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Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox Statues, Bemidji

(130+ reviews on the web)
Historic Site Landmark
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
  • You can see the famous giant statues of Paul Bunyon and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji MN. Walk around the town, gave lunch at Fozzie's and then walk right across the street for this great photo op.  more »
  • My sister and I stopped by to park our car so we could walk along the lake. They have reconfigured the location of the buildings and dramatically changed the landscaping along the lakefront since we g...  more »
  • paul and babe is one of the very cool things about downtown Bemidji. great place to take a picture. and let your little ones play in the nearby park and playground.  more »
Google
  • 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.
  • A decent historical landmark. Worth a very short trip too check it out. As a small kid I remember having a blast in the park and seeing the fiberglass giants. As an adult not as interesting but still nice to visit.
  • Very beautiful park with a nice little gift shop that has something for everyone. The statue of Babe and Paul Bunyan is always a fun and exciting site to see
  • 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.