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

A markerbemidji, minnesota -
Bemidji, MN 56601, USA
[get directions]

Spoonbridge and Cherry - Minneapolis

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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.

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Where to find the Spoonbridge and Cherry

A markerminneapolis sculpture garden -
Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, 725 Vineland Pl, Minneapolis, MN 55403, USA
[get directions]

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

A markerrice park, st. paul -
Rice Park, 109 W 4th St, St Paul, MN 55102, USA
[get directions]

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.

nice hair
nice hair

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

A markergreen giant statue, blue earth, minnesota -
Green Giant Statue Park, Blue Earth, MN 56013, USA
[get directions]

Green Giant Commercial

Honorable Mentions

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

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Voyageur - Crane Lake, Minnesota

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Which Minnesota statue/sculpture is your favorite?

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Comments 12 comments

France Travel Inf profile image

France Travel Inf 5 years ago

These are great! I now have to go back and check out all the C Schultz statues - how cute are they?!


acc12 profile image

acc12 5 years ago Author

They were really fun - each one had a different theme depending on which individual or business sponsored its creation. I wish I had taken more photos of them! Glad you enjoyed the hub!


~Christina profile image

~Christina 5 years ago from Northern Virginia

This is just the kind of thing our family loves to see on road trips. We'll have to add Minnesota to our travel plans!


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 5 years ago from Houston, Texas

Great assortment of fun outdoor statues. Loved the Charles Schultz ones! I had a friend living in that area when they were being exhibited and heard about it. A similar thing happened here in Houston (the CowParade) where hundreds of statues were placed around town and raised money for charity. We took a great number of photos and I featured them into a hub. Every weekend we headed out to check off more on the list. Voting this up and interesting! :))


jrport profile image

jrport 5 years ago

So difficult to choose a favorite sculpture from the photos you included in this interesting story about a city I have visited. Unfortuntely it was before these sculptures showing the ingenuity of American Art were in extistance! It's a good reason to re-visit the great Mid-West! Thanks! jrport


acc12 profile image

acc12 5 years ago Author

jrport,

It was hard to narrow it down - there are many interesting statues scattered around the state.

peggyw,

I bet a lot of towns are doing something like this. We saw it done with lighthouse statues in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin when we were there in 2006. It's a clever way to enhance tourism and raise money for charities. Fun to experience, too.


leroy64 profile image

leroy64 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas (Oak Cliff)

Fantastic hub. The Oldenburg works are particular favorites of mine, although the Jolly Green giant is close. I need a job that involves road trips.


acc12 profile image

acc12 5 years ago Author

Leroy64, wouldn't that be fun? I like those giant Oldenburg sculptures too - reminds me of the old tv show 'Land of the Giants' or 'Honey I Shrunk the Kids' -to be dwarfed by the size of everyday objects!


elizabeth zwingli 5 years ago

Just great! MN is such an interesting place


acc12 profile image

acc12 5 years ago Author

Elizabeth, Thanks! Seems every state I visit has quirky or beautiful places to see if you have the chance to explore. Glad you enjoyed it.


Happyboomernurse profile image

Happyboomernurse 5 years ago from South Carolina

I loved this hub with its colorful, whimsical and fun photos of the statues in Minnesota. My favorites were the Peanuts Characters but I've always been a huge fan of Charlie Brown so I'm quite biased. The back of the Green Giant was my next favorite photo as I loved the way the planners placed the people platform in such a stategic location.

Voted up across the board except for funny.


acc12 profile image

acc12 5 years ago Author

Happyboomernurse, thanks and glad you enjoyed it. I, too, get a kick out of the Green Giant & his hair made out of leaves. Someone must have had fun designing that one!

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