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Byron, MN (KROC AM News) - A groundbreaking was held Wednesday for a long-planned project at Olmsted County’s Oxbow Park.

Olmsted County

The current nature center building is being replaced by a new facility that should be ready for the public in the fall of 2022.

Oxbow Zoo Nature Center rendering
Oxbow Zoo Nature Center rendering

The $5-million project was given a big boost last year when the county was awarded a $2.1-million grant from the Greater Minnesota Regional Parks and Trails Commission. The current nature center was built in 1980.

Oxbow Zoo Nature Center rendering


According to the county:

“The new nature center will nearly triple in size, providing more exhibits and interactive learning area as well as more larger programming and event space. The exhibit hall and interpretive areas will feature the geology and habitats of southeast Minnesota giving residents and visitors a glimpse of our unique and special region. “

“ With about 400,000 people visiting the park each year and numbers increasing by 25,000 annually, the current nature center, built in 1980, is in dire need of upgrades and an expansion to keep up with demand. “

The overall project cost is $7.5 million, and Olmsted County is covering $3.5 million. The Friends of Oxbow Park organization is working hard to build support for the new nature center and has set an ambitious fundraising goal of $1 million.

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