New Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo nature center opens

(ABC 6 News) – A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Friday morning for the opening of the new nature center at Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo.

The new facility replaces a nature center built in 1981. It offers park visitors more room to enjoy exhibits and learn about southeastern Minnesota’s geology, flora, and fauna. It is an interactive learning space designed to educate, enrich, and excite nature lovers of all ages.

“We are thrilled to offer visitors an opportunity to connect with the rich natural environment through our new nature center,” said Olmsted County Parks Director Karlin Ziegler. “The new nature center is a destination in its own right, with educational exhibits and live animal displays.”

School groups will also find an enhanced experience with expanded classroom space with large glass windows allowing for views outside to observe plants and animals native to the region.

“The new nature center is a testament to Olmsted County’s commitment to preserving and promoting our natural resources while providing innovative and engaging educational opportunities for visitors of all ages,” said Olmsted County Board of Commissioners Chair Gregg Wright. “We’re excited to invite everyone to come out and experience the beauty and diversity of our natural environment through the new nature center.”

The project was funded by a Greater Minnesota Parks and Trails Legacy grant, private donations raised by Friends of Oxbow (FOX), and federal funding from the American Rescue Plan Act.