Vacation memories: Minnesota Paul Bunyan hunt

Paul Bunyan

One of the Paul Bunyan statues we found on our day of “Paul Bunyan hunting” with our nieces when they were younger

Part of an ongoing series reviewing past trips:

Who would spend most of a day tracking down Paul Bunyan-related statues and attractions in Minnesota including driving almost 50 miles in cold, rainy weather? Aunt Lisa and Uncle Tim. That’s who.

This story goes back a few years. Actually, almost seven years. We spent a week at a lake house near Baxter, Minnesota, with my in-laws. They had two of our nieces with them– Kya and Kaelin, both 8 at the time. Our weeklong stay started with a sunny, yet cool day for mid-July. The girls played in the lake. Their Papa (Lisa’s dad) had planned to rent a boat for the week.

Mother Nature had other plans. Who knew Monday would be the only decent weather day until our last day of the stay? Tuesday brought rain. Breaks in rain allowed the family to do some outdoor stuff in town Wednesday.

Paul Bunyan

Rain on the lake. What to do with two 8-year-old kids who have cabin fever?

Thursday rolled around. Rainy weather was the call of the day. The girls were suffering cabin fever. So, Lisa and I thought it may be fun to take the kids out in search for Paul Bunyan and his ox, Babe. The Brainerd visitors center had a map of several Paul Bunyan attractions. We thought we’d spend a couple of hours and check out a few.

Paul Bunyan

The kids with the Brainerd Paul Bunyan

We found the first one at the Baxter bowling alley. Paul Bunyan was big, but not a giant. The girls enjoyed standing around him and on his feet.

Paul Bunyan

Baxter’s Paul Bunyan

The real fun came at our stop in Brainerd. We checked out Paul Bunyan Land. The amusement park has the world’s largest Paul Bunyan. He greets the visitors (unknown to Kya and Kaelin). Lisa told one of the park employees the girls’ names. As they approached the giant lumberjack, he bellowed, “HELLO Kya. HELLO Kaelin!!” I’ve never seen two kids run as fast as they did away from the guy. It gave Lisa and me a good laugh.

Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan Land has the world’s largest Paul Bunyan statue

After standing underneath Babe the Blue Ox in the parking lot, the girls wanted to see more Paul Bunyan attractions. They wanted to see his girlfriend, Lucette. Lisa and I almost balked, because it was about a 50-minute drive north. The girls got their way, and we headed north to see Lucette.

Paul Bunyan

Babe the Ox

Along the way we stopped at a few more Paul-related attractions on Highway 371. One stop included the girls standing inside some of Paul’s shoes.

Paul Bunyan

These are some big shoes

Kya, Kaelin and I sat in one of Paul’s chairs. These things were huge!

Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan chair

We stopped in Pequot Lakes, home of Paul Bunyan’s fishing bobber. It is so large, it can serve as the town’s water tower.

Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan’s fishing bobber sits atop the water tower in Pequot Lakes

We eventually made our way to Hackensack, home of Lucette. The winds were blowing strong by then. The lake had waves and a lot of white caps. But, that did not stop two determined little girls and I from seeing Lucette.

The 17-foot tall statue is located far enough from the lake, so the kids were safe. Kya, Kaelin and Lisa posed in front of Lucette.

Paul Bunyan

Lisa, Kya and Kaelin with Lucette

On the way home, we stopped in Nisswa and checked out a totem pole. I liked it.

Paul Bunyan

Totem pole

We had a great time spending the day with the nieces in search of all things Paul Bunyan. It was a nice way to get them out of the house and break up the rainy weather. It was a good thing we went that day, as the next day was a downpour from the moment everyone got up until late into the night.

We love looking for off-the-beaten path things to do. And, the search for Paul Bunyan fit that perfectly.

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