Twin Cities Business Listing

International Owl Center
International Owl Center, 126 E Cedar St., 126 E Cedar St, Houston, MN 55943
(507) 896-6957
Admission: $7.00
Admission: $7/adult ; $4/child; Under 3: FREE; More for some events like the International Owl Festival
Register for events on the center’s website
Hours of Operation:
Mon. 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Tue. Closed
Wed. Closed
Thu. Closed
Fri. 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Sat. 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Sun. 10:00 AM – 05:00 PM
Programs at 11am, 1pm and 3pm (Hours and Program Times are Subject to Change)

The International Owl Center is an owl sanctuary that is a part of the Houston Minnesota Nature Center that promotes owl conservation in Minnesota and worldwide. With the National Eagle Center as a model, the owl center has been growing since 1998. The center offers special programming and events throughout the year, including the International Festival of Owls in the spring and a Halloween event in October.

Exterior of International Owl Center in Houston Minnesota
Image courtesy of International Owl Center

A visit to the owl center will be a day-trip from the Twin Cities as it is an hour southeast of Rochester. Expect to be on the road for nearly 6 hours round trip. It might be worth planning a weekend around this visit.

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Family Fun at the International Owl Center

The center has a number of interactive displays for visitors to view inside the building. Outside, families can play in the one-acre nature playground. Crawl through tunnels or hide in stone caves, climb boulders, play in the giant sandbox, scale a climbing wall, explore a labyrinth and play owl in a people-sized owl nest.

Owl Prowls

The owl center offers expert-led Owl Prowls each fall and winter. These events start with an indoor lesson followed by an outdoor search for wild owls. Participants drive their own cars to locations. Children are welcome as long as they are capable of remaining still and quiet for 10 minutes at a time. The price of this event is $15/pp with discounts for members.

Great Horned Owl on a Branch

Membership to the International Owl Center

Unless you travel to Houston often, a membership may not be a financial savings for Twin Cities families. Although a household membership is only $45 annually, admission is normally only $5 for adults and $3 for children ages 4-17. A family with four children could visit twice a year for $44. However, if you are interested in attending more than one day of the International Festival of Owls, then membership may make more sense. Daily admission to the festival is $10/adult and $6/child 4-17. The same family of six would spend $44 on the first day of the festival.

International Owl Center Store

If you have an owl lover in your family, you may want to bookmark the online giftshop.  You’ll never run out of great owl gifts for any occasion. This is also a great place to find books about owls for kids who take an interest.  They offer everything from soft books for babies to field guides for the young naturalists.

DIY Owl Activities

Whether or not you plan to make the trip to Houston to visit the Owl Center, the DIY section of their website is worth a look.

Owl-Themed Projects and Activities

Besides the standard, crafts, coloring pages and puzzles that sites often offer, your family can find instructions for dissecting owl pellets or building your own owl nest box. I recently learned from their website that you can find a tree where an owl nests by all the gross stuff they didn’t digest below the tree (owl pellets), so maybe you don’t want to put that nest box in your kid’s play area. If you do plan to put one up in your own yard, you may want to read their tips for living an owl friendly life.

International Owl Center Livestream Owl Cam on YouTube

Watch Owl Videos on IOC’s YouTube Page. They also sometimes livestream lectures and events, but you need to sign up for those events at the website.

Owls of Minnesota

Learn about the 12 owls that call Minnesota home from the Minnesota DNR and then explore Minnesota Owl Sounds on the Audubon Society’s webpage.

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