Pine Grove Zoo Debuts New River Otter Exhibit
Pine Grove Zoo in Little Falls has three new residents, Ted, Dave, and Dewie. They are a part of the zoo’s newest addition, a river otter exhibit.
“River otters are really unique. They’re different than sea otters, so these are river otters which are natural to this particular area. They are very curious and they do like to live in social groups,” said Pine Grove Zoo Director Marnita Van Hoecke. “The three we have here are not related to each other, but they act like brothers and sisters.”
The exhibit has been two years in the making at Pine Grove Zoo.
“The planning has been two years of a process. It takes a lot of planning. They went and visited other zoos that did have otters and tried to make ours more unique, a little different, and then used some of the things that worked for the other places and made them work here too,” said Vicki Villebro, Pine Grove Zoo Marketing Director.
A highlight of the otter exhibit is an 11-foot-long tunnel that takes visitors directly into the water tank.
“The tunnel is about three feet wide, three feet tall, and it’s glass,” explained Van Hoecke. “The kids can crawl through. The otters can swim up to them.”
Pine Grove Zoo is the second longest standing zoo in Minnesota and is home to dozens of different species of animals. The river otter exhibit has been a great addition to the zoo and has been a huge hit with visitors.
“I didn’t realize otters had such a following. There’s reptile people. There’s big cat people, and I didn’t realize there were otter people,” said Villebro. “They just love it. They love sitting here and just watching them play and roll around and swim. It’s just been so much fun to see it.”
“We really like it. It’s something neat here at the zoo and it’ll bring us back again,” said zoo visitor Amy Schlichting.
Pine Grove Zoo is located in Little Falls off of West Broadway. It is open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.