Hit the Road To Discover Art Around Minnesota

by | Jul 2024

Babe the Blue Ox at Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd.

Babe the Blue Ox at Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd. Photos: Feroza Mehta

The Ultimate Road Trip Adventure: The Quest for the Largest (Fill In the Blank Here)

Ever since COVID-19, my family has had an obsession with discovering statues that commemorate Minnesota’s Largest or the World’s Largest item. Last summer, we decided to embark on a road trip.

World’s Largest Walleye in Garrison. Although there are several walleye statues across the country, Garrison’s is one of the oldest. Installed in 1980, Wally the Walleye sits on the coast of Mille Lacs. (Yes, there is also a Walleye in Rush City. Like I said, whoever has the largest is all up to contention.)

Babe the Blue Ox at Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd. We arrived an hour before the park closed, so we didn’t get to enjoy all Paul Bunyan Land had to offer. However, we did get to admire Babe the Blue Ox.

Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox in Bemidji. The waterfront is an ideal place to end your day of travel. Take photos with the family at the aforementioned statues and also at the new Bemidji sign. Head on over to Tara for a Thai dinner, and stay overnight in Bemidji. We stayed in Candlewood Suites because it had a kitchen for making tea and quick breakfasts.

Mississippi Headwaters in Itasca State Park. Take a photo by the totem that marks the beginning of the Mississippi River. Cross that river, have lunch at the park’s café, pick up a few sandwiches to go and then get back on the road.

World’s Largest Turkey in Frazee. Big Tom II is a 3-ton, 20-foot-tall statue honoring the Turkey Capital of North America. Frazee’s turkey farms raise tons of turkey meat and millions of eggs a year. We recommend getting photos on all sides of the turkey, as each side has immaculate detail.

Minnesota’s Largest Loon in Vergas. The loon overlooks Long Lake and is a great spot to stop for a late picnic lunch or tea break. We ate the sandwiches we got from the café in Itasca State Park. If you plan your trip in August, make sure to stop by during the town’s Looney Daze celebration.

Minnesota’s Largest Loon in Vergas.

Minnesota’s Largest Loon in Vergas.

Nyberg Sculpture Park in Vining. Plan to explore for at least 45 minutes. Each sculpture is unique in its beauty and meaning. They are created by artist Ken Nyberg. His daughter, Karen Nyberg, is an astronaut. He created one sculpture in her honor. Make sure to stop at the Big Foot, which has become a town landmark. It’s about a block away from the sculpture park.

For a public art tour a bit closer to home, be sure to check out our guide to sculptures in Edina.

Do you have a favorite statue? Have you visited Minnesota’s Largest or World’s Largest ______? Tag us on Instagram @edinamag.


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