7 Ways to Get Minnesota Zoo Discounts

Minnesota Zoo Ticket Discounts

Visiting the Minnesota Zoo is not free or even cheap, especially if you have a large family. In 2021, tickets for children over 2 years old cost $13.95 and adults cost $19.95. Plus, you will need to add on $7.00 to park, unless you bus or are lucky enough to live close enough to walk. A family of four will spend $70.00 even if you pack a lunch and avoid the gift shop. Need to rent a stroller? Add another $5.00. How does a family find Minnesota Zoo Discounts?

Real coupons for the Minnesota Zoo are rare, and as far as I can find, there is no Secret Minnesota Zoo Promo Code. I’d beware of any site offering one. Also, before chancing “coupons” from shady sites, know the real prices (listed in this article). I’ve seen sites offering “discounts” but asking full price for things like parking. However, there are ways to get legitimate discounts. These are the best evergreen offers we have found. If you know of any others, drop us a line, we’ll share your suggestions with the community.

In 2021, the Minnesota Zoo is requiring visitors to pre-purchase timed tickets – even members need to book in advance, and many of our favorite ways to get discounts are not currently offered as capacity has been reduced. See below.

2 Currently Legitimate Minnesota Zoo Discounts

Minnesota Zoo Membership

A basic household membership is $139.00 and includes two adults and all the children living under the same roof. For a family of four, this will be paid for in just over two visits. If you like to bring guests when you visit, go for the “plus” memberships.

Membership is another place where you will want to know regular prices before taking a chance on shady “coupon” sites:

  • Individual: $65.00
  • Individual Plus: $119.00
  • Dual: $119.00
  • Household: $155.00
  • Household Plus: $179.00
  • Grandparents: $155.00
  • Grandparents Plus: $179.00

Currently, members need to login to their account before pre-ordering tickets.

Member Bonus: Your membership includes 50% discounts to zoos around the country, including some of the best zoos in the Midwest. You can take advantage of reciprocity when visiting relatives around the country. Note, however, that like the Minnesota Zoo, other zoos may be temporarily suspending this discount.

Free to Explore Program

This program (formerly the Zoo Access Program) is the MN Zoo discount for low income families, although the cut off is not actually that low. The program gives free admission to families enrolled in a government assistance program, and that includes Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare and WIC, so even some middle income families may find they qualify. Those who do qualify only need to pay the $7.00 parking fee. Bring documentation with you.

Currently, you can either complete the form on this page to reserve your Free to Explore tickets or call 952.431.9200 for assistance.

5 Minnesota Zoo Discounts Currently on Hold:

The zoo is not currently accepting any coupons, group discounts or general discounts presented to companies or other organizations, including reciprocal zoos. If you have a complimentary ticket and would like to use to reserve your visit, please follow the instructions here. These currently include the following standbys:

Minnesota Zoo Military Discounts

Military personnel receive $2.00 off admission any time, while their accompanying family members receive $1.00 off admission. The zoo also offers military specials at various times during the year. Next Special has not been announced.

Take Public Transportation:

Present your bus transfer ticket at the Zoo’s ticket desk and receive $2.00 off adult/ $1.00 off child on admission. I assume you wouldn’t be paying parking then either.

Check Your Benefits From Other Memberships:

While reciprocal deals change regularly, it’s worth a quick check of your membership benefits before heading out (AAA often offers discounts, as do museums, public television, etc.)

Make it A Gathering:

Groups of 15 or more can get MN Zoo discount tickets. Adults will save $3 on their tickets and kids tickets are only $10.25 with group pricing. So, gather the cousins, grandparents, or even your play group and go together. Outings are sometimes more fun in groups.

As of March 2022, group tickets available, but not at a discount. 


This isn’t really an option for families with small children, but adults and teens aged 13+, can apply for volunteer positions. There is no Minnesota Zoo student discount, so this may be a good option for students.

  • These discounts are not stackable. For instance, you can’t take a military discount on top of a AAA discount.
  • Amazon links in this article are affiliate links and Family Fun Twin Cities receives a small commission on sales.
  • Family Fun Twin Cities is not associated with the Minnesota Zoo. We are only sharing information. For more information regarding tickets, prices and visiting, please contact the MNZoo.
  • If you know of any legitimate Minnesota Zoo discounts that we missed, leave us a comment and we’ll share with the community.

Other Ways to Save at the Minnesota Zoo

For the most part, once you are in the zoo, you don’t need to spend more money, but there are a few places you can avoid spending. 

  1. Pack a Lunch. You can bring food into the Minnesota Zoo and eat at one of the many picnic tables around the grounds.
  2. Bring your own stroller. Stroller rental is $5-$8, and while that isn’t a much in the big picture, every little savings helps.
  3. Carpool. Not only will you save on parking, but you’ll save on gas, too.
  4. Compare the price of taking the bus to the price of parking. Most families will find that parking is cheaper, but its worth a look.
  5. Avoid the Camels. Can you really blame your kids for wanting a $7 camel ride? I can’t, so just don’t go that direction and you’ll save $7/pp.
  6. Skip the Gift Shop. I know that is the fun part and that proceeds help the zoo, but if you are trying to conserve, this is a good place to do it.


The Other Zoo

While the Minnesota is definitely a treat to visit, it is not the only zoo in the Minneapolis/St. Paul metro.  Is Como Zoo or Minnesota Zoo better? That’s a personal preference, but Como Zoo is FREE and Open to the Public 365 days a year.

Toddler Girl Looking Through View Scope at Como Zoo, Saint Paul Minnesota

14 thoughts on “7 Ways to Get Minnesota Zoo Discounts”

  1. Can you still get using food stamp card? I have 2 food stamp cards and 1 of them don’t have a name on it,,, just curious

    1. Yes. MN EBT Card are one of the programs accepted for the Free to Explore Program. Follow the link above or call 952.431.9200. You’ll still need make a reservation at this point, but they can do that for you at the link or the phone number.

  2. MERSC used to have pretty good discount of up to $5 off per individual ticket, however they no longer do that now due to Covid. Another way I did was through Medica.com health assessment questionnaires and earn $20-100 reward and I took Mn zoo gift cards to pay towards membership.

    1. Yes! Private perks can be awesome and its always good to know what you can get through your employer, your insurers, schools and associations.

  3. When I am on the website there is no area to enter in your membership number therefore they’re asking for full payment. Where is it that I can reserve tickets Under my membership number so I am not charged. We are also on medical assistance so that would be applicable as well but again there is no area when you check out enter this information to get the tickets ???

    1. Hi Kristen: When you are on the first page of the ticketing, there is a place to login. You will see that it says “Login · Don’t Have An Account? · Continue Shopping · Promo Code” across the top. Login or create an account with your membership number there. If you are using the FREE to Explore program, you will need to call ahead 952.431.9200 one week in advance.

    1. This doesn’t sound like the easiest way to take your family to the zoo, Walter. However, if you are dealing in these numbers, you probably don’t need to look for discounts.

    2. Average Citizen

      Walter sounds great. Can I borrow 136.00 to take my family to the zoo? Oh wait parking,make it 143.00. Thanks man. You’re the best.

      1. Haha, Walter. You are funny. I hope you found some ways to get to the Minnesota zoo cheaply. Otherwise, don’t forget Como Zoo!

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