Minnesota Bison EdVenture: Minneopa State Park

Join the Minnesota Zoo for this amazing bison adventure!

Named the national mammal of the United States in 2016, the bison is one of the largest and most iconic animals in the country.

Join the Minnesota Bison EdVenture and go behind the scenes to see what it takes to manage such large herds of these magnificent animals, discover the beauty and history of Minneopa State Park, and exercise your roaming abilities on a 5.5-mile hike around the park.

The Minnesota Zoo has collaborated with the Parks and Trails Division of the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to conserve American plains bison in the state of Minnesota. Herds of bison are being managed cooperatively at Blue Mounds State Park, Minneopa State Park, the Minnesota Zoo, Oxbow Park, and Spring Lake Park Reserve. The Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd aims to preserve and increase genetic diversity of this iconic species and restore prairie ecosystems with the reintroduction of bison across the state. Learn about this amazing partnership from Minnesota Zoo and DNR experts.

The EdVenture includes:
• Talks from Minnesota Zoo and DNR staff, with education and stories about bison, their natural history, and our ongoing conservation work.
• Breakfast pastries and snacks
• Tour of the bison facilities at the Minnesota Zoo
• 5.5-mile naturalist-led hike around Minneopa
• See the bison facilities at Minneopa
• Drive the Bison Road at Minneopa
• Meet a Minneopa Bison Ambassador
• Visit the Minneopa Waterfalls
• Minnesota State Park Day Pass
• Picnic lunch at Minneopa
• Indigenous storyteller - Tentative
Note: Transportation to and from Mankato, lunch, and optional activities are NOT included

Date: September 7, 2024
Age: Adults & Families of ages 10+
Times: 8:00 am to 5:30 pm
Cost: $99/person

Registration Deadline: August 9, 2024

Activity level: Easy | MODERATE | Challenging | Difficult
• 5.5-mile hike on a fairly flat, but natural terrain
• Carry your own gear on the hike
• No previous experience is required


8 AM
• Meet at the Minnesota Zoo
• Introductions and greeting from your Zoo trip leader(s)
• Coffee, juice, and pastries provided
8:15 AM
• Meet Minnesota Zoo Bison and Expert(s)
8:30 AM
• Restroom Break and Drive to Bison Habitat Night Quarters
8:45 AM
• Tour Bison Habitat Night Quarters
9:15 AM
• Restroom Break
9:30 AM
• Depart for Minneopa State Park (81 miles; 1½ hours)
11:00 AM
• Arrive at Minneopa State Park
• Drive the Bison Drive and visit the Waterfalls (and Park Office Shop if open)
12:00 PM
• Picnic Lunch (not included) and DNR Staff Presentation
• Intro to Minneopa State Park
12:30 PM
• Hike the Perimeter Path with DNR and Zoo Naturalist
• Learn about Minneopa’s history, the bison, and the land
• Visit bison pens
• Visit Seppman Mill
3:30 PM
• Wrap-Up & Reflection with indigenous storyteller (tentative)
4:00 PM
• Dinner/Drinks/Sites (optional: not included in the cost of the EdVenture)
• Drinks: LocAle Brewery Company, 228 Poplar St.
• Dinner Suggestions: Nolabella Kitchen + Bar at 520 Front St; Pagliais's Pizza at 524 S Front St; Pub 500 at 500 S Front St
• Site Suggestions: Reconciliation Park; 100 N Riverfront Dr; Traverse des Sioux Trails (free) and Treaty Site History Center; 1851 N. Minnesota Avenue (Saint Peter)

The itinerary may be altered due to weather, and suitable replacements will try to be scheduled. Refunds will only be made under extenuating circumstances. In case of severe weather, the EdVenture will be cancelled and a refund will be issued.


• Comfortable hiking boots/shoes that can get dirty
• A clean pair of shoes to wear if your boots get dirty
• Reusable water bottle
• Picnic lunch
• Hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses, if sunny
• Raincoat/an extra layer to wear, if rainy or chilly
Optional: Long pants and long sleeve top layer for bugs and sun, binoculars and camera

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