In Minnesota, family fun outdoors means embracing all four seasons. If you are on this page because you are looking for a new Twin Cities-area park, playground or nature center to explore, hundreds of entries can be found through our Parks & Playgrounds Search feature. Or, continue searching hundreds more ideas of things to do with kids in the Twin Cities through our Family Directory, including family outings, services, classes, camps, birthday parties and more.
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Como Zoo Hours and Prices
Como Zoo is open every 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 is FREE and open to anyone regardless of ability to pay, but a donation of $3/adult and $2/child to 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.
Como Zoo 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.
The zoo used to offer the Como Zoo Boo as an annual fundraising event. They discontinued after 2017 with a promise that they would be bringing new Halloween programming in the future. In 2019, they offered Creepy Crawly Awareness Weekend in October. There is also usually a pumpkin patch at Como Park. While it did not happen in 2019, Wheel Fun ( who runs it) has indicated it will go forward in 2020. If you are looking for the Jack-o-Lantern Trail, that is held at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley. 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. 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?
Halloween and Pumpkins at Como Park & Zoo
Noon Year's Parties
Mother's Day Bonsai Exhibit
The zoo used to offer the Como Zoo Boo as an annual fundraising event. They discontinued after 2017 with a promise that they would be bringing new Halloween programming in the future. In 2019, they offered Creepy Crawly Awareness Weekend in October.
There is also usually a pumpkin patch at Como Park. While it did not happen in 2019, Wheel Fun ( who runs it) has indicated it will go forward in 2020. If you are looking for the Jack-o-Lantern Trail, that is held at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley.
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.
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?
Anytime Family Fun Ideas at Como Park Zoo
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.
Visit the Western Lowland Gorillas
Alice, the female gorilla who lost her first baby in 2014, has given birth to another baby on October 18, 2017. The baby girl was four pounds at birth and is only the third gorilla to be born at Como. John Dee, curator at Como Zoo, says "With this birth, everything is tracking as it should. Alice has shown herself to be very attentive, very nurturing, and very protective of her new baby, just as we hoped she would”. Gorilla babies are born nearly helpless except to cling to their mother's hair and to nurse. They stay with their mothers, who are very protective, for several years after birth. Mother and baby will remain off exhibit until they have bonded. Watch for them when they return to the Gorilla habitat.
Visit The Snow Leopards
Como Zoo welcomed a mating pair of European-born snow leopards in March 2016. Even before they have kits, zoo keepers expect the cats to be fun to watch. The are a young and playful couple, particularly Moutig, the male (pictured below).
Ongoing Exhibits at Como Park Zoo
Giraffe Feeding Station (May-September)
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.
Birthday Parties At Como Park Zoo
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 at Como Park Zoo
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.
Coming in 2020 -- Como Harbor
Como Harbor will be the reinvention of Como Zoo’s seals and sea lions habitat, While still a couple years off, work is continuing on budget and on schedule. You'll notice Como’s campus has been dug up and dismantled to make room for this year-round aquatic habitat. Como believes the new habitat will dramatically improve the care they can provide to seals and sea lions and also offer visitors better views and face-to-face experiences.
If you have visited Como Park Zoo and Conservatory this past summer, you will have noticed a whole new exhibit of dirt, mud, and construction equipment. “Guests, especially the kids, have had their nose to the fence watching the heavy equipment and trucks all summer and they have been so interested in what’s been going on”, shares Michelle Furrer, Como Campus Director.
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 Zoo, Sea Life Minnesota at the Mall of America, and the new Seaquest at Rosedale Center.
- Project Passport
- Como Zoo MN Rides
- Como Park in Spring
- Como Zoo in Summer
- Como Spring Checklist - Perfect for Rainy Days
- Family Fun Idea: Lil’ Explorer Thursdays at Como Zoo
- Mother's Day Bonsai Exhibit
- MNopedia shares a history of Como Zoo here.
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