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Best Roadside Attractions In Minnesota, Part 2

July 18, 2011 10:30 AM

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Reporting Mike Binkley

Mike Binkley knows a thing or two about roadside attractions. It’s his job, after all, to find the best of Minnesota for his bi-monthly “Finding Minnesota” reports. Check out a few of his favorite attractions below.

lou t Best Roadside Attractions In Minnesota, Part 2

(credit: CBS)

Lou T. Fisk

Highway 75
Madison, MN 56256

While others might recoil at the sight of a lutefisk dinner, the Scandinavian town of Madison is quite proud to call itself “Lutefisk Capital USA.” As a symbol of that pride, Lou T. Fisk, the 25-foot fiberglass cod stands tall in J.F. Jacobson Park.

big ole Best Roadside Attractions In Minnesota, Part 2

(credit: CBS)

Big Ole

North end of Broadway Street
Alexandria, MN 56308

Along the shore of Lake Agnes stands what may be the worldʼs
largest Viking. Big Ole is a 28-foot symbol of Nordic pride in this area. His shield reads “Birthplace of America,” a nod to those who believe the Vikings were actually the first non-natives to reach America.

big fish Best Roadside Attractions In Minnesota, Part 2

(credit: Big Fish Supper Club)

Big Fish

456 U.S. Highway 2
Bena, MN 56626

Down the road from Lake Winnibigoshish, one of the top fishing lakes in Minnesota, is a 65-foot muskie. It appeared in the opening credits of National Lampoonʼs 1983 movie, “Vacation.” Newly-restored in 2010, it sits next to the Big Fish Supper Club.

snowman Best Roadside Attractions In Minnesota, Part 2

(credit: MN Historical Society)

World’s Largest Stucco Snowman

Highway 36 and Margaret Street
North St. Paul, MN 55109

Whether it’s 10 below zero or 90 and humid, the city of North St. Paul always has a friendly snowman to greet visitors. He has been around since the early 1970s, when the city’s annual Sno-Daze celebration was hampered by a few winters with little snow.

big foot Best Roadside Attractions In Minnesota, Part 2

(credit: CBS)

Big Foot

6001 East Front St.
Vining, MN 56588

Throughout the small town of Vining are giant statues of animals, humans and a few unexplainable combinations, such as a cockroach climbing on a huge pair of pliers. They all come from the imagination — and the metal shop — of Ken Nyberg, the father of astronaut Karen Nyberg.

hermann the german Best Roadside Attractions In Minnesota, Part 2

(credit: Hermann Monument Society)

Hermann The German

10 Monument St.
New Ulm, MN 56073

Overlooking the German city of New Ulm, sword held high, is a 32-foot statue of Hermann, a conquering war hero from German folklore. It is the third largest copperclad statue in the country (the Statue of Liberty is the largest). German settlers who faced anti-immigration persecution in the late 1800s commissioned the statue as a unifying symbol.

Otto The Big Otter

(credit: CBS)

Otto The Big Otter

Adams Park
South Burlington Avenue
Fergus Falls, MN 56537

Built by high school students in 1972, Otto has become part of the childhood experience for generations of kids in Fergus Falls. He is 40 feet long and overlooks Grotto Lake in Adams Park. Tom Willett’s machine shop class took on the project as a centennial gift to the city, but when things started going awry, a local metal artist, Steve Jaenisch, helped get it back on course. They were profiled by WCCO in June of 2011.

Big Leaping Deer

(credit: CBS)

Big Leaping Deer

Elmer Park
Along Highway 6
Deerwood, MN 56444

Located in the Cuyuna mining region, Deerwood is a small town with a very big deer as its mascot. We’re told the big guy gets outfitted in blaze orange during hunting season, and a red nose before Christmas.

