5 Fun Outdoor Statues and Sculptures in Minnesota: Paul Bunyan, Linus and The Jolly Green Giant
Outdoor statues and sculptures dot the landscape of our country. Whether you're passing through on a roadtrip or staying awhile, check out these quirky pieces that capture what's unique about Minnesota.
Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox – Bemidji, 1937
Located in northern Minnesota, up where the Mississippi River begins, these 18 feet tall statues were built for Bemidji’s first Paul Bunyan Winter Carnival, held in January, 1937.
Legend says the giant lumberjack floated logs down the Mississippi River with a pitchfork to build Midwestern river towns. Some say Paul & Babe's footprints carved out Minnesota's 10,000 lakes while they were lost in a blizzard. Larger than life folk tales and the whimsical retro design keep people coming to see this duo found on the banks of Lake Bemidji, up in the north woods.
Where to find the Paul Bunyon statue in Bemidji
Spoonbridge and Cherry - Minneapolis
Spoonbridge and Cherry – Minneapolis
Designed by Claes Oldenburg and his wife, Coosje van Bruggen, this dramatic fountain and sculpture, completed in 1988, has come to symbolize Minneapolis. In warmer months, water squirts from the ‘cherry stem’ and glides over the cherry and down the length of the spoon. Located just beyond downtown, outside the modern Walker Art Museum, the spoon ‘bridges’ 52 feet across a small pond in the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
Where to find the Spoonbridge and Cherry
I’ve enjoyed other Oldenburg/von Bruggen works – the binocular building in Venice, California, and the giant shuttlecocks (badminton birdies) on the lawn of Kansas City's Nelson Atkins Museum. Glad Minneapolis managed to snag one of their designs for itself. The Spoonbridge was donated by Frederick Weisman, namesake of Frank Gehrey's Weisman Museum on the University of Minnesota’s East Bank.
Oldenburgh Binocular building - Venice, CA
Linus Van Pelt as Elvis - 2003
Charlie Brown and Peanuts statues
St. Paul native and Peanuts cartoon creator Charles Schultz is remembered with statues around the city. Peanuts on Parade began in the year 2000 with 101 statues of Snoopy placed throughout St. Paul.
Every summer for the next four years, statues of different Peanuts characters were placed throughout St. Paul: Charlie Brown in 2001, Lucy in 2002, Linus in 2003, and in 2004, Snoopy on his doghouse (appropriately unseen was Charlie Brown’s teacher).
Optometrist themed Linus
Lucy statue from 2002
Maps listing each statue’s theme and location were distributed to tourists who could ‘check off’ which ones they’d seen. At the end of each summer the statues were auctioned off to raise money for artists’ scholarships and to create bronze statues of the characters, now residing permanently in Landmark Plaza and Rice Park in downtown St. Paul.
2002 & 2004 Lucy and Snoopy statue maps
You can still find Peanuts statues at local businesses around town. There's even several at the State Fairgrounds. It’s a fun way to honor local favorite, Charles Schultz.
Where to find the bronze Peanuts sculptures
Ice Sculpture - St. Paul Winter Carnival 2011
Snow and Ice Sculptures
Snow and Ice Sculptures, though temporary, are a fitting homage to frigid Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes and sweaters. From the massive ice castle, created for the St. Paul Winter Carnival each January, to individually carved masterpieces of ice and snow, these represent the state as well as anything does.
If you get a fairly mild day (20 degrees or better), you can enjoy these outdoor creations while watching the Winter Carnival parade, just outside the Landmark Center in St. Paul's Rice Park.
Snow Sculptures, St. Paul Winter Carnival - 1988 & 2005
Jolly Green Giant Statue
Jolly Green Giant statue in Blue Earth
The name "Green Giant" was originally used for a large variety of pea, "Green Giant Great Big Tender Peas", by the Minnesota Valley Canning Company. In 1928 the figure of a giant was introduced to the brand. The company was renamed the Green Giant Company in 1950. Many remember the television commercial, “Ho, ho, ho, Green Giant” and his annoying sidekick, the Little Green Sprout.
In 1978, the town of Blue Earth, in southern Minnesota, erected a 55 feet statue of the Jolly Green Giant. Blue Earth, at the end of the Minnesota River Valley, has a factory that still cans “Green Giant” corn and peas each summer, now for the Minneapolis-based General Mills.
The giant, wearing a short, leafy outfit, is mounted on a pedestal. Tourists and locals alike love to pose nearby; the Green Giant statue attracts 10,000 visitors a year.
Where to find the Green Giant statue
Green Giant Commercial
Other worthy runners-up include Butterhead Sculptures from the Minnesota State Fair, carved out of 90 pound blocks of butter, Smokey the Bear in International Falls and the Crane Lake Voyaguer, found in northern Minnesota.
Butterhead Sculptures - MN State Fair, 2011
Smokey the Bear - International Falls, MN
Voyageur - Crane Lake, Minnesota
Which Minnesota statue/sculpture is your favorite?See results without voting
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