BYRON, Minnesota - For the first time in nearly three months, Zollman Zoo at Oxbow Park reopened for guests Saturday. The nature trails had been open during the pandemic, but the staff at Oxbow waited to reopen the zoo until it was safe.
"It's good to have people back in there, it's like a ghost town, it's been eerie walking around in there for when it was closed," park Manager Lonnie Hebl said. "But we're happy to have the people back."
With outdoor activities craved during this time, he expected this many people to show up.
"I figured there'd be a good turnout, people love this place," Hebl said. "In the summer time we run approximately 230-to-2,000 people through this place so it was no surprise that they wanted to be back out here today."
To keep everyone safe, the zoo's hours have changed -- they're open daily from 10 a.m.-to-3 p.m.. Parts of the park have been sectioned off to keep a distance between guests and animals, including felinese, who could be susceptible to Covid-19.
"We have a lot of time, money and care put into those animals so we want to make sure they're as safe as what the people are," Hebl said. "Our animals have missed the people as much as the people have missed them. People are an enrichment for them as well."
When you make your next visit to the park, Hebl wants you to make good choices to help keep the zoo open.
"wWe want people to use common sense," he said. "We want people to continue to physically distance while they're in the zoo."
Masks are not required but are recommended. The nature center and restroom is closed to the public.