Avesta Visentpark is a great place to visit during the summer. Visent, or European bison is an animal that almost got extinct after 1920. But due to one man and his ideas – they are thriving and you can also find them in the wild. At Avesta Visentpark, they work with breeding the animals. Best of all is that they allow visitors to visit their place and see these grand animals up close.
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Avesta Visentpark – For the whole family
A fun fact about the European Bison is that they are large – and they know it! A male weighs about 1 000 kilos and a female about 700 kilos. And even if they are bred up in captivity, they are still wild animals. Sure, they are out on pasture and there is a fence. However, a fence won’t stop a charging visent so you need to keep your distance from the fence and respect the animals.
There are around 30 animals at the park and you will see most of them. They are divided into two groups and each and every animal here has a name. If it wasn’t for this park – the European visent might have been extinct today so this place is a really important one and not just a tourist attraction.
How it all began
Consul General Axel Johnson was the owner of Avesta Ironworks. He had a great passion for the European Bison and wanted to save it from getting extinct. The bison were living freely in the wild and a lot of them were grazing the fields in Poland. However, due to the war – there was a shortage of food and the visent started to be food on tables of poor people. To survive, hunting became bigger and bigger. Within a few years, there weren’t many European Bison left.
Axel offered up his land and they sent bison from Skansen (a Swedish zoo that helped with the bison population) to Dalarna. And there they stayed and grazed and came “back to life”. In 1918, there were only about 500 wild animals left. In 1923, the last one was shot (that we know about) and the majestic animal became endangered. To this day, they are on a threatened list but there are about 6 000 of the European bison out in the world.
Visent or European Bison
Out of the 6 000 European bison (visent) that are running wild in Europe, they all have the same 12 ancestors. In Avesta they practice controlled inbreed. The American bison is bigger than the European and they have around 350 000 American bison in the USA. In the 1860s they had 60 million?! However, it’s great that there are nice people out there that look after animal’s well-being.
There are about 30 visents at Avesta Visentpark today. At Eriksberg in Blekinge, they also have a lot of these animals. And it’s super impressive that, even though the animals are so big, they can still run up to 40 kilometers per hour. All this and more information is waiting for you when you arrive here.
Walk around at Avesta Visentpark by yourself
The entrance fee to the park is around 10 euros per adult. That gives you access to the park and to the houses that are on the premises. Stubbvedens farm is a small property containing two houses and a barn. You can go inside and see what life was like here during the 1920s and -30s.
The photographs inside the house are authentic and they are pictures of the people that used to live here. Make sure to take your time while being inside the house. There are three animal-holding areas inside the park. You are guaranteed to see visent while being here. Since they can be dangerous and can’t be stopped by the fence – make sure to not walk too close to them. Also, make sure to visit the exhibition where you will get lots more information about the European bison.
Take a guided tour at Avesta Visentpark
Add another 4 euros to your entrance fee ticket and you can join a guided tour of the park. Thomas Nyberg is one of the guides that work here and he will show you around. This is a great option for everyone that wants to learn more about the European bison and the work that is done at the park.
The breeding program here is super important for the conservation of the bison. By coming here and spending your money, you are helping them to continue with their important work. If you want to do more things while being in Avesta, you can also buy a combination ticket for the park and Verket & Avesta Art for about 15 euros. This is a great way to experience the best of Avesta. Also, make sure to visit the café at the park where you can buy a hamburger made out of bison.
The rules at Avesta Visentpark
Since the animals here are large and potentially dangerous, there are several rules that you need to follow while visiting Avesta Visentpark. Some of them are:
- Dogs are not allowed. Keep in mind that the car can become really hot during the summer so the dog is better off staying at home.
- You are not allowed to feed the animals. If feeding is your thing, you can visit Sahlins struts (an ostrich farm in Dalarna).
- Don’t yell or scream while visiting. You might scare the animals.
- Keep close to the guide during the guided tour.
Do you want to see the animals that hunt bison up close then go to Orsa predator park, it is not too far from Avesta visentpark if you travel by car.
Information about Avesta Visentpark
Address: Gammelängsvägen 7, Avesta.
Opening hours: Daily from May to September and on some public holidays.
Entrance fee: About 10 euros for the park and 4 euros extra for a guided tour.
Website of Avesta Visentpark.