Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox, Bemidji

4.5
#1 of 12 in Things to do in Bemidji
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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Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
277 reviews
Google
4.6
TripAdvisor
  • As long as we were there, we had to see Paul and Babe! we wandered around the area and took some pictures. very interesting , especially for kids.  more »
  • Located on the lakes edge in a beautiful little park. Close to downtown. Nice place to let the kids run off some energy.  more »
Google
  • It's been more than thirty years since I was here last. The park that now surrounds these statutes is extraordinary. Clean. Open. Beautiful scenery. And, they even have a visitors center with all the brochures you'd ever want. The fireplace and its history are uniquely amazing. Gary was the employee on duty while we were there. He was personable, relaxed, informative, and helpful. Other than Paul and Babe, Gary was the other star.
  • Very nice. Has been around for decades. The updates are so much nicer than what they originally planned. Thank you for all who spoke out against them and made it a clean nice area! It gives easy access to the bike trail following the waterfront and also easy access to downtown.

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