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Bemidji is best known for its two statues on the shores of Lake Bemidji – an 18-foot-tall, 2.5-ton statue of Paul Bunyan, the legendary lumberjack who cut down most of Minnesota’s trees, and his blue ox, Babe. But after taking the mandatory photo of the kids standing in front of Paul and Babe, Bemidji visitors find a variety of other attractions – several of them named after Bunyan. Lions, tigers, camels, kangaroos and cougars plus dozens of other animals live at Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land on Highway 2. At the Headwaters Science Center, kids of all ages can interact with 40 hands-on exhibits including Whisper Dish (a large dish that focuses ...

Bemidji is best known for its two statues on the shores of Lake Bemidji – an 18-foot-tall, 2.5-ton statue of Paul Bunyan, the legendary lumberjack who cut down most of Minnesota’s trees, and his blue ox, Babe. But after taking the mandatory photo of the kids standing in front of Paul and Babe, Bemidji visitors find a variety of other attractions – several of them named after Bunyan. Lions, tigers, camels, kangaroos and cougars plus dozens of other animals live at Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land on Highway 2. At the Headwaters Science Center, kids of all ages can interact with 40 hands-on exhibits including Whisper Dish (a large dish that focuses sound and allows a whisper to be heard across the room), Batting Cage (measures the speed of balls thrown) and Junkssaurus (a dinosaur made entirely from junk). Shopping at a woolen mill established in 1921, an Art Walk, covered wagon rides and the Great Northern Depot Museum are other attractions. And since several firms rent boats and pontoons, sightseeing or fishing for walleyes provides other recreation options. A favorite hiking spot, Lake Bemidji State Park, five miles from the city on the north shore of the lake, is a natural for nature lovers. Evening entertainment includes productions at the Paul Bunyan Playhouse, now in its 59th season and longest continually operating summer repertory in the USA.

Connie Emerson
About the Expert

Connie Emerson is the author of more than a dozen books, including The Cheapskate's Guide to Branson, Missouri and Eyewitness Top Ten Travel Guide – Las Vegas.

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Connie Emerson for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    May through September