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We’re celebrating 79 years of “Making Friends and Memories” with our biggest vacation Sweepstakes giveaway! Register for a chance to win a trip to Cragun’s Resort in Brainerd, MN. No purchase necessary. Winners announced here each week on our Cragun’s Resort Blog.

Want to double your chances? Send us a favorite memory from your trip to Cragun’s for a chance to win some great prizes! Click here to share one of your fun memories from Cragun’s Resort! You and all your friends can vote on your favorites. The entries with the most votes wins!

 

  • Top 10 Things To Do In Brainerd, MN This Summer Aboard A Luxury Cruise Boat

    Evening cruise on the Gull Lake Cruises yacht North Star

    TAKING A BOAT TOUR IS a must-do when visiting the Brainerd Lakes area, as it gives you a one-of-a-kind way to enjoy Minnesota’s premier waterway, Gull Lake, in both comfort and luxury. Whatever draws you to the water–whether you’re looking for a leisurely way to take in nature and feel the wind in your hair, or seek the ultimate lakeside gathering spot to drink and dine, or maybe cruising on a luxury yacht tops your bucket list, Gull Lake Cruises can make the memory happen.

    Here are TEN THINGS TO DO IN BRAINERD this summer to make an unforgettable memory on the water aboard a luxury cruise boat…

     

    Photo of a loon family

    1. The Ultimate Photo Op

    Whether it’s a “do it for the gram” selfie, or a breathtaking sunset, Gull Lake Cruises provides an unmatched location to capture a remarkable photo. With the 360 degree views from the yacht’s upper deck, every angle affords a perfect position for recording memories – from a video of loons dancing on the lake to that once-in-a-lifetime family reunion shot, an ordinary image becomes extraordinary on Gull Lake Cruises.

     

    Couple announcing their engagement on a Gull Lake Cruise

    2. Time for Breaking News

    Making a change in life? Announcing an engagement? Baby on the way? Retirement date set? Whatever newsworthy adventure you might be embarking on, announce your special moment to family and friends on the Gull Lake Cruises. A leisurely Gull Lake Cruise is the perfect opportunity to celebrate and share all your exciting details and future plans with everyone at the same time yet in a uniquely intimate and memorable way!

     

    Women celebrating on a Gull Lake Cruise

    3. Unforgettable Bachelorette Party

    When you are in charge of planning a bachelorette party that is unique and fun, what could be more memorable than hosting the party on a luxury 65-foot yacht! Join a public cruise with live music and planned entertainment, or rent the whole boat for your besties, the Gull Lake Cruises staff will help you create a one-of-a-kind, never-to-forget event!

     

    Theme dinner cruise aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht, North Star

    4. Groom’s Dinner Cruise

    Be it the grand kickoff to the wedding festivities, or a stress-free way of bringing people together before the big day, join together aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht on Gull Lake. Cruising is a unique, intimate, fun way for family and friends to toast and dine together. The Gull Lake Cruises’ staff will ensure that everything is taken care of, so all you have to do is sit back and just enjoy the moment.

     

    Wedding aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht, North Star

    5. Dream Come True Wedding

    When looking for a memorable wedding venue in Brainerd MN, consider a wedding on the water. A cruise wedding offers an unforgettable experience, especially when hosted on the luxurious 65 ft. Gull Lake Cruises yacht. It’s the perfect weatherproof option, too, with a fully enclosed first level, you can celebrate in the grand outdoors as you tie the knot in complete inside comfort. The Gull Lake Cruises provides full-service catering, state-of-the-art audiovisual and lighting, seating for 90 passengers, and an experienced crew to ensure all of your dreams come true.

     

    Family reunion enjoyed aboard a Gull Lake Cruise

    6. Make Waves at Your Family Reunion

    Finally, everyone is together in one location, and all you want to do is reconnect without having to manage activities, cook, or track people down to capture that group photo! The perfect plan? Host your next reunion on the luxurious Gull Lake Cruises yacht. Cruising Gull Lake is a unique and exciting venue enjoyed by all ages. The staff of the Gull Lake Cruises yacht will take care of everything – from the initial planning to all the activities such as games, videos, music and more, to themes, food and festive drinks. Time together is precious – cruising makes that time work-free, stress-free, and memorable for all.

