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. Note that the IMAX theatre at the Minnesota Zoo closed in the beginning of 2019.
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2020 Reopening Information
After being closed due to Covid19 concerns, the Minnesota Zoo reopened with increased safety precautions. Reservations are required for everyone. Hours have been shortened and capacity has been lowered. Play areas are currently closed. The only discounts offered at this time are the Free to Explore program and membership. Find all the details about visiting here.
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).
Russia's Grizzly Coast! We were able to get right up and personal.
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. )
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.
Flamingos! Looks like they have had plenty of shrimp!
Daily Activities at the Minnesota Zoo
There are some things you can see every day at the zoo. Others are daily during certain seasons. Find the whole list of daily activities here.
- Penguin Feeding 10 am & 2:30 pm
- Leopard Training 10 am
- Brown Bear Training 1:15 pm
- Hawaiian Monk Seal Training 2 & 3:30 pm
- Tropical Reef Dive Show 10:30 am
- Tropical Reef Shark Feeding 3 pm
- Cow Milking 11 am, 1 & 3 pm
- Birds Show 11 am 1 & 3 pm (unless there is a concert that night, than no 3 pm)