Minneapolis’ Lake Creature

Scotland has the  Loch Ness Monster. Minneapolis has Minne.

*** You can click on a picture to view it larger and then scroll through the other grouped pictures.***

“Minne” is the Dakota Indian word for water. This sculpture by Cameron Gainer, based on the 1934 infamous photo of the Loch Ness Monster,  started appearing in various Minneapolis lakes back in 2009. For the first couple of years the statue was moved to a different Minneapolis lake every couple of weeks. Then in 2012, public voting determines which one lake* gets to be Minne’s home for the summer**.

This summer Minne’s  home is  Lake Calhoun, the largest of Minneapolis’ 17 lakes. Although I drive around the SE portion of that lake twice most every work day, Minne is located near the NW corner and I hadn’t yet seen her this year.

Jimmy took me out kayaking on Lake Calhoun today. It was a very rare sunny, not too hot day in Minneapolis. We rented a 2 person kayak which made it possible for Jimmy to do most of the paddling and for me to take pictures. I’d never been in a kayak before today. I wish I could enjoy it more. Even covered with sunscreen and protected by sunglasses and hat, the feeling of the sun on my skin sends out warning signals to seek shelter now! I had too many painful sunburns at a young age to be able to relax in the sun.


It’s also very difficult to take a focused picture from a kayak using an old cell phone. (I wasn’t going to take anything I’d miss if I dropped it into the lake out with me.)

The picture on the left is Lake of the Isles which was connected to Lake Calhoun by a canal in 1911.

The canal that linked Lake Calhoun to Lake of the Isles was opened July 4, 1911. Photo courtesy of Minneapolis Park and Recreation Board.

Many more historic photos and stories online  at Minneapolis Park History and in print in City of Parks: The Story of Minneapolis Parks, both  by David C. Smith.

*Out of the 17 lakes in Minneapolis, only 9 lakes (Brownie, Calhoun, Cedar, Harriet, Hiawatha, Isles, Nokomis, Powderhorn and Wirth) meet the requirements to be Minne’s home base.

** The change was made because of new Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board regulations regarding invasive species that require a two-week holding period when moving Minne between lakes.


5 thoughts on “Minneapolis’ Lake Creature

  1. I know that famous photo and even when I was a kid, it look like a arm and hand out of the water. I love Minne! I think that is pretty cool to have her moved from one lake to another. I would not like the sun beating down on me either-I hope you did not get a burn at all


    • I completely agree about that old photo. Even at the time there were far more convincing fake photos. It is nice that Minne gets moved around the city. The kids love her and there are many kids that don’t have the opportunity to get very far from the neighborhoods. After the fiasco at Lake Calhoun I do wonder where they will put her. No sunburn! I didn’t miss a spot when slathering on the sunscreen. Thanks for asking!


  2. Just read that today is Minne’s last day in Lake Calhoun.

    “Lake Calhoun embraced Minne the Lake Creature like no other lake – a bit too literally, at times,” says Tom Evers, Executive Director of the Minneapolis Parks Foundation, who notes that as many as three people at a time were witnessed climbing on the Lake Creature this summer. “We want people to engage with Minne from a safe distance because it’s a sculpture, not a climbing structure. It’s better for both Minne and Minneapolitans.”

    Regulations prevent the Parks Foundation from posting “no climbing” signage on or near the Lake Creature.

    After being inspected for invasive species, the sculpture will be a Minneapolis art conservator for a professional assessment of her condition and any needed repair, in preparation for a longer stay in another lake in 2016.

    Liked by 1 person

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