No Bummer Summer Zoo-a-palooza! Minnesota Zoo

I am a Minnesota Mom, blogger and parent on a mission 🙂
Now that school is out and summer is here, my mission as a mom is the same as it is every summer; to seek out the most fun, educational and interesting attractions and events in our fair state to share with our kids. Those of you who have been following along for the last three summers know we are hardcore into our adventure knows as The No Bummer Summer.

No Bummer Summer

Here are some of our past No Bummer Summer Adventures:

Just a Little Tadpole Fun

Gettin’Buggy With It

Let the Summer Fun Begin!

Our Jake (age 12) and Sara (9) love zoos…actually our whole family adores animals and zoos. This year Jake and Sara suggested we do a “Zoo-a-palooza” this summer. Our goal with our Zoo-a-palooza is to visit every zoo possible in the state of MN, several of which we have never been to. The Minnesota Zoo was one of the zoos on our list.

So we went and what a memorable trip it was!

Minnesota zoo

Created by the State of Minnesota, the Minnesota Zoo opened in 1978 with a mission to connect people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife. Cutting-edge exhibits provide exciting experiences with animals and their habitats introducing guests to species from around the globe. Education programs engage audiences at the Zoo, throughout the region, and around world. Conservation programs protect endangered species and preserve critical ecosystems. Learn more about the Minnesota Zoo—our mission, leadership, and history.

Fast Facts from the Minnesota Zoo

  • Opened to the public in May 1978
  • Located on 485 acres in Apple Valley, Minnesota
  • Home to more than 4,700 animals in award-winning exhibits
  • Annual attendance of nearly 1.2 million, including 275,000 from greater Minnesota
  • Approximately 170,000 individual Zoo Members
  • Annual operating budget of approximately
    $24.6 million
    23% State appropriation
    6% Legacy appropriation
    71% Earned and contributed income
  • Annual economic impact of more than $146 million to the State of Minnesota
  • Over 1,000 volunteers contributing more than 113,000 hours valued at $2.7 million
  • Committed to Minnesota conservation projects, including moose, endangered butterflies, bison and native wildlife at the Zoo
  • Coordinate tiger and Asian wild horse conservation breeding programs and campaigns to protect these endangered species in the wild.
  • Conduct international conservation work on endangered black rhinos and Asian wild dogs
  • Supported more than 120 conservation projects in 47 countries through the Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program
  • Incorporate green practices throughout the Zoo, from large-scale recycling and composting initiatives to environmentally sustainable buildings
  • Over 306,000 individuals served by Minnesota Zoo education and outreach programs, including more than 92,000 school program participants
  • A record 4,508 children attended Zoo Camp
  • Zoomobile traveled to 55 counties, presenting programs to over 53,000 people
  • ZooSafari programs, which provides economically-challenged schools with free access to the Zoo, to over 11,000 students
  • Connected with more than 8,000 students across 15 Minnesota counties and 27 other states Zoo’s Interactive Video Conference (IVC) program

Here are some highlights from our trip:

Minnesota Zoo
Baby boom in the buffalo exhibit!
Minnesota zoo
Jake touching seas urchins!
Minnesota zoo
Cat Nappin’
Minnesota Zoo
The Frantic Crew
Minnesota Zoo
Camel Rides!
Zoo Carousel
Zoo Carousel
Minnesota zoo
adorable baby camels!
Sweet farm babies at the Wells Fargo Family Farm
Sweet farm babies at the Wells Fargo Family Farm

Here are a few tips (from a “mom” perspective) on how to make the best of your Minnesota Zoo adventure:

-Get there early. This is very popular and very busy place.

-Be sure and check out the sea life exhibit. Wonderfully cool inside and you get to pet sharks and rays!

-Wear walking shoes. You will walk A LOT. Worth every step-but it’s a ton of walking.

-Travel light. I brought along my Half Ton Purse (“half ton” because I am also the family pack mule) and I thought my shoulder would fall off. It was one of the few times I actually saw value in a Fanny Pack.

-Get a map. Probably would have saved us a few miles of walking.

Minnesota Zoo-Be sure and visit the iMax Theatre. It’s one thing we didn’t get to and I really regret.

I would absolutely advise any family to pack up the kiddies and go visit this Minnesota gem.

Summer on!


***I was given free tickets in leiu of the blog post. The opinions expressed are purely my own.

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