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Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox Statues, Bemidji

4.4
#2 of 7 in Things to do in Bemidji
Monument Historic Site
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox are the names of a pair of large statues of the American folk hero Paul Bunyan and his ox, located in Bemidji, Minnesota. This roadside attraction has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1988. Much like the architecture found in such structures as the Benewah Milk Bottle, the Teapot Dome Service Station or the comparably colossal Dinosaur Park sculptures in South Dakota, it served to attract the attention of motorists passing by and coincided with the dramatic rise in the popularity of automobiles.The statues have been hailed by the Kodak Company as the "second most photographed statues in the United States", behind only Mount Rushmore in South Dakota.HistoryThe city of Bemidji is located in a vast woodland and lake region. As early as the 1890s the town saw a modest tourist trade. When rail connections came to Bemidji, in 1898, promoters began the development of lakeshore sites for cottages, hotels and resorts. Most of these resorts catered to hunters and anglers. In the 1920s the rise in automobile popularity contributed to a significant boom in Bemidji's tourist industry, but it, along with the rest of the economy, suffered during the Great Depression. Enter Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox.As a means of stimulating tourism in Bemidji a number of local, civic organizations sponsored a winter carnival meant to hype the city's resources for winter sports. Due to Bemidji's once prominent status as a logging and lumbering center the celebrations focused on Paul Bunyan, the larger-than life lumberjack who is an American folk hero. On January 14, 1937 the carnival opened with Earl L. Grinols, Sr. the carnival king. The onset of the carnival brought the unveiling of two giant statues, one of Bunyan and the other of his giant blue ox, Babe; the pair would serve as carnival mascots. Babe was brought into town on a Grinols Implement & Fuel Co. truck arranged so that its exhaust exited through Babe's nostrils.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor Traveler Rating
158 reviews
Google
4.5
  • Our 9 year old enjoyed the statues! It was very pretty along the lake! There was too much road construction when we were there, so couldn't enjoy too much walking around. But that is to be expected du...  more »
  • I love Bemidji! The statues are so iconic and definitely a must do photo op! Right in front of Lake Bemidji you can't go wrong.  more »
  • Babe and Paul Bunyan sit on the shore of beautiful Lake Bemidji. Just had guests from Argentina and went for photos there. About one block walk up the hill north is the statue of Chief Bemidji. Very n...  more »
Google
  • That's a HUGE dude! Been hangin with Paul and Babe for over half a century. Used to be a wonderful amusement park here. You could rent little paddle boats and cruse the lake. Sadly all gone. The park is nice and the statues remain. Amazingly enough, Paul and Babe are the most photographed Folk Heroes on the planet. They even have a 24/7 web cam. They aren't the prettiest statues ever created but they are ours and we love them. They are Northern Minnesota Legend.
  • Nice trails for biking and walking dogs. Lots of space to relax. Statues are neat.
  • Very good, lots of things to see, great view of the lake! Just note that they close at 4 pm on Saturdays.
  • Great historical land mark, been here as long as I can remember. I hope one day to bring my kids to see this.
  • A familiar landmark, great for taking vacation pictures or for proving that you were in Bemidji, if you need that sort of thing.

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