     

    Concert cruise aboard the Gull Lake Cruise yacht, North Star

    7. Cruising with the Stars

    Do you like Elvis, Frank Sinatra, or Jimmy Buffet? How fun would it be singing and dancing to their hits under the stars? Well, dance away you will on a concert cruise aboard the Gull Lake Cruises luxury yacht. Great, live music with two on-board, full-service bars make this a one-of-a-kind party on Gull you’ll always remember. The Jimmy Buffet Parrot Heads Cheeseburger in Paradise cruise and the Tribute to Elvis cruise are just two events favored in the Brainerd Lakes area. Or, for a stellar way to celebrate a milestone or themed birthday, rent the entire yacht and host a blowout musical bash! The Gull Lake Cruises staff can help with all the arrangements to make this “only happens once” event one for the memory books.

     

    Company team building event aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht, North Star

    8. Getting Your Team to “Sea” Eye-to-Eye

    While team building is undeniably the best way to strengthen employee relationships and team spirit, participating in physical or competitive group activities is not always enjoyed by all. Why not try a relaxing, fun venue when planning your next company event? A team outing aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht on Gull Lake is a stress- free meeting that everyone can enjoy, especially the planner! The staff of Gull Lake Cruises, with years of planning experience, can help you create the perfect company event with none of the usual worries and stress.

     

    Themed kid's party on the Gull Lake Cruises yacht, North Star

    9. Adventures at Sea with the Grandkids

    Calling all pirates and mermaids, sailors and sea creatures too…come aboard and join our imagination cruise! You’ll be the coolest grandma or grandpa (or mom and dad, too) when you take your seaworthy kiddos on a themed party aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht. It’s one of the best family things to do in Brainerd, MN. Kids can come dressed in their favorite costume, or we can provide the accessories. Fun and games, food and entertainment are included in each adventure on the sea. Book one of the public kid’s themed cruises or rent the whole boat for a personal birthday extravaganza! Talk with the Gull Lake Cruises staff, and they can create a never-to-forget event for your little ones!

     

    Gull Lake Cruises, best way to party on Gull Lake in Brainerd, MN

    10. Get Your Party On Gull Lake

    Is it your turn to host the party? Are fear and panic setting in? Looking for fun things to do in Brainerd? Gull Lake Cruises turns that fear to fun with a host of ideas for themes. The staff is there to plan every detail, ensuring that you have as much fun at the party as your guests! Whether it’s a sunset dinner cruise or a morning brunch cruise, a Taco Tuesday cruise or a TGIF voyage, the Gull Lake Cruises yacht on Gull Lake is at the ready to party on and make a memory!

    SO COME ABOARD THIS SUMMER because we all know being on the water makes us happier – it just always seems to draw people together to relax, to celebrate, to smile. Gull Lake Cruises has so many ways to make your water gatherings memorable, resulting in more fun and bigger smiles. Ready to experience a unique and entertaining time on the water this summer in Minnesota? The team at Gull Lake Cruises is at the ready, too, with a list of ideas perfect for you – from scheduled public events to private charters for those special occasions. Give a call at 833-232-0317, or go online at www.gulllakecruises.com and learn more about Gull Lake Cruises summer fun on the water in Brainerd!

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  • 10 Top Things To Do In Brainerd MN This Summer

    IN A LAND OF 10,000 LAKES, where do Minnesotan’s go to celebrate summer? The Brainerd Lakes Area… where everything that makes summer great can be enjoyed! Here are the top 10 things to do in Brainerd MN this summer…

    Top 10 things to do in Brainerd MN this summer is Legacy Golf Courses at Cragun's Resort

    1. World-Class Golf

    Golf Digest ranks the Brainerd Lakes Area as one of the “Top Golf Destinations in the World.” What makes Brainerd best is that golfers have a variety of Brainerd MN golf courses to choose from, all within 45 minutes of each other. These exceptional courses include Cragun’s Legacy Courses featuring three golf courses from one remarkable Clubhouse, the Breezy Point Resort courses, including Deacon’s Lodge, Grand View Lodge’s Pines and Preserve golf courses and Madden’s golf courses which include The Classic, Pine Beach East and Pine Beach West. Additionally, each facility offers resort lodging and golf packages and all are happy to schedule tee times at any neighboring course.

