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 the American plains bison genome in the state of Minnesota. A joint herd of bison that have tested free of cattle genes is being managed cooperatively at Blue Mounds State Park, Minneopa State Park, the Minnesota Zoo, and more. 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

Note: Transportation to and from Mankato, lunch, and optional activities are NOT included

Date: September 24, 2022
Age: Families of ages 10+
Times: 8:00 am to 5:30 pm
Cost: $99/person

Registration Deadline: August 27, 2022

Activity level: Easy | MODERATE | Challenging | Difficult
- 5.5-mile hike over fairly flat terrain
- Carry your own gear
- No previous experience is required

If you have any questions about accessibility, please contact [email protected]


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 Expert(s)
- Introduction to Zoo bison conservation staff
- Bison presentation
8:45 AM
- Visit Minnesota Zoo Bison Habitat
9:30 AM
- Depart for Minneopa State Park (81 miles; 1½ hours)
11:00 AM
- Arrive at Minneopa
- Drive the Bison Drive and visit the Waterfalls (and Park Office Shop if open)
12:00 PM
- DNR Staff Presentation and Picnic Lunch (not included)
- Learn about their work
- Learn about Minneopa
12:30 PM
- Hike the perimeter path with Park Naturalist
- Learn about Minneopa’s history, the bison, and the land
3:30 PM
- Wrap-Up
4:00 PM
- Depart for Minnesota Zoo (81 miles; 1½ hours)
-Optional: dinner, Traverse des Sioux Museum (not included)
5:30 PM
- Arrive at the Minnesota Zoo

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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