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

Good News! Como has extended Lil’ Explorer Thursdays through the summer in 2018. Now we can attend the same great school-year program during the warm months! 

Anne wrote about her experience with Lil’ Explorers in the Fall of 2016. Read why she loves the program and find the Spring/Summer 2018 schedule at the bottom.

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 Spring/Summer 2018 Schedule

  • May 3 – Gorgeous Gorillas
  • May 10- Plenty of Penguins
  • May 17- Limber Lions & Tigers
  • May 24- Flourishing Flowers
  • May 31- Playful Polar Bears
  • June 7- Fun with Fruits
  • June 14-Outstanding Orangutans
  • June 21- Glorious Giraffes
  • June 28- Fluting Flamingos and Friends
  • July 5- Plenty of Penguins
  • July 12- Flourishing Flowers
  • July 19- Limber Lions & Tigers
  • July 26- Gorgeous Gorillas
  • August 2- Playful Polar Bears
  • August 9– Fun with Fruits
  • August 16- Outstanding Orangutans
  • August 23- Glorious Giraffes
  • August 30- Fluting Flamingos and Friends


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