    Top 10 things to do in Brainerd MN this summer is pontooning on Gull Lake at Cragun's

    2. More Waters to Make Waves On

    Beautiful, sparkling lakes are Brainerd’s best asset and recreating on them will always remain one of the best things to do in Brainerd MN. There are over 450 waterways in the area, each with its own charm. Topping the list are Gull Lake, North Long, Round, Cullen and Pelican Lake. Brainerd’s countless waters bring countless opportunities for enjoying them, just pick your favorite way to explore. You might prefer the quiet solitude of paddling a canoe or kayak, the power and thrill of jumping the wake in a speedboat or partying with friends aboard a decked-out pontoon boat. And if you don’t BYOB (Bring Your Own Boat), Brainerd makes it easy to rent a craft, either at a resort marina such as at Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake, or at one of many boat rentals located both on and off the water.

     

    Top 10 things to do in Brainerd MN this summer is coming aboard the Gull Lake Cruises yacht the North Star

    3. Tour Gull Lake in a Luxury Yacht

    A must-do for every visit to Brainerd is a sightseeing, theme or live music event, or dining cruise aboard the magnificent 65’ luxury yacht, on the Gull Lake Cruises North Star. This one-of-a-kind vessel on Gull Lake features two bars on two levels. An outdoor observation deck on the top level offers beautiful landscape views, and the indoor salon on the main level lets you cruise in ultimate comfort. Conveniently docked at Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake, Gull Lake Cruises offers both day and evening public cruises, as well as private charters for any occasion.

     

    Top 10 things to do in Brainerd MN this summer is biking at Cragun's Resort

    4. Best Bike Rides in MN

    Explore new things to do in the Brainerd Lakes area by bike. Two of Minnesota’s best trail systems are in the Brainerd area. The Paul Bunyan Trail, one of the longest paved trails in the nation, starts in Brainerd and ends 120 miles north, in Bemidji. This trail’s terrain ranges from flat and open to hilly and scenic, with numerous areas to stop, rest and enjoy northern Minnesota’s beauty along the way. For mountain bike enthusiasts, the 800-acre Cuyuna Lakes Mountain Bike Trails is one of the state’s newest and finest. Just 16 miles east of Brainerd in Crosby, over 30 purpose-built trails with breathtaking rides and overlooks challenge riders. The trails are suited to everyone, from beginner to pro. Bike trails maps and rentals are all available.

     

    Top 10 things to do in Brainerd MN this summer is fishing on Gull Lake at Cragun's

    5. Where Fishing Legends are Made (and Live)

    The Brainerd Lakes Area is located right in the heart of Minnesota’s most legendary waters – Gull Lake, Mille Lacs, and Leech Lake. Walleye, northern pike, largemouth bass, sunfish and crappies are all prized catches for those who drop a line. Now what you may not know is that Brainerd Lakes is home to fishing legends, too. Al & Ron Linder of In-Fisherman fame, and Babe Winkelman of Good Fishing, all call Gull Lake home. To fish the Brainerd waters, you can bring your own boat and launch it at several public launches, or plan to do a guided fishing trip with one of the many experienced guides in the area.

     

    Top 10 things to do in Brainerd MN this summer is shopping Nisswa in the Brainerd Lakes area

    6. Pretty Great Shopping

    A unique group of communities makes up the Brainerd Lakes area–– Brainerd, Baxter, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Crosby–– and each offers uniquely different shopping experiences. Quaint, one-of-a-kind stores abound selling art, crafts and stylish furniture, many with that Northwoods flair. Plus, there are distinctive up-north designs in clothing, home goods, toys and more to be found. You may enjoy going on the hunt for antiques, another favorite draw for visitors. Summer also offers special opportunities for shopping with more stores, extended hours, and once-a-year sales events. Be sure to check the Chambers or your lodging facility for dates and details.

