Spend a day or night in the natural world

If you love animals, have children, or just enjoy the great outdoors, then there’s really no excuse to not visit Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo.

The zoo is anchored in the middle of the 600-acre park, and it showcases circa 40 different Minnesota-native species, including all animal classes: fish, reptiles, amphibians, birds and mammals.

Hiking, camping, picnics and a zoo

Oxbow Park/Zollman Zoo is located on the south branch of the Zumbro River, three miles north of Byron. That creates a perfect landscape for viewing wildlife in the park at four picnic areas and along eight miles of hiking trails that wind through the woods and prairies.

The park also features a campground, a youth-group campground, and the Path of Imagination—a 2-acre natural playscape. Park staff schedules weekend, educational programs for the public to drop in and learn about the natural world.

“The park is fortunate to have the non-profit organization, Friends of Oxbow, to raise funds that allow the park and zoo to expand and enable us to build bigger, better zoo habitats,” said Clarissa Schrooten, naturalist.

Otters and Bears and Raptors, oh my!

Of course, the animals are the main stars at the zoo. Home to more than 70 animal residents, the spacious complex has something for everyone to enjoy.

The otter exhibit is a huge attraction. Observers watch in earnest to see the otters show off their graceful maneuvers as they swim in a close-up, viewable pool. Folks can watch the otters slide down the waterfall and into the pond just below.

The large animals are also a big deal. “Everyone enjoys watching the black bear behave naturally, while she forages around her exhibit at feeding time, scouring the exhibit for hidden fruits and vegetables,” said Schrooten.

The birds of prey exhibit offers eight species of raptors, all native to Minnesota, including the nation’s symbol—the bald eagle.

The timber wolves steal the attention when they start howling, and the bison, deer and elk can also be viewed outside of regular zoo hours.

Plan a Visit

Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo offers almost any outdoor enthusiast a chance to pursue his or her favorite activity: hiking, camping, fishing and picnics. One of the picnic areas also has playground equipment, and a ball field for public use. Oxbow campgrounds have campsites available, running water, restrooms and showers.

“It’s very exciting to see people of all ages who are anxious to learn, and it is reassuring to hear their comments on how all of us can improve our behaviors to protect our environment and its entire living species,” Schrooten said.

Come and be part of the nearly 50,000 visitors who visit the grounds annually. It’s your unique opportunity to pack a lunch, soak-up the sunrays, and talk to the animals, all in a beautiful, rural setting.