We generally try to find field trips that cost as little as possible. My goal is to spend between $0 to $5 max. per person. We are a family of six and anymore than that adds up quickly. We almost always pack a lunch and snacks which makes our field trips even cheaper. Paying only for admission, gas money, and an occasional special snack. Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo in Byron, Minnesota. Located in the southeastern part Minnesota it is situated right in the middle of bluff country. The drive is amazingly beautiful any time of the year!
Admission to Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo is free. They do suggest leaving a donation for the maintenance of the grounds and to help care for the animals. Leaving a donation of any size allows for others to also enjoy the park and zoo for free.
We recently made a trip over to Byron to enjoy the park, the zoo. We had an absolutely wonderful time! Our first stop was to their brand new Park of Imagination. Recently opened this fall it offers hands-on learning. The boys quickly ran over to the sandbox and quickly discovered they had actually come across a paleontology digging sight.
While the boys dug for bones and fossils, the girls were off in a whirl wind to try their hand at the instruments. Hollow logs are used to create a xylophone, a giant saw blade used as a gong, and bells in beautiful rainbow colors.
We discovered the various wing spans of birds and got a view of what a eagles nest would like close up.
Each element of the park teaches an aspect of astronomy.
Our next stop was the nature center. We viewed four different snakes, carpenter ants, turtles, fish, and a couple of salamanders. Inside the interpreter center we were able to feel the fur of a bison, read books on various animals and fossils, and ask questions to the knowledgeable staff and volunteers.
In the nature center we learned that the zoo was created after the park had been founded. The park was a colleberative effort between the city of Byron and Rochester. The zoo would be added on later when Mr. John Gilbertson, the local game warden at the time. The animals housed at the zoo are native to Minnesota. Due to injury these animals are not able to be released successfully back into the wild.
These animals do an incredible job of giving the general public an up close and personal look at the wildlife in our area. I personally believe opportunities like Zollman Zoo allow people to see the importance of maintaining as many of our wildlife areas as possible. It teaches us to build and live wisely. Realizing that our actions and how we live also affects the creatures who do not have a voice. The zoo houses animals such as a cougar, wolves, otters, porcupines, bison, a bear, eagles, deer, and many more.
After visiting the animals we walked back to the nature center where I learned about Friends of Oxbow (FOX). FOX is a group of people in the community who see the everyday importance of a place like Oxbow. These important friends put together fundraisers, help put together educational programs, and are a huge part of Oxbows success. We also learned that the park has acquired land due to land donations over the years. These land donations are important to the success of Oxbow park and helps to ensure the land around the park will not be developed. At the FOX website you will find a list of programs, web cams of the animals, and much more.
Not only is Oxbow park an amazing field trip, the park also offers camping. The Oxbow camp ground does not take reservations and is operated on a first come, first serve basis. Whether you are visiting the park for a day trip or an overnight trip take advantage their many miles of hiking trails and cross country ski trails.
Minnesota is truly blessed to have a place such as Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo. It is definitely a great Friday fun day field trip!