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Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley

(4.2/5 based on 550+ reviews on the web)
Covering 196 hectares (485 acres) of land, Minnesota Zoo serves as home for animals like bison, tigers, camels, bears, wolves, caribou, tree kangaroos, stingrays, and monkeys. Opened in 1978, the zoo was one of the first to organize the animals by their habitat rather than by species. The animals are housed in six different environments: Minnesota native animals, animals of the north, tropical animals, marine wildlife, animals from Russia's far-east, and farm animals. Several of the zones are accessible by short trails that connect the many exhibits. You'll learn more about the native Minnesota environment in that section of the zoo, where you can wander past a beaver pond and a northern forest glade. Plan to visit Minnesota Zoo and other customer-reviewed, writer-recommended Apple Valley attractions using our Apple Valley trip generator.
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  • We enjoyed our visit to the Minnesota Zoo tremendously. It was very well laid out and organized and parking was easy in and easy out. We didn't have time to explore the entire park but what we saw was...  more »
  • I go to the zoo a lot to take pictures. You're never going to mistake this for the San Diego Zoo but what they do, they do fairly well. A lot of the zoo is indoors which is a nice nod to the Minnesota...  more »
  • This is a fantastic zoo in the Twin Cities that is great all year round! They have a huge splash pad and climbing area for kids, lots of outdoor exhibits, and indoor exhibits as well in the winter tim...  more »
  • We have had a membership here for 3 years and it has been well worth the money! The bird show is always a favorite with my kids. There are lots of climbing areas, enrichment opportunities, outdoor play spaces, picnic areas, etc! We usually pack a lunch, and there are plenty of tables to eat at, inside and out. The food in the cafeteria is good and there are plenty of healthy options, but definitely can get expensive when buying for multiple people. There is a simple coffee shop with trail mix and popcorn for snacks too. The animals are great and often active when we go. It's great for learning, getting out of the house, and wearing off some energy!
  • MN Zoo is a favorite day trip for our family. It is a very nice, large, well-designed zoo with plenty for everyone. There is ample parking an it is not far from the highway (I-35). Among some of our family's favorite attractions at the zoo are the Grizzly Coast, Discovery Bay (aquarium), the butterfly house, and the MN Trail (indoors). If you are planning a visit, show times we'd recommend trying to target are the Monk Seal feeding, the Grizzly Bear feeding and the Bird Show at the amphitheater. There are a couple of great playgrounds for your kids: Woodland Adventure (smaller and better for younger children) and the Wild Woods play area which is larger and better for older kids with much more climbing. In the central plaza there is a great water fountain exhibit which you will nearly always find kids playing in if the weather is good. Keep this in mind because your kids will see it and want to play in the fountain as well. If you are planning ahead, bring a swimsuit and towels (or else a change of dry clothes). There is a nice set of bathrooms just off the Central Plaza where your kids can change into a swimsuit if you want them to. There's also a large Imax theater there which is always running a combination of educational films as well as some current movies as well. We'd highly recommend the Zoo for a day trip or as a side trip on your next visit to the Twin Cities. If you are local and could see yourself going more than once in a calendar year, consider a membership. With a family, you'll find that a membership is cheaper than paying to enter the zoo twice and then you can take advantage of it as often as you'd like.
  • Fantastic layout, great care for the animals, amazing conservation efforts all go to make this the best zoo I've visited. It truly is where amazing lives.
  • Love in Kansas City and was in Minneapolis for a weekend getaway and decided to hit the zoo. Very disappointed. Not much to keep the kids entertained (11 & 12 yo). A couple of hours and we were done. Omaha Zoo was far superior. On a side note, little kids (6 and below) seemed to be having a good time. Might be more geared to the younger crowd.
  • Beautiful zoo with plenty to see and do. Animals seem happy and well cared for. With the tropic trail and other indoor exhibits there is still a lot you can do even in the dead of winter.