Summer is an extremely popular time to visit Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Yes, you might have to fight a few crowds — especially on the weekends — but the attractions are, in our opinion, worth it. This season, Como is at its best with butterflies, blooms, carousel rides, live music, foam parties and more. Here are ten things to put on your checklist:
- Blooming Butterflies returns to Como on June 16th! Explore the indoor greenhouse stocked with hundreds of exotic and native species, learn about their life cycles and even release your own butterfly into the exhibit. Open during summer hours, 10am-6pm | FREE
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- Sparky the Sea Lion performs daily at his pool inside Como Zoo. Catch his antics 11:30am weekdays and both 11:30am & 3pm weekends.
- A FREE Como shuttle runs daily May 27-Aug 6 and weekends Aug 12-Oct 1 (with the exception of State Fair time). Skip the challenge of finding a spot in one of the Zoo lots and instead park at the State Fair lot south of Como Avenue. The accessible shuttle runs 9:30am-6:30pm and drops off a short walk from the visitor center entrance.
- The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory bursts with color during the annual Summer Flower Show.
- Groovin in the Garden brings live bands to the grounds in front of the Conservatory Wednesday evenings, June 7-July 26, 6-8pm. Food, treats and drinks are available for purchase or pack a picnic and bring a blanket along for a summer dinner with music. Kids are entertained with a bounce house, lawn games and a climbing wall | FREE
- Take advantage of the warm weather and meander through the Ordway Japanese Gardens. Its peaceful paths, plants and rock bridges may even chill out your kids! Open daily with Conservatory.
- The annual Como Park Japanese Obon Festival brings a collection of Japanese music, dancing, drumming, martial arts and other aspects of the culture to Como. At dusk, lanterns are lit throughout the garden as a symbol of peace. The festival takes place Aug 20, 3-9pm | Admission is $3-5/pp.
- Como Town offers a great mix of rides and attractions that will appeal mainly to kids ages 2-12. They range from the extra-gentle choo-choo train to the Tiger Trax junior roller coaster (and we even know a few adults who really enjoyed the Soaring Eagle zip line!) It’s also possible to purchase admission ($5 per child) to play in Hodge-Podge park with its flashy splash pad. New summer events this year include FREE daily foam parties and discount Dress-Up Wednesdays.
- Take a spin on the antique Cafesjian’s Carousel – $2 per rider over 1 year, Memorial Day Weekend through Labor Day, 11am-4pm weekdays and 11am-6pm weekends. Ride FREE on the following dates in 2017: May 29, July 4, July 25, Aug 24 & Sept 4.
- Play a round at Putt’er There Mini Golf open Memorial Day through Labor Day, Mon-Sat: 10am-10pm and Sun: 11am-9pm. Choose to play either 9 holes ($3/pp) or all 18 ($6/pp).