Family Fun: Lil’ Explorer Thursdays at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory

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With the passing of summer and the start of a new school year I look forward to spending more quality time with my youngest while her older siblings are away for the day. Because let’s face it: when I’m down to one kid there’s less mess, fewer fights to break up, and not as many opinions to consider when we’re deciding how to spend our day.  For instance, I can take my preschooler to Lil’ Explorer Thursdays at Como Zoo & Conservatory without a single complaint from her big sibs.

It’s a perfect morning outing for the 4-and-under set. Particularly in the winter if you’ve been feeling cooped up inside but don’t relish bundling everyone up to play out in the frigid temps. Between the sun shining through all those windows and the lush tropical greenery you can almost imagine you’ve been transported out of Minnesota. While we are there we can choose  to visit the rest of the Zoo (which still has plenty open) or even explore the larger Como Regional Park.

Lil' Explorer Thursdays

Plus, the kids will be completely occupied by the weekly themed activities. Running through April, each Thursday is packed with games, art projects, sensory tables, and interactive storytimes with Como staff. My kids have planted flowers, dug for worms, gone “fishing” and sponge-painted butterflies to their heart’s content in the hallway connecting the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory to the Como Zoo’s Visitor Center. Get the full 2017 schedule below to see if one of the upcoming themes might appeal to your little naturalist.

I’m planning on arriving at 10 a.m. tomorrow myself. First order of business for the day is seeing my scholars off to the bus stop – and then taking some time to enjoy my littlest ones before she’s boarding that bus herself.  


Lil' Explorer Thursdays

Lil’ Explorer Thursdays at Como
Time: 10am-12pm
Cost: Event is free; suggested donation of $3 per adult and $2 per child is appreciated. Free parking is available in the adjacent lots and streets.

Lil’ Explorer Thursdays 2017 Schedule

  • September 7 – Junior Gardener
  • September 14 – Fun with Fish
  • September 21 – Bird Buddies
  • September 28 – Fantastic Frogs
  • October 5 – Animal Families
  • October 12 – Reptile Rock & Roll
  • October 19 – Junior Zoo Keeper
  • October 26 – Busy Bugs
  • November 2 – Teddy Bear Picnic
  • November 9 – Furry Friends
  • November 16 – Down on the Farm
  • November 23 – No Program due to Thanksgiving
  • November 30 – Diggin’ Dinos
  • December 7 – Fancy Flowers
  • December 14 – Night Time
  • December 21 – Animals in Winter
  • December 28 – Under the Sea

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About the author

Anne Kingston

If we left it up to Anne to write her own bio, it would never get posted. She doesn't enjoy talking about herself, but Anne does love exploring the Twin Cities with her family and sharing her finds here. She, her husband and their four kids are lifelong residents of St. Paul.


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