4/5/2013 12:42:00 PM Oxbow waking up after winter; camping opens in May
By David Richards
Oxbow Park in Byron is still drying out from a wet, snowy March. At nearby Zollman Zoo, the bear is up from a long winter's nap and the prairie dogs, who haven't been seen since last fall, have come out from underground.
It all means spring is here, and a schedule full of activities are planned for what park employees call one of Minnesota's "best kept secrets."
"For some reason, there's always people who never knew we were here," said Jean Davison, Oxbow volunteer.
Camping opens the first weekend in May, but before that, several programs are planned for this month.
This Saturday, April 13, raptor feeding will be held at 3 p.m. Visitors can meet staff in front of the raptor exhibit and witness the sometimes ravenous tendencies of these creatures.
On Saturday, April 20, children's zoo time is planned at 10 a.m., where kids can gather at the nature center and get the opportunity to see critters up close, and even touch one.
On Saturday, April 27, at 3 p.m. Feed the Critters will be featured, allowing visitors to join staff on a short tour through the zoo during an evening feeding.
The schedule is just as packed in May.
On Saturday, May 4, a wildflower hike will start at 1:30 p.m. at the nature center classroom. A bison feeding kicks off at 1 p.m. Saturday, May 11, with Spring Fest and "The ABC's of Bees" wrapping up the month on May 18 and May 25 respectively.
The annual Spring Fest is slated from 11 to 3 p.m. May 18 and features a day of food, fun and games all presented by the Friends of Oxbow. Activities include animal feedings, kids games and a silent auction.
"The ABC's of Bees: A Honey Bee Flyover" will be held at 1 p.m. May 25. The day features a short course on honeybees, a short walk to the hives at Oxbow and a wrap up overview of bee keeping basics.
Oxbow Park was formed when Olmsted County purchased the original 465 acres of land. A zoo began informally in 1969 with the donation of native Minnesota animals from John Gilbertson, a regional game warden.
Zollman Zoo is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily. Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo is located at 5731 County Rd 105 northwest in Byron; (507) 775-2451.