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Olmsted County Parks

Olmstead County Parks is located in Rochester, Minnesota, in a wooded area right off the main highway, about a 10-15 minute drive outside the city of Rochester. The town of Rochester is Minnesota's third-largest city, populated at over 200,000. Known for its Mayo Clinic and IBM facility, Rochester is rated as one of the best cities to live in according to the financial magazine titled "Money". Olmstead County Parks has two parks for its consumers to stay in: Chester Woods Park and Oxbow Park.


The property sits on a 620 acred park, filled with natural resources as well as several hiking trails for tourists to explore. Olmstead has 80 total sites, divided between the two campgrounds, which include two camper cabins as well as 78 other sites. One of the main attractions found within the park is their Zollman Zoo, located in Oxbow Park. In this zoo, local animals such as bears, eagles, and otters can be found, all of whom were rescued and treated for various injuries. Olmstead takes pride in helping these animals recover from their injuries and inform the local tourists of the dangers the forest possesses for each animal. Further up Oxbow Park is their ski trail, where people who like to ski or snowboard can go to hit the slopes. Fishers will enjoy the other park, Chester Woods, for its various fishing spots, as well as a lake for consumers to rent boats, canoes, paddleboards, and other devices to use.


The culture at Olmstead County Parks can best be described by its owner, Karen Ziegler, who stated, "Our goal is to get people to enjoy our parks and natural resources." A family-friendly environment, Olmstead promotes its parks by using its natural resources and a healthy landscape to appeal to its campers. Olmstead is known for its quiet atmosphere, giving campers a chance to sit back and relax from their otherwise noisy lives. Olmstead takes pride in its lakeside activities such as boating and canoeing, as well as its native animal zoo. The Zollman Zoo provides campers with an in-depth look at the local animals that inhabit the woods, such as bears, wolves, eagles, and more.


Olmstead County Parks originated in 1967 after the idea was fostered by the local County Parks Board as well as residents and leaders from the nearby cities of Rochester and Byron, Minnesota. The initial process included purchasing 465 acres of land, with the intent to provide more green space and activities for the residents of the area. The first park that was created, Oxbow Park, was named after an oxen harness due to the river bending in a similar format. During the 70s, native Minnesota animals were donated by John Gilbertson, creating the Zollman Zoo—a well sought after attraction in these campgrounds. In 1974 Olmstead purchased 107 more acres of land, bringing the total to 572, which was bought in attempts to prevent bluff land development. Finally, in 2004, additional land was donated upon the passing of Dr. David and Geraldine Donald. This land increased the totals to where they stand today at 620 acres. The owner of Olmstead is Karen Ziegler, who purchased the area from the County Parks system. Karen was enticed to go into the campground industry based on Olmstead's size and properties, as well as wanting people to "get out more."

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2122 Campass drive SE
Rochester, Minnesota 55904
United States




Karen Ziegler

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