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13000 Zoo Boulevard, Apple Valley, MN 55124
Admission: $19.95
Pre-Ordered Tickets Required. Scroll to the bottom for a Ticket Link
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

One of the biggest attractions in the Twin Cities is located in the Southern Metro: The Minnesota Zoo. Located on 500 acres off Cedar Ave. in Apple Valley, the zoo opened in May, 1978. The Minnesota Zoo’s mission is to connect people, animals, and the natural world.

Articles Related to the Minnesota Zoo

What to do at the Minnesota Zoo

While it’s not the famous San Diego Zoo with Jack Hannah, it is the biggest zoo in our state, and the Minnesota Zoo holds its own. The Minnesota Zoo has 546 different species of animals and altogether it has 4,200 animals.

Different trails and exhibits fill the zoo. During the summer, you are able to roam the

  • Northern Trail,
  • Russia’s Grizzly Coast,
  • or the Family Farm.

The winter months are more likely going to entice you to stay inside to visit

  • the Minnesota Trail (a trail enclosed in a building, but with windows out to the different animal habitats),
  • the Tropics Trail,
  • and Discovery Bay (where the dolphins used to live, but it is still full of other marine life).

Grizzly Coast at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, Minnesota
Grizzly Coast

Russia’s Grizzly Coast!  We were able to get right up and personal.

Flamingos!  Looks like they have had plenty of shrimp!

Exploring outdoors at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley Minnesota

You can pretend to be paleontologists and dig up mammoth fossils.

Discovery Bay used to host dolphins, but the dolphins have moved on, and they have shut down the pool for major renovations.  When they reopen, I believe they are going to be checking in some new residents like sharks and such.

Hanging out at the Family Farm.  (there is also a grain elevator which is a HUGE play area for kids right outside the Family Farm. )

The Farm at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley Minnesota

My friend and I were so curious about the chickens!  And their funny feathers.

On the Tropics Trail:  Monkeys, tortoises, Komodo Dragon, birds, and to be fair — snakes and bats.  Honestly, I ran through those exhibits because to be able to leave, we had to follow the trail through those habitats.  I. Hate. Snakes/Bats.

A Gray Langur at the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, MInnesota
Gray Langur

Don’t expect to see Elephants or Giraffes or Zebras. While they don’t have those or lions, the Minnesota Zoo is proud to work with Tigers and other exotic cats: Lynx and Leopards.
Some of the popular animals are brown bears, grizzly bears, camels, musk oxen, porcupines, Gibbons, Lemurs, Tree Kangaroos, Red pandas, wolverines, and gray wolves.
The Minnesota Zoo hosts shark feedings, wild bird shows, penguin shows, cow milking demonstrations, and coral reef diving shows.  And don’t forget the monorail.  When I was a kid in the 1980’s, it was the premiere state-of-the-art technology.  Now, it’s just a fun ride.
A full day at the Minnesota Zoo will wear you out and your children out. I recommend it for a full day of fun.  It’s a bit on the pricey side, but they do offer group rates and there is always the option to buy a year membership. They allow you bring in picnic lunches to help save on cost.  However, if you need it, they also have food vendors.

Daily Zoo Activities

There are some things you can see every day at the zoo. Others are daily during certain seasons. And circumstances can also change offerings. These are some of the activities you may see at a visit to the zoo:

  • Penguin Feeding
  • Leopard Training
  • Brown Bear Training
  • Hawaiian Monk Seal Training
  • Tropical Reef Dive Show
  • Tropical Reef Shark Feeding
  • Cow Milking
  • Birds Show

Birthday Parties at the Zoo

The zoo has a variety of birthday party packages – some of them are even overnight. Prices range from $300 – $825 with options for additional guests.

Minnesota Zoo Hours

The Zoo is open daily between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m., with special members hours between 9:00 a.m. and 9:30 a.m. Online reservations are currently required due to capacity restraints.

The former IMAX Theatre at Minnesota Zoo

The IMAX theatre at the Minnesota Zoo closed in the beginning of 2019. Enjoy the IMAX experience at the Science Museum of Minnesota

Useful Links

*Some images courtesy Minnesota Zoo, used with permission. Exterior Zoo Sign image credit used with Creative Common license approval.

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