Social Distancing: The Giant Statue Tour
A Giant Tour Of Giant Statues In Minnesota
Do you want to explore, do something epic, and run into practically no one while you’re doing it?
Lakes County has a ridiculous number of crazy roadside statues towering over highways, lakes, and other random places.
And it’s about the perfect social distancing activity because no one is around these works of art.
So I went and saw as many of them as I could over the weekend so I can show you where to go.
We being our statue tour by heading down I-94 to Rothsay, about 45 minutes away from Fargo. There, right off the Interstate you’ll find the World’s Largest Booming Prairie Chicken, 13 feet tall. I’m using myself as a frame of reference in these pics to show how big these statues are. And mind you, I’m 6’6″.
Then we head back down I-94 to Fergus Falls, where the geese are flying this time of year over the large Canada Goose statue at the Otter Tail County Historical Museum.
Then, across town you’ve got Otto the Big Otter, reportedly the world’s largest otter. He’s 15 feet tall and 40 feet long overlooking a lake in town.
Now let’s scoot along 210 about 20 miles east until we get to Battle Lake. Down Main Street you’ve got a a 15-foot-tall fish statue outside a bakery on the main drag. It’s name is Rusty.
And head up the road a minute or so and you’ll run into Chief Wenonga, right next to the lake. Battle Lake celebrates Wenonga Days annually during the 4th weekend in July.
We keep going on 210 about another 10 miles to the Holy Grail of statues in the region, Vining, Minnesota. They’re the work of one man, Ken Nyberg.
First off, they’ve got the big foot statue. Not a sasquatch, a giant foot. The big toe is flattened so you can sit for photos.
There are statues littered through town, but the big draw is the Nyberg Sculpture Park. There’s at least a dozen surreal sites there, including an arm throwing a football and a knife cutting through a watermelon.
Plus, there’s an astronaut honoring Ken’s daughter, NASA astronaut Karen Nyberg. I think that’s incredibly sweet.
Then just seven miles up 210 in Henning, there’s a giant stethoscope outside a doctor’s office, also built by Nyberg. It’s positioned perfectly for people to stick their head in for pics.
Now we hop off 210 and head up Highway 108 to Ottertail, where there’s another otter statue outside a bank. It’s not as big as the one in Fergus, but it’s small enough to climb. You can pretend you’re in The NeverEnding Story.
Next stop, Perham, 13 miles north. The town is known for its annual Turtle Fest, and they have a rainbow turtle statue that doubles as a slide in NP Park on Main Street.
Then you can head 15 miles up Highway 10 to Frazee and the World Largest Turkey. They’re proud of this one. They’ve got a billboard on the highway promoting it. The original turkey statue actually burned down in 1998, leading to this amazing photo, but they replaced it within a year.
From Frazee it’s an 8-mile drive southwest to Vergas and the World’s Largest Loon. I thought it looked like a bowling pin with a beak.
You can complete the circle by heading west to Pelican Rapids and Pelican Pete, overlooking a dam on the Pelican River, 15 and a half feet tall.
That’s a logical stopping point on a tour, but if you want to go really crazy, head northeast about 45 minutes to Menahga and St. Urho the Grasshopper Vanquisher. March 16th is actually St. Urho’s Day. Click here to learn more about Menahga’s annual St. Urho Days celebration. He allegedly banished grasshoppers from ancient Finland, but really it’s a myth made up in the 1950’s. I love it.
Then hop up another half hour or so north through Park Rapids to Nevis and the world’s largest Tiger Muskie.
And finally, just six miles from there is Akeley home of a gargantuan Paul Bunyan statue. The town claims it’s the birthplace of Paul Bunyan, and right next to this big boy is a Paul’s supposed baby cradle.
But yeah, this guy is huge, and you can sit or stand in his outstretched palm for a heck of a photo opp.
This is a full day of statue hunting if you go for them all. I had to stretch it over two days. I’d guess it would take 8 to 10 hours to see them all and get back home.
Plus, there’s plenty of other sites along the way, like the old Kirkbride in Fergus Falls. I also found a giant tricycle outside a cafe in Menahga you can hop on.
Here’s your roadmap if you’re looking for some social distanced fun.