Prairie and Bison Tour

Prairie tour vehicle at Blue Mounds State Park

 

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Online prairie and bison tour reservations are open for tours starting June 15th, 2018. See details below.

Overview

Butterfly at Blue Mounds State ParkHistorically one-third of Minnesota was covered in prairie and tens of thousands of bison once roamed. Everything changed in the late 1800's when bison were hunted to the brink of extinction and the prairie was exploited by European settlers. Today, only 1% of Minnesota’s native prairies remain.

Thanks to conservationists, both bison and prairies can still be found at Blue Mounds State Park. You can come and experience both on the one and a half hour long Prairie and Bison Tour where you can experience the sights and smells of the prairie and the bison!

Rates, schedule, and reservations

Rates

  • Adults (ages 13+): $10
  • Youth* (ages 4-12): $6

Tickets are required for everyone, including children.
*Children under 8 years old are required to use a booster seat and children under 4 years old are not permitted on the vehicle.

A vehicle permit is required to enter all Minnesota state parks. ($7/day or $35/year).

Bison at Blue Mounds State ParkTour Schedule

Memorial Day through Labor Day:

  • Friday: 1 pm*, 3 pm, 6 pm
  • Saturday: 1 pm*, 3 pm, 6 pm
  • Sunday: 10 am, 1 pm*, 3 pm

*1 pm tours will be wheelchair accessible

Labor Day Weekend tour schedule:

  • Friday: 1 pm*, 3 pm, 6 pm
  • Saturday: 1 pm*, 3 pm, 6 pm
  • Sunday: 1 pm*, 3 pm, 6 pm
  • Monday: 10 am, 1 pm*, 3 pm

*1 pm tours will be wheelchair accessible

Independence Day:

  • July 4th: 10 am, 1 pm*, 3 pm

*1 pm tours will be wheelchair accessible

Reservations

Reservations are open through Labor Day online, or by calling 866-857-2757 (TTY: 218-336-2189). Reserved tickets must be picked up at the Park Office on the day of your tour no less than 15 minutes prior to the tour departure time.

Same-day tickets

  • Tickets can be purchased at the park office from opening until 15 minutes prior to the start of the tour time.
  • Payment must be made at time of reservation.
  • Refunds will not be available for late or no-show ticket holders.

What to expect

  • Tours are 1.5 hours long.
  • Vehicle is open sided, so dress for the weather.
  • Glasses, sunglasses, or safety glasses must be work on vehicle - safety glasses available for loan at the park.
  • Children 4 to 8 years old must use a booster seat - some are available for loan at the park.
  • Route is off-road and passengers will experience bumps and dips along the uneven, unsurfaced and rugged trail. May cause motion sickness in some.
  • Bison are wild and unpredictable. They may not be visible along the tour route or may be as close at 75 feet.
  • Tours will be canceled in severe weather or heavy rainfall.
  • Pets, emotional support, or therapy animals are not allowed on the tour. Service animals are welcome.

Rider Check-List

Before Arriving at the Park

  • Dress to be outside.
  • All riders are above 4 years old and have their own ticket.
  • Riders 4 to 8 years old have a booster seat or are borrowing one at the park.
  • Bring a camera or cell phone that can be secured during the ride. No tripods.
  • Water is in a container that can seal.

At the Park

  • Arrive 15 minutes early (late arrivals will not be able to board and will not be refunded).
  • Check-in at the park office to receive boarding pass.
  • Bring your boarding pass to the loading area.
  • Use restrooms before boarding -- trip is 1.5 hours long.
  • Tobacco and vapor products are left in the car.
  • Have sunglasses, prescription glasses, or safety glasses on hand or borrow a pair at the park.
  • Bring a booster seat for children 4 to 8 years old or borrow one at the park.
  • Alert vehicle operator if you need to use the accessible lift.

Accessibility Information

All 1 p.m. tours are wheelchair accessible. The tour vehicle can accommodate one wheelchair at a time. A lift is available for any participants unable to use the vehicle stairs.

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The Prairie and Bison Tour is made possible with funding from the Environmental and Natural Resources Trust Fund and the Minnesota Clean Water, Land, and Legacy Amendment.