Discover Minnesota's Roadside Wonders
Minnesota's quirky roadside attractions include a giant ball of twine, a 55-foot-tall Jolly Green Giant and several iterations of everyone's favorite blue ox and lumberman. Hunting down these mythical figures and oddities is the perfect excuse to venture out on a mini road trip and grab some classic photo ops.
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox
These two famous friends are well-represented across northern Minnesota.
• Debuting in 1937 for a winter carnival, Bemidji's 18-foot-high Paul Bunyan, dressed in his signature buffalo plaid shirt and blue jeans, stands proudly beside Babe, his blue pal.
• A talking Paul (from 1954) and Babe (1964) grab attention at Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd.
• An oversized Paul Bunyan kneels outside the Paul Bunyan Historical Museum in Akeley, with one hand low enough for visitors to crawl into.
• Paul's sweetheart, Lucette, has stood as Hackensack's larger-than-life centerpiece since 1950.
Legends and lore surround these figures on display in southern and central Minnesota.
• The Jolly Green Giant: This 55-foot-tall, 8,000-pound green bean was built to lure motorists off Interstate 90 and into the town of Blue Earth.
• Hermann the German: New Ulm's symbol of Teutonic heritage since 1897. The 27-foot-tall, sword-wielding chieftain stands atop a 102-foot-tall monument in Hermann Heights Park; climb spiral stairs for a view with Hermann.
• Big Ole: A 28-foot-tall, helmeted Viking warrior is an artifact of the 1965 New York World's Fair. Today, he symbolizes a theory of early Norse exploration in the Alexandria area.
Big Fish in Small Ponds
These fish are as big as the tales told all across the Land of 10,000 Lakes.
• Minnesota's state fish, the walleye, can be found in larger-than-lake form in Baudette, Garrison, Isle, Rush City and near Lake Kabetogama.
• There's a giant tiger muskie in Nevis and Bena, a Northern Pike in Deer River and a trout in Preston.
• Madison, the self-proclaimed Lutefisk Capital of the USA, boasts a giant cod named Lou T. Fisk.
Find these (possibly) record-setting everyday items within an hour's drive of the Twin Cities.
• The small town of Darwin preserves Francis A. Johnson's masterpiece: what's billed as the World's Largest Ball of Twine Rolled by One Man. It took Johnson 29 years to construct the 9-ton, 12-foot-wide ball, housed in a glass-sided enclosure. (A larger twine ball sits in Cawker City, Kansas, but it was created by more than one person.)
• A size 638-D leather boot, crafted for the centennial of the Red Wing Shoe Company in 2005, stars at the Red Wing Shoe Museum in Red Wing. The boot weighs over a ton.
• Minnesota's Largest Candy Store, in Jordan, claims to have the "World's Largest Soda Selection" with 155 varieties of root beer alone.