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Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox Statues, Bemidji

Categories: Historic Sites, Landmarks, Tourist Spots
Inspirock Rating:
4.5/5 based on 100+ reviews on the web
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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  • Many a Paul Bunyan statue have I seen, but there is one and only one Babe. All hail the sapphire bovine. 
  • Stopped in Bemidji to see the very tall statues of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox named Babe. Asked another tourist to take our camera and shoot a photo of my wife and I, standing between these giants. T...  read more »
  • Great place to stop and view the lake and there is a nice park there for the kids to play at. New equipment, very clean. 
  • Great place to stop for a quick picture, picnic, or walk while enjoying the view of the lake! KIDS: Sure it's cool to take a picture with Paul and Babe, then play on the playground, see some of the nick nacks in the shop, but after that... well let's just say it would have been nice for the recent remodel of the grounds to have added more... like a giant frying pan... foot prints... or something creatively Paul Bunyan like that. BICYCLING: Good drop spot for biking. The Sanford Center lot is a bit more spacious though. If you do the loop around the lake, BEWARE of "Old 17" on the North Western part of the lake. We took our kids there, and the speeds on the road are quite high to have bikers right on the shoulder.
  • One of Minnesota's great landmark tourist attractions. Get your picture taken with Babe & Paul, then learn more about them in the nearby "museum", which features Bunyan related items. The plaza & parking were renovated in '15/'16, they did a great job!
  • Nice park and lots of neat little shops. Kids the playground. Too bad there isn't a little hill in front of the statue for all the selfie people. That would really help this place out.
  • Good place to stretch your legs if driving through Beijing. Nice playground for the kids. Visited here 30 years ago and was not quite as impressive as I had remembered.
  • Very nice little park. Well maintained and good view of Lake Bemidji.
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