By now many of you are eye-ball deep into the latest issue of Her Voice Magazine. I absolutely LOVE seeing the giddy excitement of the readers, story subjects and contributors when the announcement is made on the Her Voice Facebook Page that a new issue is about to be released. And I am no exception!
I consider myself a pretty lucky ducky because not only do I get to write for Her Voice often, I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to write for a reoccurring column called Her Voice ISO (In Search Of). Being able to create this column on a variety of topics is FOR SURE the bees knees. Plus I get to chat with/meet uber cool people like Caara Holmstrom; owner of Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land in Bemidji. Oftentimes much of the info I gather doesn’t make it into the final story; thus “Story Scraps” was born. ENJOY!
Animal Land hit our family’s radar last summer when were on our No Bummer Summer Zoo-a-palooza Tour (our mission to visit as many zoos as possible during summer vacation). Of course we went to all the “big zoos” in the cities, but when we stopped at Animal Land, I personally was smitten instantly.
Animal Land is a small zoo packed with extremely cool things. Often over-looked, Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land is a cozy little animal park that offers a few unique opportunities zoo-lovers won’t get elsewhere. Located on Highway 2 East, between Bemidji and Cass Lake, Animal Land is home to nearly 100 animals representing every continent on earth. Lions, tigers, bear, camels, lemurs, kangaroos, monkeys, raccoons, three species of deer, bobcats, wolves, reptiles, exotic birds, amazing bugs and various small mammals are just a few of the animals who make their home at Animal Land.
What my family loved about this small zoo is the fact that, the moment you walk through the doors, you have several opportunities to pet free roaming critters like kangaroos and deer. Armed with bananas, we were instant favorites with Sydney, Keith, and Liam, the three red kangaroos that hopped about. The sika deer took a shine to the discarded peels as well and allowed some petting and ear scratching too. If having a snack at a picnic table with a red kangaroo curled around your feet is on your Bucket List, Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land is the place for you.
Did I mention Caara quite possibly has the Coolest.Life.EVER. I love, love, love this picture she sent me this winter.
You just can’t have a crabby day after looking at this picture. Notice Tyson the bulldog is sacked out with the roos too. Too funny!
Here are some comments and info from Caara herself:
Are you open all summer?
Caara: Yes we are open seven days a week, 10 am – 6 pm from Memorial Day-Labor Day.
There are soooo many cool critters at Animal Land. Share what makes this zoo unique.
Caara: There are 3 species of deer in the pasture and some of each species will walk right up to you so without seeing a pic it’s hard to say what deer befriended you. There are several friendly whitetails, but if the deer was not a whitetail, but instead more of a red color with straight up antlers like a mini elk then it was likely the sikas. We only have one sika doe right now but several tame bucks. The sika deer are from Japan. We also have lots of fallow deer (in three colors) from Germany, but they are very standoffish by nature and usually hang out in a big group and will not come up to people.
I think what sets Animal Land apart from other zoos/parks is that you can typically get much closer to our animals than you can at a larger zoo and it’s a more personal experience. All of our animals are family, most are bottle fed as babies so they are very social. Each has a name and I can tell you their life story off the top of my head because they are “my kids.”
We adored the Kangaroos and loved how we could hang out with them and pet them!
Caara: The three free roaming kangaroos are all red kangaroos (the largest kangaroo species in the world). Their names are Sydney, Keith, and Liam. Syd is the older female and Keith and Liam were just over a year old last summer. Our kangaroo mob (yes that’s what you call a group!) has grown since last summer, so there will be several more next summer. We’ve added 2 more males and 2 females all of which are bottle babies under one year of age, living in the house right now. It’s literally a zoo in my house now. I don’t know if we will have them free roaming this summer or not, it will depend on their behavior as they mature. We hope to see everyone here this summer and promise it is worth the drive!
To learn more about Paul Bunyan’s Animal Land, visit them on the web. It’s a “must see” for the summer!