Lots of places claim to be home to the Paul Bunyan, but few of them are as insistent as Brainerd, Minnesota. You can find tributes to the mythical lumberjack and his friend Babe the Blue Ox all over the place. It was even the inspiration for a location in the movie Fargo.
But Brainerd is more than just the answer to a trivia question. With over 500 lakes and rivers, it’s also a major tourist destination in central Minnesota. Visitors flock to the Brainerd area every year for hunting, fishing, snowmobiling, golfing, and other activities. And when the outdoor fun is done, many of them enjoy returning to a hotel with an indoor water park for year-round recreation. The nearby city of Baxter has three to choose from.
Paul Bunyan Water Park
We told you there were a lot of tributes to Paul Bunyan in Brainerd. This indoor water park is connected to The Lodge at Brainerd Lakes, where you can book a room and enjoy the temperature-controlled water fun no matter what the weather is like outside. Compared to other indoor water parks around the country, the Paul Bunyan Water Park is mid-sized. However, it’s still plenty big enough to keep a family entertained during a stay in Brainerd. It also has some unique features, like transparent body slides and special tube slides that display holographic images.
Rapid River Lodge and Waterpark
The indoor water park at the Rapid River Lodge is smaller, but still includes an assortment of fun rides and slides. It has an activity pool where you can play basketball, along with multiple water slides and a kiddie area. True to its name, the Rapid River Lodge and Waterpark also has a lazy river that has rapids and a waterfall.
Three Bear Waterpark
The Holiday Inn Express in Baxter offers yet another option for families in search of weatherproof water fun in the Brainerd area. Three Bear Waterpark is smallish compared to many indoor water parks in Minnesota, but it still has a lot of popular attractions to keep kids and adults entertained during their stay. These include a body slide, tube slide, and lazy river.
If you’re traveling with young children, staying at one of these hotels with indoor water parks is a great option. It gives the kids a chance to use up some excess energy while you unwind after a day of hiking, fishing, or whatnot. As most parents know, keeping the kids entertained is often the key to a happy vacation.
But whether you have kids or not, indoor water parks also provide a nice respite from the colder months (which is probably why Minnesota has so many of them). If you live in or near Brainerd, a trip to one of these water parks in the dead of winter can help see you through to spring.