     

    Top 10 things to do in Brainerd MN this summer is Paul Bunyan statue at Brainerd Welcome Center

    7. Paul Bunyan: The Legend. The Place.

    They say everything is bigger in Brainerd, mostly because Brainerd’s past and present are woven around tales of the big man himself, Paul Bunyan. So, to make each Brainerd visit legendary, your first stop has to be the Brainerd Chamber Welcome Center for a photo op with Paul Bunyan. Your second stop, a photo op with the statues of both Paul & Babe, located at the entrance to Cragun’s Resort on Gull Lake. As you tour the area, try to spot all of the uniquely decorated statues of Babe the Blue Ox, and find Paul’s size 80 boot print at a major, local retailer. Enjoy food and drink specialties named for the legend at area eateries. And don’t forget a stop to Paul Bunyan Land, an iconic amusement park located just 8 miles east of Brainerd. It’s a great thing to do with kids in Brainerd, where they will make a memory no kid ever forgets—when the 26-foot tall talking Paul knows your name when he bids you “Hello!”

     

    Top 10 things to do in Brainerd MN this summer is feeding giraffe at Safari North Wildlife Park

    8. The Wildlife of Brainerd

    When you come to the Brainerd north woods, you expect to see deer, chipmunks, squirrels and a list of water-loving species too long to name. But did you ever imagine you could feed a giraffe, ride a camel, or get up-close and personal with animals from around the world? You can do all this and more at the Safari North Wildlife Park in Brainerd. Put some educational fun into your getaway and learn about conservation and animal behavior in a family-friendly, outdoor environment. There are youth and adult activities to participate in, plus kids can try mining for treasures or enjoy a play area. Coming to the Safari North in 2020 is the endangered snow leopard, typically found in the rugged mountains of Central Asia.

     

    Top 10 things to do in Brainerd MN this summer is Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals at BIR

    9. Start Your Engines at the Brainerd International Raceway

    Looking for some fast action? There is nothing like the Brainerd International Raceway (BIR) to get your adrenaline pumping. BIR has racing events throughout the summer—from drag racing and superbike racing to the BIR Performance Driving School where you can drive a race car 130 mph around the racetrack. The annual Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals brings the best drag racers and the fastest cars, to the world-renown BIR track.

     

    Top 10 things to do in Brainerd MN this summer is zip lining at Brainerd Zip Line Tour

    10. Eagle Eye Views on a Zipline

    Ever imagine what the view must be like for an eagle– soaring above the lakes and forests of Brainerd? It’s indescribable! So, try to put it into words for yourself after you experience ziplining from the top of Mount Ski Gull on a Brainerd Zip Line Tour. With 15-mile views, you’ll see the Gull Lake area and its surrounding forest like never before. There are 7 zip lines, challenging suspension bridges and even an optional, exhilarating 50-foot free-fall drop to experience. This is a unique way to make your getaway in the Brainerd Lakes with family and friends simply unforgettable.

    Have fun enjoying all the things to do in Brainerd MN this summer!

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  • Cragun’s Resort Celebrates 80 Years by Undertaking Massive Improvement Project

    Aerial of Cragun's Resort on Gull Lake in Brainerd, MN

    Cragun’s gives exciting update regarding resort expansion and improvement

     

    Cragun’s Resort is excited to announce that this winter marks the half-way point of our $20 million-dollar resort expansion and improvement project. Starting in late 2015, Cragun’s embarked on an aggressive plan to remodel, replace, and add new amenities and lodgings, all to ensure the property’s continued success.

    “Over the years, guests have told us how much they appreciate our family-friendly atmosphere and the true “up north” experience they receive at Cragun’s,” said Eric Peterson, General Manager of Cragun’s Resort. “We put a plan together to update the public areas, provide more new, improved and larger cabins, upgrade the lodge rooms facilities, all while still maintaining the feel our guests love. Every improvement is designed to fit with the features Cragun’s guests enjoy coming back for, like our mile-long sandy beach, championship golf courses, full-service marina, and dining options.”

