Trip Planner: USA / Illinois / Wilmington / Gemini Giant
The Gemini Giant is a landmark statue on U.S. Route 66 at the eastern entrance to Wilmington, Will County, Illinois. Standing outside the Launching Pad drive-in restaurant, the 30 foot tall statue is one of many giant "Muffler Man" advertising props found throughout the US in the Sixties. The Gemini Giant is named after the Gemini space program and holds a silver "rocket ship" in his hands, while sporting an astronaut's space helmet that resembles a welding mask.It couldn't be easier to arrange your visit to Gemini Giant and many more Wilmington attractions: make an itinerary online using Inspirock's Wilmington trip itinerary maker app.
The proprietors of a Dari-Delight restaurant (opened in 1960), John and Bernice Korelc, bought a 438-pound fiberglass Muffler Man figure for $3,500 at the annual National Restaurant Association convention, had it outfitted as an astronaut with helmet and rocket, and renamed the restaurant, now guarded by the Gemini Giant, as the "Launching Pad". Since then, the Giant has been the most prominent decoration of the restaurant.
In 2007, the Launching Pad was purchased from Jerry and Sharon Gatties, the owners at the time, by Morey Szczecin, but, after a struggle, the landmark closed again in 2010. In October 2017, it was purchased by Holly Barker and Tully Garrett, who announced plans to restore it "to what it was in its glory days," with the Gemini Giant remaining as a recognized Route 66 landmark.
Both the Launching Pad and the Gemini Giant were inducted into the Illinois Route 66 Hall of Fame in 2000.
Gemini Giant reviews
You can't miss it... it's pretty much the first Route 66 attraction that you get to after leaving Chicago. The Giant is in the carpark of the Launching Pad diner, so is easy to spot. The diner was...
You can't miss it... it's pretty much the first Route 66 attraction that you get to after leaving Chicago. The Giant is in the carpark of the Launching Pad diner, so is easy to spot. The diner was... more »
The "Gemini Giant" in Wilmington, Illinois is well worth seeing. This 20 foot tall fibre glass statue is one of as a bunch of these giant statues known as "Muffler Men" scattered along Route 66...
The "Gemini Giant" in Wilmington, Illinois is well worth seeing. This 20 foot tall fibre glass statue is one of as a bunch of these giant statues known as "Muffler Men" scattered along Route 66... more »
Not sure what happened to the poor Gemini Man, someone parked there car all the way to the feet of the Gemini Man and had its bonnet strung with wire and smoke coming coming out of it. It was a very weird experience as the whole parking lot of empty and this car is parked onto the statue. Irrespective of that I was happy I touched a part of famous Route 66.
The Launching Pad is a great place to stop along a Route 66 adventure. The owners are very friendly and full of information. I couldn't resist getting a Gemini Giant bobblehead, but they also have plenty of other souvenirs. You can also buy snacks and ice cream, as well as bottled "Route 66" beverages.
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