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Old 07-31-2011, 08:15 PM
 
Location: Isanti County, Minnesota
3,657 posts, read 5,226,903 times
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I'm bringing my family to the Twin Cities for a short stay in October. This will be part vacation/part scout trip, as we are considering relocating to the MSP metro within the next couple years. I've already been to the area twice, but this will be my wife and kids (2 boys, 6 & 7) first time there.

From the vacation standpoint, I'm particularly interested in the Minnesota Zoo. How does it rate with other zoos in the country, and what are the must see attractions there? Is it even worth our time, or would I be better off taking the fam somewhere else (besides MOA....we're doing that, too). Thanks so much, can't wait to get there!
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Old 07-31-2011, 09:36 PM
 
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It has enough to keep you busy all day and a nice range of thing to do. It's easy to spend a day there. We like the farm and Minnesota trail. The tropics has a nice variety too. It's really ugly when you first enter but once you get past that it's fine. The only other big zoo I've been to is Henry Doorly and it can't compete with that but few can.

I was just at the science museum with my son and that was a big hit. I think my son likes the museum better but he's into science.
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Old 07-31-2011, 10:18 PM
 
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It's a great zoo. You probably know by now that the Como zoo is also a good zoo and it's free, plus they have rides (not free) that you can take the kids on. The como zoo (and accompanying conservatory (free) is enough to entertain the family for the day as well if you're looking to save a buck. While this zoo is complete, it's not going to wow you.

Now, back to the MN zoo...... It's great, aquatics, rainforest, african, russian, etc. it's all there. Great aviary. You could easily spend the day there. In fact, the director of the zoo is the known as the best at what he does in the country, and he's made some great positive addtions to the zoo. Skip the 2mph monorail, it's not worth anybody's time. It's not better than the Henry Doorly, or the San Diego. But I like it more than Brookfield, Linkin Park, Phoenix, and San Franscisco if that helps.
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Old 08-01-2011, 04:47 AM
 
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The MN Zoo is different than most zoos. Most of the animals are in more of a natural habitat vs an "exhibit". There are some, but when you wander along the trails you will see the camels, etc. out on the "prairie". It's a great zoo to be able to see animals easily too. I disagree that the monorail is not worth it, if the line isn't a mile long, I think you get to see a lot from the monorail that you don't always see walking the trails.

If you have a zoo membership elsewhere, the MN Zoo participates in the reciprocity program.
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Old 08-01-2011, 08:46 AM
 
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Okay I"m gonna be the bearer of bad news here - I am not impressed with the MN zoo. With the exception of a few larger animals (tiger (1) who is difficult to see, and a few bears) it's not much that you can't see out your window driving across the midwest.

Buffalo and camels are not what I think of when I think 'zoo'. Then with areas dedicated to the farm and MN wildlife, all that's left is 'Russia' where you'll see otters and brown bears, and some small monkeys and the 'Tropical Rainforest' which again aren't really what I think of for a 'zoo'.

Will your kids have fun? Probably, but it is not an impressive zoo. Como has more of the larger animals (gorillas, polar bears, giraffes(I think), seals) and again, your kids will have fun, but Como just makes me sad - those animals are in such small spaces.

Depending on your kids interests, I would consider the Children's museum and/or the science museum...and if you're looking to spend some time outside, there are plenty of parks/beaches that I'm sure would entertain them.
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Old 08-01-2011, 09:34 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swmrbird View Post

Will your kids have fun? Probably, but it is not an impressive zoo. Como has more of the larger animals (gorillas, polar bears, giraffes(I think), seals) and again, your kids will have fun, but Como just makes me sad - those animals are in such small spaces.
Yeah, I'm not a fan of Como Zoo at all. There's some parts that are OK but all and all I find it depressing.

Last edited by Kebinminn; 08-01-2011 at 10:32 AM..
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Old 08-01-2011, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Isanti County, Minnesota
3,657 posts, read 5,226,903 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kebinminn View Post
Yeah, I'm not a fan of Como Zoo at all. There's some aprts that are OK but all and all I find it depressing.
We have a small zoo like that up in the U.P. of Michigan. Just took the kids there a couple weeks ago, and I came away depressed after watching animals like bears, wolves and pumas just sacked out with boredom in those awful cages. Not interested in a repeat of that at all. Some of these museums/science centers are sounding good, though!
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Old 08-01-2011, 12:10 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Northman View Post
We have a small zoo like that up in the U.P. of Michigan. Just took the kids there a couple weeks ago, and I came away depressed after watching animals like bears, wolves and pumas just sacked out with boredom in those awful cages. Not interested in a repeat of that at all. Some of these museums/science centers are sounding good, though!
IMHO, the MN Zoo is a much more humane than the Como. Your family will love the science museum.
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Old 08-01-2011, 02:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by ozzie679 View Post
IMHO, the MN Zoo is a much more humane than the Como. Your family will love the science museum.
The MN Zoo seems to be very humane as, I think, many are now. It does sometimes make the animals harder to see but to me it's worth it.

Como tries but they don't have the space or budget to do it in the same way for everything. It's not a series of cages really, just spaces that are too small and not set up as a proper habitat.
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Old 08-01-2011, 04:10 PM
 
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We go to the MN Zoo often and I used to work there as a naturalist. I love the MN Zoo and feel like it is worth a trip as a tourist. I took my 19 year old neice there last week and she was very impressed. The splash pad area and playground are fun, the bird show is great, and the new south entrance is more welcoming, now. The Grizzly Coast exhibit is great - the bears were literally pressed against the glass when we were there. We also love the Tropics Trail. We never make it as far as the farm, though, because we usually just stop in for an hour or so. My kids really enjoy the monorail, too.

It is a conservation-focused zoo so you can feel good about supporting it. If you look into the programs they support and species they work to protect it is really impressive.
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