Twin Cities Business Listing

1225 Estabrook Drive, St. Paul, MN 55103
Admission: $0.00
Donations Welcome: $4/Adult; $2/child
Reservations are No Longer Necessary
Concessions Available
Hours of Operation:
Mon. 10:00 AM – 06:00 PM
Tue. 10:00 AM – 06:00 PM
Wed. 10:00 AM – 06:00 PM
Thu. 10:00 AM – 06:00 PM
Fri. 10:00 AM – 06:00 PM
Sat. 10:00 AM – 06:00 PM
Sun. 10:00 AM – 06:00 PM
Como Park Zoo is open 365 day/year. Showing summer hours. Beginning October 1st, the zoo will close at 4pm.

Polar bears, tigers and other big cats, primate of all kind and a variety of hoofed creatures greet visitors to Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. Como Park Zoo is a nice choice for an inexpensive outing with out-of-town guests. The greater Como Park has many picnic areas and playgrounds to add to the fun. It is a short walk to nearby attractions, including the world-famous Japanese garden, Como Town Amusement Park and Cafesjian’s Carousel. Most of the zoo is outdoors, so you will want to dress appropriately for the weather, but there are several buildings — particularly for species that do not naturally live in our Minnesota climate. These are good places to pop into when it rains or if you need to warm up a bit in winter. The Conservatory is also a nice option in these cases. It is delightfully summery year round with tropical gardens featuring a variety of flowers like orchids, green ferns and pretty pathways.

Toddler Girl Looking Through View Scope at Como Zoo, Saint Paul Minnesota
Taking a closer look at Como Zoo’s big cats.

Reservations No Longer Required

Saint Paul no longer requires advanced reservations to visit the Como Zoo, the visitor center or the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory.

Como Zoo Hours and Prices

Como Zoo is open 365 days a year and has two sets of hours from April through September, it is open from 10am to 6pm; and from October through March it closes two hours earlier, 10am to 4pm.

Como Zoo provides FREE admission and is open to anyone regardless of ability to pay, but a voluntary donation of $3/adult and $2/child helps pay for care and feeding of the plants and animals.

Bringing and Buying Food at Como Zoo

You can bring a picnic or other food to Como Zoo. There are picnic benches and grassy spaces around the zoo and nearby in the larger park. You can also purchase food from their vendors. However, they do not want you bringing food and beverages into the zoo buildings.

Como Zoo Directions and Parking

Find directions to the zoo here or use the mapping feature on our calendar below. There are parking lots throughout Como Park, including right next to the zoo. However, in the summer months, you’ll save a great deal of hassle and frustration if you park at the State Fair Grounds and take the shuttle to the zoo and back to your car.

Park and Ride Bus to Como Zoo in Saint Paul, Minnesota
Save the Hassle AND Make the Kids Happy — Park and Ride.

10 Anytime Family Fun Ideas at Como Park Zoo

Check out these 10 unique experiences any time you visit Como Zoo:

1) Como Zoo Animal Visit Checklist

You can use the following checklist when visiting the zoo to see how many of these animals you can find while exploring. If you want to learn more about any of the residents of the zoo, click on their images at the como website; and if you would like a como zoo map to help you find your way to a specific habitat, download the visitor guide here or grab one at the entrance.

  • Large Cats – lions, tigers, cougars
  • Primates – gorillas, apes, orangutans and more.
  • Hoofed Animals – Zebras, giraffes, bison, reindeer etc.
  • Polar Bears, Penguins & Puffin

2) Como Harbor

Como Harbor is the reinvention of Como Zoo’s seals and sea lions habitat. Como built the new habitat to dramatically improve the care they can provide to seals and sea lions and also offer visitors better views and face-to-face experiences. In fact, zookeepers believe Como Harbor exceeds all best practices for care of seals and sea lions. Seals and sea lions are part of the pinniped family and Como has three pinniped species: two gray seals, two harbor seals, and four sea lions, including Sparky. The habitat features a large outdoor salt-water pool that the seals and sea lions will use all year and a private state-of-the-art indoor facility for the care of the animals.

Other updated amenities include a shaded amphitheater, an underwater viewing discovery zone, modern bathrooms, a new outdoor café’ named Pier 56.

3) The Sparky Show

KSTP Amphitheater at Como Harbor 1225 Estabrook Drive, St Paul, MN 55103

Sparky the Sea Lion holding a basket during a show at Como Zoo in St. Paul, Minnesota
Sparky-the-Sea-Lion. Image courtesy of Como Zoo

The “Sparky Show” is a sea lion show that began in 1956 and featuring Como’s sea lion ambassador, Sparky (now Sparky the VI). It has evolved through the years into an educational show where visitors learn about nature, conservation, and animal care. After a four-year hiatus, it is returned in the summer of 2022.