    To date, the improvements include the following:

    Public Areas

    Interactive guest touch screen in lobby

    • The Lobby and Lobby Gift Shop have been updated with enhanced lighting, an expanded gift selection, and interactive television with information on the resort.
    • Cragun’s lake-level Marina was fully remodeled with new floors, walls, displays, up-to-date bait tank, and 2 new bathrooms.

    Two of Cragun's renovated meeting rooms

    • Several meeting rooms were updated with new carpeting, window treatments, doors, trim, and furniture.
    • A new signage program has started to aid guests in finding their way around the resort.

     

    Amenities

    Gull Lake Cruises yacht the North Star

    • Cragun’s purchased Destiny Cruises’ luxury yacht, the North Star, renaming the business Gull Lake Cruises. The 65’ yacht is docked at Cragun’s resort and offers both public and private cruises from May-October.
    • New summer marina rental equipment has been purchased including seven new pontoons, four speedboats, jet skis, stand-up paddleboards, rowboats, canoes, and bicycles.

    Cragun's updated Lodge Room

    Lodge Room wood-burning fireplaces have been converted to electric.

    Cragun's Hungry Gull food cart and Cabana Cafe

    • The Hungry Gull Food Cart was added for summer beach dining, and the Cabana Café was built for year-round indoor poolside dining.

     

    Golf Course

    Cragun's Legacy Golf Courses

    • A new fleet of environmentally-friendly electric golf carts equipped with GPS was added.
    • Legacy course bridges were all either repaired or replaced.
    • The Legacy Clubhouse has been updated with paint and flooring.
    • Cragun’s was awarded a Mackenzie Tour – PGA TOUR Canada golf tournament, formally recognized as the CRMC Championship, as part of a six-year deal. The CRMC Championship tournament will take place on August 17-23, 2020 at Cragun’s Legacy Courses.

    Lodgings

    Cragun's lodging - Bayview Villa

    • Six new Bayview Villa lodges have been added to Cragun’s, each offers 7 bedrooms and 6 bathrooms. Popular with families, golf groups and small corporate groups, the new Villas replace three of the original cabins overlooking the south beach area.

    Cragun's lodging - Hillside Cabin

    • Because of the popularity of the Bayview Villas, work has begun on Cragun’s Hillside Cabins. Six of the 12 cabins have either been remodeled or completely rebuilt, each offering from 3 to 6 bedrooms.

    Cragun's lodging - Shoreline Suites

    • The 21 Shoreline Suites were completely updated with new bathrooms, carpet, kitchens, hardgoods, altered bedding configurations, and furniture.
    • Forty-eight additional Lodge Rooms have been updated with new lighting, carpet, bathroom tile and fixtures, countertops and furniture.

    Cragun's lodging - Homes at the Legacy

    • Six large Homes at the Legacy have been added off the resort property, located close to the Legacy Golf Courses. The homes offer 6 to 10 bedrooms, perfect for large golf groups, and include separate game rooms, large screen TV’s, game tables and fire pit.

    “It’s a process, but one we are approaching with gusto,” said Eric Peterson. “Cragun’s is celebrating our 80th year in business in 2020, and we look forward to continuing our legacy of great customer experiences.”

    If you haven’t been to Cragun’s lately, stop out…let us show you around or book today to experience our new offerings. We know you will be as excited as we are about all the great things happening at Cragun’s!

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  • Bruce of Lakeville, MN

    Bruce of Lakeville, MN will be enjoying a three day, two night “Spring Break Weekend Package” at Cragun’s with more lodging choices than any of the other Minnesota Resorts. Take pleasure in a weekend of family activities including fun in our HUGE indoor pool. Our Spring Break Weekend Package includes Cragun’s delicious breakfast buffet on Saturday and Sunday morning. Have a great time at Cragun’s – one of the best Minnesota Resorts on Gull Lake.

