Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Local Attractions: Minnesota Zoo

So I've been wanting to write some posts about things to do with toddlers around the Twin Cities (Minneapolis & St. Paul if you're not from Minnesota).  I know most of my readers don't live here, but hopefully our adventures will give you some ideas, or at least inspire you to find fun things to do with your kids wherever you live! 

This first one is pretty obvious, everyone takes their kids to the zoo, but sometimes I feel like we don't get out there enough. Abe loves animals and we have two great zoos nearby, but he's only been there a few times. This week Noah took a day off of work and we ended up with gorgeous weather (after a weekend of rain), so we brought Abe to the Minnesota Zoo

We started at Russia's Grizzly Coast. (These first three pictures are actually from one of our trips to the zoo last summer. This time around all the animals were sleeping - which reminds me, if you want to see active animals get there right when the zoo opens at 9:00 AM!)

On that trip, we got to see the grizzly bears up close since one of them kept swimming up to the window to look at Abe. I think she was trying to decide if he would make a good snack!

We also encountered one very active leopard on that trip. This time both the leopards were snoozing, but one was close to the glass so we had a good view. Abe loved looking at the leopard. I think we went back three times before he was finally ready to move on to the tigers and a leisurely walk along the Northern Trail.

Before lunch we stopped in to see the Penguins of the African Coast. The penguins were happily swimming around so they were far more interesting to watch than the sleeping animals we had visited earlier.

They even stopped by to say hi to the kids watching them through the glass!

We skipped the petting zoo at the Family Farm and Discovery Bay this time, but Abe really enjoyed seeing all the fish in the tanks along the Tropics Trail. One of my favorite things about the MN Zoo is how kid-friendly it is. They have all these special viewing areas for the kids to crawl up on or into. This underwater viewing area was right next to a log tunnel...

...that looked out on one of the monkey exhibits. Abe (and all the other kids) really liked these little tunnels and caves that are scattered throughout the zoo.

We stopped at the Coral Reef for a long time. I think Abe would have been happy just staring at the fish for the rest of the day. He loves fish.

Even tried to pet a shark! Good thing it was on the other side of the glass...

Our last stop of the day was the Minnesota Trail which features a bunch of animals that are native to our neck of the woods. Abe was excited about the wolves, but like the other animals, they were all out sleeping in the sun. Then we came across this statue of a gray wolf...

Abe had to hug its paw... its tail...

...listen to its various barks, howls, and other sounds...

...and before we left, he went back to give the wolf a hug...

...then he rubbed its nose and kissed its paws. I sure hope he never meets a wolf in the wild!

I had to check out the turtles on our way out. Turtles have always facsinated me...may have something to do with the whole being able to hide in your shell thing...or the giant snapping turtle known as "Killer" that lived in the lagoon by my house growing up. We used to catch box turtles and bring them home to keep as pets. My mom always told us we had to keep them in a bucket on the front porch, and when we woke up the next morning they were always gone. At the time we just figured the turtle somehow climbed out, but I have a feeling my parents may have assisted in their escape. I'm pretty sure my mom didn't want us to have a turtle as a pet, and if we had managed to keep one around for more than one day, who knows what other animals we would have brought home. Aren't they cute though?

Even though he was dead tired, Abe made us stop to say goodbye to the "buffo" on the way to the parking lot. He had so much fun he fell asleep almost as soon as we got in the car! We'll definitely be heading back soon.

The Minnesota Zoo offers the following attractions and amenities (click on the links for more information):


For more information about the animals and exhibits at the Minnesota Zoo, go to 

1 comment:

  1. these are such pretty pictures. I'm glad I got to see them, thank you for sharing