This century-old zoo is technically free, and even the suggested donation of $1-$2 per person makes it one of the best deals in the Twin Cities. Families can enjoy a sampling of exotic zoo animals from across the globe, such as zebras, giraffes, polar bears and gorillas. New and expanded exhibits (including a new gorilla forest debuting in 2013) make it easy to get eye-to-eye with animals. The zoo and an adjacent conservatory packed with tropical plants and flowers offer a colorful place to warm up in the winter. Warm months are perfect for Como’s playful sea lion show, which has been a family favorite since the 1950s, as well as rides at the nearby Como Town Amusement Park. Special events include Zoo Snooze sleepovers, day camps and free Little Explorer programs for 1- to 3-year-olds Thursday mornings during the school year.