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  • Nikole of Ortonville, MN

    Nikole of Ortonville, MN will be enjoying a three day, two night “Spring Break Weekend Package” at Cragun’s with more lodging choices than any of the other Minnesota Resorts. Take pleasure in a weekend of family activities including fun in our HUGE indoor pool. Our Spring Break Weekend Package includes Cragun’s delicious breakfast buffet on Saturday and Sunday morning. Have a great time at Cragun’s – one of the best Minnesota Resorts on Gull Lake.

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  • Myriah of Buffalo, MN

    Myriah of Buffalo, MN will be enjoying a three day, two night “Spring Break Weekend Package” at Cragun’s with more lodging choices than any of the other Minnesota Resorts. Take pleasure in a weekend of family activities including fun in our HUGE indoor pool. Our Spring Break Weekend Package includes Cragun’s delicious breakfast buffet on Saturday and Sunday morning. Have a great time at Cragun’s – one of the best Minnesota Resorts on Gull Lake.

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  • Darrell of Eden Prairie, MN

    Winter Fun Fest Weekends

    This week’s lucky sweepstakes winner is Darrell of Eden Prairie, MN. Darrell will be enjoying a three day, two night “Winter Fun Fest Weekend Package” at Cragun’s with more lodging choices than any of the other Minnesota Resorts. This package starts with a Friday night “Welcome Reception” and dinner buffet. There’s evening family entertainment such as DJ and karaoke in the Bear Trap Lounge. Enjoy lots of outdoor recreations including discounted downhill lift tickets at Ski Gull Recreation Area, X-C skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice skating, broomball, snowmobiling, Cragun’s SnoMo Centre with sled and clothing rentals and more! Have a great time at Cragun’s Darrell – one of the best Minnesota Resorts on Gull Lake.

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  • Melissa of Monticello, MN

    This week’s lucky sweepstakes winner is Melissa of Monticello, MN. Melissa will be enjoying a three day, two night “Winter Fun Fest Weekend Package” at Cragun’s with more lodging choices than any of the other Minnesota Resorts. This package starts with a Friday night “Welcome Reception” and dinner buffet. There’s evening family entertainment such as DJ and karaoke in the Bear Trap Lounge. Enjoy lots of outdoor recreations including discounted downhill lift tickets at Ski Gull Recreation Area, X-C skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice skating, broomball, snowmobiling, Cragun’s SnoMo Centre with sled and clothing rentals and more! Have a great time at Cragun’s Melissa – one of the best Minnesota Resorts on Gull Lake.

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  • Patrick of St. Cloud, MN

    This week’s lucky sweepstakes winner is Patrick of St. Cloud, MN. Patrick will be enjoying a three day, two night “Winter Fun Fest Weekend Package” at Cragun’s with more lodging choices than any of the other Minnesota Resorts. This package starts with a Friday night “Welcome Reception” and dinner buffet. There’s evening family entertainment such as DJ and karaoke in the Bear Trap Lounge. Enjoy lots of outdoor recreations including discounted downhill lift tickets at Ski Gull Recreation Area, X-C skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice skating, broomball, snowmobiling, Cragun’s SnoMo Centre with sled and clothing rentals and more! Have a great time at Cragun’s Patrick – one of the best Minnesota Resorts on Gull Lake.

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  • Mark of Owatonna, MN

    This week’s lucky sweepstakes winner is Mark of Owatonna, MN. Mark will be enjoying a three day, two night “Winter Fun Fest Weekend Package” at Cragun’s with more lodging choices than any of the other Minnesota Resorts. This package starts with a Friday night “Welcome Reception” and dinner buffet. There’s evening family entertainment such as DJ and karaoke in the Bear Trap Lounge. Enjoy lots of outdoor recreations including discounted downhill lift tickets at Ski Gull Recreation Area, X-C skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, ice skating, broomball, snowmobiling, Cragun’s SnoMo Centre with sled and clothing rentals and more! Have a great time at Cragun’s Mark – one of the best Minnesota Resorts on Gull Lake.

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