Hidden in the woods of Northern Minnesota about 2 miles from Bemidji is this strange little zoo--Paul Bunyan Animal Land. This zoo has existed for as long as I remember, though last week was the first time I have ever visited it. My high school boyfriend (who lived next door to PBAL) and I tried to take his little sisters once, but it wasn't open that day. Which was probably for the best, since I hear it used to be in much worse condition than it is now. It's still got a bit of the "old school" zoo feel--for example, the monkey habitat was pretty sad, with a lone monkey hanging out in a smallish, concrete-bottomed cage--but parts of it were fairly cool. Mostly I was amazed at the number of wild animals housed there: Camels, lions, cougars, a Siberian tiger, as well as more "homegrown" animals such as bears, porcupines, raccoons, etc.
There was even a baby kangaroo hopping around the gift shop!
And an indoor exhibit of various reptiles and small animals. Dashiell thought Fluffy the boa constrictor was especially cool.
They had a huge deer habitat, and we were allowed to go into it and feed the deer, up close and personal. It was pretty neat!
I think Dashiell was most interested in the deer poop, which he is examining closely in the above photo. When you have that many deer roaming in an enclosed area, there's bound to be a lot of poop. Yes, we did have to do an emergency load of laundry when we got back to mom and dad's.
Apologies to my friend Erika in the background for getting a nice "backside" shot of her, but I couldn't resist posting a picture of Dashiell looking so cool...
As an extra bonus, there was a swing set at Animal Land! Dash and his friend Jasper had a good time on the swing.
I think Dashiell's favorite animals were the coatimundi. As you can see, the babies were small enough to climb out of their enclosure, and climb out they did! They came right up to Dashiell and Jasper and played at their feet. It was really cute.