“celebrating Alexandria's Viking heritage”
The city is known as a tourism center due to its many lakes and resorts. Tourism events include a Grape Stomp hosted by the Carlos Creek Winery every September, an Apple Fest in October, the Douglas County Fair every August, and Art in the Park every July. The city has a museum housing the controversial Kensington Runestone, which is thought by some to indicate that Vikings had visited the area in the 14th century. Outside the museum stands Big Ole, a 25-foot-tall statue of a Viking originally built for the World's Fair in New York in 1964.The city hosts the annual Vikingland Band Festival parade marching championship.
Nice park and lake area. Kitschy statue but a nice place to stop to stretch your legs.
Nice park area around the statue! Great place to stretch your legs and a nice lake view!
The park around Big Ole is a great place to stop if you’re traveling with pets. There are restrooms for you to use, as well as plenty of grass for your furry friends who may be discerning about their bathroom choices. There are also benches, ample parking and a lake with a dock.
Big Ole himself is pretty large, but it’s his spear that gives him most of his height (which feels slightly disappointing). You also have to drive through Alexandria to get to him - a town somewhat known for not being welcoming to all. Not to mention the whole “birthplace of America because of Vikings” thing that glosses over the area’s Native American history.
Overall, worth a stop if you and your traveling crew needs a break to just stretch or eat a pre-packed meal in a nice park, I just wouldn’t spend too much time in town.
20min detour. Big statue. Clean restrooms. Nice place to stretch legs.
You should definitely go check out this Viking! He is huge and there is a cute park nearby. There are also bathrooms so it’s a great place to take a break on the road and stretch your legs. Add it to your trip for sure!
There is a beautiful lake with a walking path right behind the statue. This was a great stretch/walk break during a long road trip! My kids loved this stop!
I’ve visited a lot of large roadside attractions, but Big Ole definitely has one of the strangest backstories. Located in Alexandria, Minnesota, America’s Biggest Viking is much more than a random landmark. You might have noticed that Big Ole’s shield reads “Alexandria: Birthplace of America.” Local lore claims that Norsemen visited the central Minnesota town in 1362. In 1898, a Swedish immigrant named Olof Ohman claimed to have discovered a runestone in a nearby township. According to Ohman, 12th century Scandinavian explorers left behind the Kensington Runestone. While the stone was ultimately declared a fake, the town hasn’t given up on its Viking past.
2016May: He's being refurbished right now, missing his sword and shield, and surrounded by scaffolding. I still enjoyed seeing him, and the Central Park he's in is quite scenic.
Ole is 3 miles from the interstate...You have to go through town (which is beautiful). It is a straight shot, no turns, then you cannot miss him. We asked directions at a gas station ad they were very helpful. He is right across the street from the rune stone museum.
Ole is massive and was worth the detour...a fun photo op!
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Big Ole Viking Statue
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