4) Gorilla Forest Exhibit

Image courtesy Como Park Zoo
A Western Lowland Gorilla couple with baby gorilla

Alice, the female gorilla who lost her first baby in 2014, gave birth to another baby in October of 2017. The baby girl was four pounds at birth and is only the third gorilla to be born at Como.

5) Visit The Snow Leopards

A Snow Leopard at Como Zoo, Saint Paul Minnesota
Como Zoo in Winter – Snow Leopards

Como Zoo welcomed a mating pair of European-born snow leopards in March 2016. Zoo keepers tell us these cats are fun to watch. The are young and playful.

6) Flower Shows

Girl Showing purple flower at Como Conservatory in Saint Paul Minnesota
Como Conservatory

Seasonal flower shows are show year round in the Sunken Garden. Lovely anytime, this is particularly nice December through March, when flowers are non-existent outdoors.

7) Giraffe Feeding Station (May-September)

The new baby female, born Monday August 24th, is the 6th calf born to Clover and the 19th giraffe birth at Como Zoo in the last 22 years. The yet-to-be named female weighs 135 pounds and stands 5’ 8” tall. Como’s current herd currently consists of Clover, Daisy, Skeeter (father), Sky, and the new female.
Image courtesy Como Zoo

Pay $5 to feed a giraffe some lettuce at 10:45 a.m. daily and also 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. There is also another observatory deck for free viewing. Giraffe feeding closes for the season in October and reopens.

8) Ribbitt Zibit

Two kids viewing the Ribbitt Zibit at Como Zoo in St. Paul, MInnesota
Ribbitt Zibit

A place to get up close to the small amphibians of the zoo.

9) Leonard Wilkening Children’s Gallery

This indoor space, nestled between the zoo entrance and the conservatory, is designed for small children to learn about plants and animals in a hands-on manner.

Children playing on climbing structure featuring a turtle, giraffe, gorilla and tiger in the Leonard Wilkening Children's Gallery - Como Zoo Spring Edition

10) Tropical Encounters exhibit

The Tropical Encounters exhibit is an indoor rainforest immersion experience. You’ll see a sloth, stingrays, turtles, amphibians, an anaconda and birds flying free. There are also smaller displays with tropical insects.

Como Zoo Special Events

If you pick the right time in the summer, there is often live music and other activities. The Conservatory also offers Music Under Glass on Winter Sundays. This is a good opportunity to check out their ongoing flower shows, too. Throughout the year, the zoo will dedicate a weekend to explore specific topics related to their mission. Check our Family Fun Calendar for special events.

In particular, families love these annual events:

1) Mother’s Day Bonsai Exhibit

A favorite of ours is the Mother’s Day Bonsai Exhibit. Not that we need an excuse to get to the zoo in May, but who can resist tiny trees?

2) Groovin’ in the Garden

Outdoor concerts start just after the zoo closes on Wednesdays in June and July. These shows are perfect for the whole family with the addition of fun outdoor games and food available to purchase – or just bring along a picnic.

3) Japanese Obon Festival – Lantern Release

This annual late-summer festival now requires advance tickets and usually sells out. It is still an affordable $5/adult and $3/child. Como Zoo provides a shuttle.

4) Halloween Events

The zoo used to offer the Como Zoo Boo as an annual fundraising event. They discontinued after 2017 but offer spooky programming in its place. There is also traditionally a pumpkin patch at Como Park.  If you are looking for the Jack-o-Lantern Trail, that is held at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.

5) Music Under Glass

There is no age restriction on these concerts held in the conservatory, but it is a little closer quarters than the summer concerts, so these events may be best with older kids and teens.

6) Noon Year’s Parties

Como traditionally greets the new year with two parties — one on the 31st and one on the 1st — where they have a ball drop at noon,  dancing, games, and special animal enrichment.

Birthday Parties

The zoo offers birthday bash packages featuring six unique party themes – each with live animal visitors, plants, or a personal tour of a featured animal exhibit (public area). For an added fee, Como will provide pizza and cake. Packages starting at $250.

Find more birthday party ideas at FFT’s Ultimate Guide to Birthday Parties in the Twin Cities

Classes and Camps

Como offers seasonal classes for all ages and abilities. Classes usually start at $15/child and are often a parent/child activity. Learn more about camps at FFTC’s Guide to Twin Cities Summer Camps.

Boy playing at Leonard Wilkening Children's Gallery, Como Zoo, Saint Paul, Minnesota

Where to find Sharks at Como Zoo

Just kidding, Como doesn’t have a sea aquarium, just the small fish aquariums with mainly Minnesota native species. If you want to see sharks in the Twin Cities, you have three choices, the Minnesota ZooSea Life Minnesota at the Mall of America, and the Seaquest at Rosedale Center.

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