texas

Picture yourself plunging into Blue Hole from a rope swing... This good ol' fashioned Texas swimming hole became a 126-acre regional park in 2005. 960 1280

Robert Thigpen  

Delaware River, NJ

Delaware River, NJ

Flowing for 330 miles from New York through Pensylvannia, families typically float down the Delaware River from Frenchtown, NJ, where they rent tubes, canoes, kayaks or rafts. 960 1280

William Thomas Cain/Hulton Archive/Getty Images  

Schlitterbahn Water Park, Texas

Schlitterbahn Water Park, Texas

Opened in the heart of Texas Hill Country in 1966, Schlitterbahn now has bragging rights to the world's tallest water slide, Verrückt. However, it hasn’t sacrificed its family-first atmosphere, such as allowing visitors to bring their own picnics into the park. 960 1280

Schlitterbahn Waterparks and Resorts  

Lareau Swimming Hole, Vt.

Lareau Swimming Hole, Vt.

Cool, green water from the Mad River flows into deep ponds and gentle rapids at Lareau Swim Hole. With multiple depths, it's a popular spot for all ages, easily accessible from Waitsfield, Vt. 960 1280

Doug Kerr  

Wet 'n Wild Water Park, Orlando, Fla.

Wet 'n Wild Water Park, Orlando, Fla.

Minutes from Universal Orlando, Wet 'n Wild has the requisite lazy river and wave pool expected of any water park worth its salt. New thrill rides, like the Aqua Drag Racer where visitors can go head-to-head in four lanes of high-speed slides, attract thrill-seeking crowds. 960 1280

Wet ’n Wild Orlando  

Waterfalls, Hawaii

Waterfalls, Hawaii

From Maui to Kauai to O'ahu, Hawaii boasts plenty of hiking trails to explore. Once you reach the end of the trail, take a dip in one of the cool, refreshing swimming holes before heading back down the mountain. 960 1280

Hawaii Tourism Authority/Tor Johnson   

Brownstone Park, Conn.

Brownstone Park, Conn.

This adventure center in Portland, Conn., provides an adrenaline-pumping plunge into the water from a zip line. Spend the rest of the day rock climbing, cliff jumping, swimming, kayaking and more. 960 1280

Brownstone Exploration & Discovery Park  

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