With free admission (or a $3 donation if you can afford it), the city-owned Como Park Zoo ranks among Minnesota’s most beloved and certainly most affordable family attractions. Gorillas, a polar bear, and zebras rank among the favorites, and families eagerly line up for a chance to feed the giraffes.
While it’s open year-round, summer ranks as a favorite time to visit with the seasonal (and playful) sea lion show and nearby Como Town Amusement Park with a variety of rides for little ones. It’s also when a butterfly house opens to the delight of visitors who patiently wait for one to land on their shoulders or shoes.
The zoo links to the historic Como Park Conservatory, a palace of glass and lush tropical plants, flowers and ponds. Families seeking a more immersive experience can sign up for Zoo Snooze sleepovers, day camps and Little Explorer programs that run during the school year.
The zoo welcomes voluntary donations of $3 per adult and $2 per child (cash is collected in donation boxes), but it’s technically free.
April through September: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
October through March: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.