Minnesota Mussel EdVenture

Join the Minnesota Zoo for this mussel adventure!

Minnesota is home to 50 species of native freshwater mussels. These small, colorful creatures live in our streams, rivers, and lakes, cleansing our waterways by filtering out excess nutrients and other particles. Clean, healthy water is core to Minnesota’s identity and clean water requires a lot of mussel power!

Join Minnesota Zoo staff for a journey into the story of freshwater mussels and healthy water. Tour mussel-rearing facilities, hear the stories from the professionals, search for mussels in the wild, canoe the St Croix River, and possibly help the Zoo with some hands-on projects. We will start at the Minnesota Zoo and end at Interstate State Park in Taylors Falls. Folsom Island in Interstate State Park is the most diverse spot for freshwater mussels in Minnesota. This spectacular location is home to nearly 30 different species, including four Federally and several State listed endangered species.

Considered unremarkable and often overlooked, mussels are extraordinary “ecosystem engineers,” making streams healthier for plants and animals; have fantastic names like elktoe, monkeyface, and fatmucket; and can live over a hundred years. Unfortunately, a full half of our native species are listed as endangered, threatened, or of special concern. What are the threats facing these tiny animals? Learn more as we travel to their wild habitats.

A FREE 2-3 hour paddle down the St Croix River to Osceola is an option for all guests. A shuttle will bring you back to Taylors Falls.

• For those going on the afternoon paddle, make sure to pack a lunch
• For those not going on the afternoon paddle, you are welcome to join us for lunch in Taylors Falls

Note: Transportation to and from Interstate State Park is not included.

Date: Saturday, August 10, 2024
Age: 12+; participants younger than 16 must be accompanied by a paying adult
Times: 8:00 am-12:00 pm
Cost: $100/person; includes a light breakfast

Registration Deadline: August 2, 2024

Activity Level: Easy | MODERATE | Challenging | Difficult
• 1 to 3-hour canoe paddle on a potentially fast-moving river
• • Carry your own gear from vehicle to dock across a paved parking lot
• Canoeing experience is helpful, but not required

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

Tentative Itinerary:

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 Mussel Expert
• Minnesota native mussel presentation

8:30 am

Tour Minnesota Zoo Mussel Research Facility

9:15 am

Depart for Interstate State Park (66 miles; 1 hour & 15 minutes)

10:30 am

Arrive at Interstate State Park
• Taylors Falls Canoe & Kayak Rental, Minnesota Interstate State Park, 307 Milltown Road, Taylors Falls, MN

10:30 am

Paddle Prep and Trip
• We’ll paddle upstream to and around Folsom Island (~1/2 mile)
• This is prime mussel habitat!
• We’ll make a number of stops to get out and look for wild native mussels

12 pm

Return to Taylors Falls Canoe & Kayak Rental for Lunch and Debrief

12:30 pm


12:30 pm

Optional 7-mile (2-3 hour) canoe trip down the St Croix to Osceola on your own

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.

Suggested Packing List:
• Water shoes for canoeing
• Other shoes to wear during the rest of the EdVenture
• Snacks
• Towel
• Seat cushion or extra towel to sit on
• Reusable water bottle
• Garbage bag (to pack out any trash you may have)
• Floatation devices/water bag for cell phones and car keys
• Hat, sunscreen, and sunglasses, if sunny
• Raincoat/an extra layer to wear, if rainy or chilly
• Mosquito/tick repellant
• Binoculars and camera
• Sack lunch if going on the afternoon paddle
• Money for lunch or dinner if you plan to stay and eat in Taylors Falls

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