Talk about the northern forests of our country and you remember the legend of Paul Bunyan. Many of us grew up with tall-tale legends like Paul and Babe the Blue Ox. The folksy legends of how Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes came from Paul’s big footprints and how he could clear forest with one fell swoop of his ax. (No one ever said that he was the most environmentally friendly guy!)
The great pine forests that surround Breezy Point are an integral part of where these legends came from, and several places in this area capitalize on this. One of the great childhood memories for many adults is being taken to Paul Bunyan Land in Brainerd, MN. Brainerd is a small city located about a half-hour south of Breezy Point Resort.
For years, Paul Bunyan Land was located at the edge of Brainerd, near the junction where one would head north to the cabins and resorts. Now, that land has been claimed by the ever growing economic and business growth of the area. Paul Bunyan Land closed up for awhile—just a rustic memory from the past.
Now, Paul Bunyan Land has reopened in a new location east of Brainerd on This Old Farm. When one pulls into the parking lot, it almost feels like old times as Babe, the huge blue ox (okay, it’s a statue) still stands out greeting cars as they arrive.
As you enter the park, the old memories come back very quickly as you see the gigantic animatronically controlled Paul Bunyan sitting in his chair greeting guests. Just as in old times, he somehow is able to greet each child by name. The look and excitement this causes is magical for a youngster! Kids and adults can ask Paul questions: "What size shoes do you wear?" Paul answers, "Size 40." Ask Paul to sing a song and he’ll sing, "Timber, timber little tree. Please, oh, please, don’t fall on me!" to the tune of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star."
The rides are all there. Not much has changed since the ‘70s, but they are still great fun for anyone who is okay with the idea that a Tilt-a-Whirl, Bumper Cars, and a rocking ship called the Space Shuttle are what this park has for thrill rides. There is also a Ferris Wheel, a haunted mine, and several kiddie rides, including a small train that loops on one side of the park.
On the other side of the park is This Old Farm, and there is a petting zoo and large collection of antiques.
This park will never compete with the hypercoasters and other thrills of today’s theme park, but kids seem to love the simple folksy charm and adults will enjoy the nostalgic trip to the past. At about $10 a child and $9 per adult (yes, children have a higher admission than adults), you can’t beat the deal for a full day of fun. Paul Bunyanland and This Old Farm were open from 10am to 6pm the day we visited.