Surprisingly loud and extraordinary to take in, watching the swans in Monticello’s Swan Park is enough to take your breath away. From mid-November through March Swan Park is home to over 2,000 trumpeter swans – which is one of the largest congregations of trumpeter swans in the world. Beyond swans, many other waterfowl rest in the area, such as ducks, geese, and even bald eagles.
The park has an interesting history which began over 25 years ago when Jim and Sheila Lawrence began feeding swans in open water created by the Monticello Nuclear Power Plant. For additional details, the Star Tribune did a nice write up of the park back in 2014, “Swans Flocking to Monticello.”
Feeding time is at 10:30am everyday. The Monticello Chamber of Commerce website has a link to a webcam so you can check in on the action anytime. Click here to view the webcam.
The park is small, and there is nothing there besides the viewing area (though that’s more than enough for this hidden gem). Parking spots are available right off of the street in front of the park, and there is a bench to sit and take in the view at the overlook. The park has private residences on each side of it.
Monticello is about one hour from the Twin Cities. If you want to make a day of it, sKIDaddlers has a number of listings for things to do and see in the area. Top recommendations include:
- Bring your swimsuits and go for a swim inside at the Monticello Community Center & Indoor Water Park
- Get your jump on and burn off some energy at 321 Jump, an indoor inflatable play space
- Bring your ice skates or cross country skis and spend some time outside at Lake Maria State Park. Lake Maria also offers camper cabins if you want to make a weekend of it!