Babe the Blue Ox

(credit: CBS)

Babe the Blue Ox & Talking Paul Bunyan

Paul Bunyan Land
17553 State Highway 18
Brainerd, MN 56401

Those who haven’t seen Babe in awhile will notice how much “beefier” he looks since a recent makeover. Babe can be found in the parking lot of Paul Bunyan Land. It’s free to wander up and have your picture taken. But those who want to chat with his master, Paul, will have to pay admission. Incidentally, many people are apparently under the impression that Talking Paul is gone forever. Not true. He’s just moved a little bit farther east of Brainerd. He still has the uncanny ability to recite the names of the children who have registered at the front desk.

Babe the Blue Ox

(credit: CBS)

World’s Largest Corn Cob Statue

Memorial Park
Highway 212 –- west end of town
Olivia, MN 56277

As the official “corn capital of the world” as designated by the Minnesota legislature, Olivia takes its crop seriously. But as evidenced by the 25-foot fiberglass corn cob in Memorial Park and the annual Corn Capital Days Festival at the end of the July, the town has fun with it too. We featured the festival on Finding Minnesota.

Mike Binkley has spent more than two decades covering news in the Twin Cities. Catch his bimonthly stories exploring the highlights of the state in Finding Minnesota.

View Comments
  • we

    What about the giant chicken in Two Harbers?

    • Mike Binkley

      It takes awhile to get to all the roadside attractions, but Two Harbors is on my list. I may get there in the next couple of weeks.

    • Kyle

      I’m fairly sure it’s a rooster…..not that it really matters

      • THE BURNER

        Its chicken a rooster. A male CHICKEN is a rooster a female Chicken is a hen!!They are both CHICKENS.

    • bryce

      wally the walleye outside INternational Falls

  • Polar Pride

    Gotta love the North St Paul snowman…..just wish he still played music.

  • Claudette Lyng

    You need to go see the fish Lou T. It is a great small town with great golfing and eating. The best broasted chicken at DeTOys, After Five Supper Club great steak and fun, and local bar not sure of name good times.

  • TW

    What, no love for the twine ball? Is there a reason why an object that took the qualities of commitment, stubbornness, thriftiness and persistence was not included? These traits are as Minnesotan as anything could be. The man dedicated his life to keeping twine in a ball for criminy sakes!! He was a genius of fiber re-purposing. Maybe you should have a category for MN attractions that are meteoric achievements best highlighting the qualities of a TRUE MINNESOTAN.

  • sam

    TW, this is Part 2 of Mike’s story. Perhaps the Twine Ball was already featured.

    • TW

      Well I hope so because the Twine Ball should be in it’s own category right there with the Gateway Arch and Mt. Rushmore. It is the perfection combination of OCD effort, American can do attitude and mindless thrift. Someday maybe my collection of paper clip art will be noticed by someone. The letter writing continues….

  • Mike Binkley

    Here you go, TW. Another writer beat me to the Twine Ball.

    • TW

      Ha ha, thanks for the link. Now I know the Good Neighbor is not the Twine Ball Hater Axis of Evil. I will call the Twine Ball Anti-Defamation League and let them know to stop the letter campaign before it is to late. jk

  • Pat Jasmer Redepenning

    Lou is the champ of Madison, come see us in the beginning of Nov. the city will have of cours the famed lutefisk eating championship ( you can enter), a talent show, Norwegian delicacies, outhouse races, huge craft show, Enjoy dining on lutefisk, clube (sp), meatballs & turkey for the faint at heart. So many things going on you won’t have time to wonder what happens on a Saturday night in a small town!

    • Pat Jasmer Redepenning

      oops. that should say “of course”

  • Liz Fenner

    Paul Bunyon Land in Brainerd is the BIGGEST WASTE OF YOUR MONEY. My family was there in the summer of 2005 and will never go back there. There is not one thing there that I can say is worth the visit. It was a waste of more than $50.00.

  • beingzhenya

    That snowman has been kind of bothering me ever since I started coming here. It’s so weird seeing it in the summer time. I guess I will just have to wait until they move him to the place where he really belongs – the North Pole, or Russia!

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