Passport: Zollman Zoo

Posted at: 07/04/2013 8:18 AM
Updated at: 07/04/2013 3:08 PM
By: Brianna Long

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- The question: where can you find some loving river otters, a cougar who loves perfume, and a badger with a bad attitude?

“The zoo itself houses all Minnesota-native animals. We have 35 different species that we house here,” said Karlin Ziegler.

The answer, the Zollman Zoo at Oxbow Park in Byron.

“Everything from otters to wolves, bear, cougar, bison, bald eagle, and many more,” said Ziegler.

The newest addition to that list; the wild cat exhibit.

“It cost just under $100,000 to build that. All of our exhibits are built by donations. We were able to purchase the animals and make a new wildcat exhibit that houses they lynx, the bobcat, and the cougar.

There is no admission to get in to Zollman Zoo, so it relies on donations for everything. Not only for money, but food as well.

“We get our food from different local markets around here. We get donations from people’s freezers. They’re cleaning out their freezers, we get all the freezer-burnt meat. We get gophers from our gopher-trappers around the area. And we get mice from the Mayo Clinic. The mice that are not tested on, they’re control mice. But we get a lot of different donations for food, so we keep our food costs down too,” said Ziegler.

I got to be there during feeding time for the black bear, who is especially fond of grapes.

“The black bear has a very big personality. She’s one of the ones that’s fun for us, as zookeepers, to enrich as far as toys and foods and smells,” said Ziegler.

While the animals are a big attraction, there are plenty of other things to do at Oxbow Park. There is also camping, picnic areas, and more than eight miles of hiking trails.

“It’s low cost makes it available to come out every day if you need to get your kids outside, get some energy out, and it’s a fantastic place to get to know nature,” said Ziegler.

And while you’re there, don’t forget to check out the hungry bison, and a talkative bald eagle.

Another interesting fact about the zoo, is that they don’t name the animals. Zookeepers say it’s to keep them as natural as possible, and not make them seem like a pet.