HADDONFIELD, NJ (CBS) – A much beloved landmark is getting national recognition.

USA Today’s Best of Philadelphia recently named Haddonfield’s “Haddy” the dinosaur a hidden gem in its “Best of South Jersey” section.

The eight-foot high statue might be unfamiliar to out-of-towners, but the bronze Hadrosaurus Foulkii has been holding court near Kings Highway for over nine years.

Designed by sculptor John Giannotti, a Haddonfield resident, Haddy was unveiled back in 2003 and commemorates the discovery of the first dinosaur skeleton in 1858, near the spot where the sculpture now stands.

“Haddy is much loved in Downtown Haddonfield by our residents, business owners and visitors alike. Rarely a day goes by when I don’t see someone taking photos with her – she serves us well as a tourist attraction and an icon for the town of Haddonfield,” said Arlene Fiorilli, Director of the Haddonfield Information Center.

While Giannotti was working on constructing Haddy, he invited local school children from the area to see the sculpture in progress, and each child was allowed to place a bit of clay on the full-size model.

And it’s Haddy’s connection to the community that, Giannotti says, is truly special.

“It became a true community project,” Giannotti recalls. “I still hear about these children, now nearly grown, who come to visit the sculpture and point to the spot where they put their piece of clay…I have completed many public sculptures in a number of countries around the world, but the sculpture of Haddy stands out in my mind as the one that truly has become part of its community as a landmark.”

For more, visit: http://onlinestore.usatoday.com/best-of-philadelphia-p16677.aspx

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