History

Time line of major events at Oxbow:

1900

Residents of Byron bought wood lots from farmers; there were about 40 of these lots on the ridges of what is now Oxbow Park

1935

A camp and swimming hole were established, 40 acres of which had been preserved as a wildlife area by local school districts

1966

Lyle Kuhlman remembers that the idea of a park was conceived in his living room with friends U. J. Eichten, Darwin Olson and Don Campbell who had a homestead north of where the Nature center is today.

1967

County purchased original 465 acres; William Caulfield owned 206 acres, the heart of the park. He had four sons; one of whom, Wilbur, owned what is now Oxbow Park.

1969

Original zoo was established from a donation by John Gilbertson, MN game warden

1974

Additional 107 acres purchased, and 3 footbridges were built

1973

Campground opened; 15 sites. October 7, dedication of the park. Bill Stark is naturalist.

1977

Zoo area named in honor of Dr. Paul E. Zollman, DVM, in recognition of his dedication to Olmsted Parks and his help in treatment of injured animals.

1981

Nature Center was completed

1982

Friends of Oxbow organized

1994

Bear/wolf/coyote exhibit built with FOX funding

1998

52 acres donated from Dr. David Donald and wife Geraldine

1999

Small predator exhibit built with FOX funding

2002

Turkey exhibit opens

2004

New Otter exhibit opens – FOX funded this exhibit

2006

Wolf exhibit expanded

2008

New raptor exhibit opens

2012

Wildcat exhibit funded by FOX is completed

2015

Natural playscape opened

2016

Latest fundraising campaign is New Nature Center