Welcome to the Ocean State! If you think tiny Rhode Island’s state symbols are a yawn, guess again. The Ocean State is the only state besides Delaware whose state bird is a chicken (the Rhode Island Red). It is the only state whose symbols include a seal (the harbor seal). (Continued below)
|Nicknames & Slogans|
|Nicknames||The Ocean State, The Smallest State, Plantation State, Little Rhody||1971|
|Symbols of State|
|Song||Rhode Island’s It For Me||1996||>|
|Flower||violet (Viola sororia)||2001||>|
|Tree||red maple (Acer rubrum)||1964||>|
|Fruit||greening apple (Malus)||1991||>|
|Bird||Rhode Island Red (Gallus gallus)||1954||>|
|Marine Mammal||harbor seal (Phoca vitulina)||2016||>|
|Fish||striped bass (Morone saxatilis)||2000||>|
|Insect||American burying beetle (Nicrophorus americanus)||2015||>|
|Shell||quahaug (Mercenaria mercenaria)||1987||>|
|Coral||northern star coral (Astrangia poculata)||2021||>|
|Flagship & Tall Ship Ambassador||Replica of the Continental sailing vessel known as “Providence”||1992||>|
|Sailing Educational Vessel||SSV Oliver Hazard Perry||2013||>|
|Folk Art||The Charles I.D. Looff Carousel (also known as the Crescent Park Carousel)||1985||>|
While New Mexico’s tarantula hawk wasp is a tough act to follow, Rhode Islanders shot back by adopting the American burying beetle. Far more appetizing is calamari, the official state appetizer.
Just for fun, take a ride on the Charles I.D. Looff Carousel, adopted as the official folk art. Who would have thought that a New England state would become the only state other than Hawaii to adopt a living coral as a state symbol?
Rhode Island is one of just two states with an official motto consisting of just four letters—“HOPE.” It also boasts one of the more attractive state flags.
If you think state flags and flowers are nothing more than trivia, guess again. A thorough exploration of the more than 1,500 items adopted as state symbols embraces geography, history, and psychology.
You have found the best state symbols website, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. The introduction above is adapted from Geobop’s State Symbols and My State Symbols Book, by far the biggest and most detailed state symbols references ever. You can learn still more about the symbols of the 50 states in the books Flag Quest and Grading the States. (Learn more about them here.)
After you spend some time exploring your favorite state’s symbols, you can come back here and tell us what you think about them.