Parks Programs for May and June 2023
Accessibility Options: Olmsted County Parks offer a variety of accessibility accommodations for park visitors and our public programming. Ranging from accommodations for mobility like our Action Trackchair, sensory sensitivities including our free rental kits, and a microphone/speaker system for improved acoustics for hearing with certain programs. We know everyone’s experience is unique. For more information on these resources contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call 507-328-7340. Please let us know need accommodations two days in advance.
Oxbow Park and Zollman Zoo
The following events take place at Oxbow Park and are subject to change.
Saturday, May 6th at 11 am – Karst Geology
Oxbow Park is home to a unique landscape underground. Karst is full of fascinating features of caves, cracks, and fissures in the bedrock. A mile hike with a naturalist will reveal the beauty of karst and waterfalls that accompany this rock feature. Meet at the Nature Center.
Saturday, May 13th at 11 am – Feed the Otters
River otters are a curious animal with many adaptations for hunting on land and fishing in the water. Watch a staff member feed the river otters at Zollman Zoo and learn fun facts about river otters. Meet at the otter exhibit.
Sunday, May 14th at 1 pm – Mother’s Day Craft
Come to Oxbow Park to make a craft for yourself, or a gift for mom or grandma! Meet at the Nature Center.
Saturday, May 20th at 9am – Birding By Ear
Join a Park Naturalist and listen to the calls of migrant and resident birds at the park. Learn fun ways to identify and remember their calls with pneumonics. No binoculars required, but you can bring your own if you would like and we’ll have a small selection available for use. For beginners and experts alike! Meet at the Nature Center.
Sunday, May 28th at 1 pm – Deer Tracks and Signs
Join us on a hike to see and discover all the signs that wild white-tail deer are in the park! We will teach signs of deer including scat, trails, tree markings, and more! Meet at the Nature Center.
Sunday, June 4th at 1 pm – Pond Study
Turtles and toads aren’t the only critters living in ponds. Join a Naturalist to play in the pond and discover who else lives there. You might be surprised at all the little creatures living in the water! Supplies will be provided. Meet in front of the Nature Center.
Saturday, June 10th at 9 pm - Fireflies
Learn about the interesting insect that produces its own light. Wait until dark and watch the fireflies light up the night. Meet at the campground restroom building.
Sunday, June 11th at 1 pm – Mindfulness Meander
Join a naturalist in a stroll through the woods to learn about the many benefits being immersed in nature has on your health. Meet at the nature center.
Saturday, June 17th from 1 pm – 3:30 pm – Track Chair Tryout
Have you seen our all-terrain Action Trackchair out and about in the park? Now is your time to take it for a test drive! Whether you need if for yourself or would just like to see what it is, join us open house style between 1:00 pm – 3:00 pm to check out the chairs and take them for a spin! Action Trackchair staff from Marshall, MN will be here to answer questions. Meet at the 2nd Bridge picnic area.
Sunday, June 25th at 11 am – All About Porcupines
This small mammal has many fascinating features! Learn how to separate fact from fiction when it comes to the porcupines’ quills. Meet at the porcupine exhibit.
Chester Woods Park
The following events take place at Chester Woods Park and are subject to change.
Saturday, May 6th at 1:00 p.m. – Rock Painting
Kids meet at Shelter 1 for some fun rock decorating! Rocks and paint markers will be available, but dress to paint! Each child will have the opportunity to decorate one stone! (Parents must accompany)
Saturday, May 13th at 7:00 p.m. – Frogs and Toads
Meet up at the Kisrow classroom as staff will lead you on a short hike through the Kisrow trail to the wetland to discover what amphibians you can hear and see!
Saturday, May 20th at 1:00 p.m. – Tin Can Windchimes
Call 507-328-7350 to reserve a spot for this fun project. Kids will make their own chimes to hang outside and listen to the beautiful sound that they make when the wind blows!
Friday, May 26th – Beach and Watercraft Rentals Open!!!
Memorial Weekend is the unofficial “start of summer!” What better way to celebrate than to head out on the lake!!!
Saturday, June 10th from 9-11 a.m. – Nature Journaling
Call 507-328-7350 to reserve your spot. This introductory class will show you fun ways to get more out of your nature experience by journaling. You’ll improve your observation skills by learning simple drawing techniques, how to incorporate words, numbers, questions, poetry, and fun ways to use color. All materials will be provided. Meet at Shelter 6
Sunday, June 11th – 3rd Annual Youth Bass Classic
Project MN Youth Outdoors is once again holding this exciting free event for youth ages 3-15. Registration starts at 7:00am with the blast off at 8:00am! All the information can be found on the Project MN Youth Outdoors Facebook page.
Wednesday, June 21st from 5-8 p.m – Rochesterfest Familyfun Night
Bring the family down to Soldiers Field Park and check out all the fun activities and booths for kids and adults. Olmsted County Parks will be there with a few critters as well!
Chester Woods Park - Audubon Programs
Birdsong Walk at Chester Woods
Saturday, June 3, 2023 / 7 - 9 am at Chester Woods / Leaders: Michael Degerstrom
Meet in the boat landing parking lot. With the Spring migration over, birds are busily defending territories, nesting, and raising young birds. The birds are difficult to see but very vocal. This trip will focus on learning many of the songs and calls of the local breeding birds. NOTE: Those wishing to also attend the Quarry Hill Walk at 9 am should plan to leave Chester Woods by 8:30 am
Damsels & Dragons
Saturday, June 17 / 2 - 4 pm / Leader Joel Dunnette
Meet in Chester Woods Park by the kiosk near the boat ramp. Dragonflies and damselflies are amazing creatures – fantastic flyers, with incredible body shapes, beautiful colors, and a distinctive life cycle. Join us to catch some of these alien-looking creatures to examine up close. Families with children are welcome at this fun activity.
Saturday, July 15 / 2 - 4 pm / Leader Joel Dunnette
Meet at Picnic Shelter #2 at Chester Woods Park. Summer is a time of abundance, particularly for insects. Their diversity and beauty is amazing, yet usually overlooked. We'll search the prairie and woods for as many as we can find. We will see up close dragonflies, butterflies, bugs, beetles, and more. Bring your kids, as this will be an active, fun search that will need their keen eyes and youthful enthusiasm.
ZVAS Annual Butterfly Count
Saturday, July 22, 2023 / All day event / Rain date is Sunday, July 23rd
Each year we survey butterflies in the Rochester area to document their populations. If you're an adult interested in butterflies, you can help with this Citizen Science project. All participants need to be prepared for the weather and able to walk a mile or more on and off trails. Having close-focusing binoculars and/or a digital camera is also very helpful for identifying the butterflies. We have several territories to survey. Novice volunteers are paired with an experienced team leader. If you're interested in participating, email editor@ZumbroValleyAudubon.org. Be sure to include your name & phone number so we can contact you to discuss participation options.
Root River Park
The following events take place at Root River Park and are subject to change.
There are currently no programs scheduled for May and June 2023.