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Possible Trip to Minnesota

Discussion in 'United States' started by blacktuxedo, 11 Sep 2015.

  1. blacktuxedo

    blacktuxedo Member

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    I am considering taking a trip to Minnesota, for about 5 days, and will be basing myself in the Twin Cities. My interest in visiting zoos has just started recently, and now, I have added to them to my travels.

    I have read about Como Zoo, and do plan to visit that one. Are there any others worth visiting within the state? Also open to visiting aquariums as well!

    Thanks!
     
  2. MikeG

    MikeG Well-Known Member

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    Well, there's the MINNESOTA ZOO in Minneapolis (Apple Valley), of course.
    In Duluth there's the Great Lakes Aquarium and the Lake Superior Zoo.
     
  3. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    15 Minnesota Zoos:

    Como Park Zoo (Saint Paul)* - worth visiting
    Great Lakes Aquarium (Duluth)* - neat aquarium that is a bit museum-like
    Hemker Park & Zoo (Freeport)*
    International Wolf Center (Ely)
    Lake Superior Zoo (Duluth)* - worth seeing and only 10 minutes from G.L. Aquarium
    Minnesota Zoo (Apple Valley)* - one of the top 15 zoos in the U.S.
    North American Bear Center (Ely)
    Oxbow Park & Zollman Zoo (Byron)
    Paul Bunyon’s Animal Land (Bemidji)
    Pine Grove Zoo (Little Falls)*
    RAD (Reptile & Amphibian Discovery) Zoo (Owatonna)* - 140 species on display
    Ramsey Park Zoo (Redwood Falls)
    Raptor Center of University of Minnesota (St. Paul)
    Sea Life Minnesota (Bloomington)*
    Wildlife Science Center (Columbus)

    * I visited 8 of the zoos in the summer of 2014
     
  4. Arizona Docent

    Arizona Docent Moderator Staff Member

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    The only one I have been to is Minnesota Zoo which is just south of downtown Minneapolis. It was many years ago but it is unquestionably one of the best zoos in the country (and one of the biggest). You may even consider spending two days there.
     
  5. blacktuxedo

    blacktuxedo Member

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    Thanks for the responses so far! So far, the Como Park Zoo, Minnesota Zoo, and Sea Life Minnesota are definites. Lake Superior Zoo and the GL Aquarium are maybes, as I am still trying to decide how to get to Duluth and back (bus or car), and whether to spend the night (if I decide not to rent a car).
     
  6. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    My dad went there recently and he says it's gotten a LOT bigger and better from when I was a kid. (my last visit was about 10 years ago) Which is really saying something, I remember it being craaaazy. Blacktuxedo, you'll definitely want to go to the Minnesota Zoo and you'll definitely want to get there early. It's a huge zoo and you'll want as much time as you can get.
     
  7. blacktuxedo

    blacktuxedo Member

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    I am actually thinking about splitting my visit for 2 days, since it will be hard for me to arrive at opening. And I will more likely, not have a car that day.

    Question to anyone... could I buy a membership at this zoo? Or is it just for locals only? I find it cheaper than buying one at 2 of the local zoos where I live.
     
  8. NSU42

    NSU42 Well-Known Member

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    You could buy a membership at the Minnesota Zoo, you don't have to be local. I would suggest looking at the AZA reciprocity list. Many zoos will give you 50% or 100% off at there zoo with an AZA membership to another facility. I'd suggest seeing if a membership to either Lake Superior or Minnesota gives you a bigger discount at your home zoos. I think Superior is actually cheaper also.

    The list can be found here:https://www.aza.org/uploadedFiles/E...Admissions_Program/Reciprocity Chart 2015.pdf
     
  9. blacktuxedo

    blacktuxedo Member

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    Thanks for all the replies from everyone! I have been back for some time, but just been lazy in updating a little. I did get to visit 3 zoos and 2 aquariums in the state. One of them, I would visit on 2 different days, as I had other plans as well. I won't be really writing reviews, as I am not really good at it at all.

    And the one that I visited on 2 different days, was the first one that I visited, was the Como Park Zoo. I would go on a rainy day, so my visit was cut short that day. But I thought it was nice, for a small zoo, and can't argue with the free admission. I did like the Large Cats building, and it was fun to get an underwater view of the polar bears swimming. I did not care as much for the Conservatory part, or the Aquatic Animals, as I thought the enclosure for the seal was just so small.

    I would go again on a sunny day, and got to see some of the animals that I did not see the first time around, like reindeer and the gray wolf. Plus some of the cats were more active.

    I will write more later on.
     
  10. MidwestFan

    MidwestFan Well-Known Member

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    I think the seal and sea lion exhibit is next up in the plan to build new exhibit!
     
  11. blacktuxedo

    blacktuxedo Member

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    Resuming where I left off...

    Minnesota Zoo - Getting there shortly after it opened, I considered buying a membership there, thinking I would go there for 2 different days. But I ended up not buying it at all. It would take me about 5 hours to see this zoo.

    And I thought it was one of the best that I have seen in recent times, as it felt less like a zoo and a little more like a natural park. The monorail track is an eyesore, but still enjoyed walking around, and seeing animals in nice enclosures. I also thought the Wells Fargo Family Farm was the best of its kind that I saw. And while Discovery Bay was nothing special (though I did like seeing the Hawaiian monk seals), I enjoyed Tropic Trail and the Medtronic Minnesota Trail.

    SEA LIFE Minnesota Aquarium - where I went next after the Minnesota Zoo. I remember visiting it back in 2008 when it was called Underwater Adventures, and being very disappointed by it. Since then, it has gone through renovations, and good thing, as I thought this aquarium improved by a lot. By adding more to the collection. I did like the room of moon jellyfish, which kind of looks like some nightclub room. The Tunnel was the definite highlight.

    Hopefully, I will write about the 2 places that I visited in Duluth soon.
     
  12. TheMightyOrca

    TheMightyOrca Well-Known Member

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    I remember the farm, it was pretty fantastic! Most farm areas tend to be pretty small and don't have much, but MNZ had some great stuff. I got to see baby chickens hatch. :)
     
  13. blacktuxedo

    blacktuxedo Member

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    That must be awesome to see with your own eyes!

    I don't normally expect much from farm areas, and usually just skim through them. But this one, I find myself really liking it a lot.
     
  14. blacktuxedo

    blacktuxedo Member

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    I did take a day trip to Duluth, and as I got close to the city, it was suddenly foggy. But it still ended up being a good day.

    Lake Superior Zoo - this zoo may not have much in size or collection, but I found this to be really charming zoo to visit. I enjoyed walking around the zoo grounds, seeing the animals and the surrounding forest. And hearing and seeing the creek flowing through the zoo, did add to the charm. Considering its size, I enjoyed this place a lot more than I thought would.

    Great Lakes Aquarium - This felt like it was a hybrid of a science museum and an aquarium. As an aquarium, it was okay, but nothing really special. I did like some of the museum parts, but overall, this place was not quite a must-see, as it seemed like more reading descriptions and less marine life.

    And that would be it for this trip, in terms of zoos and aquariums.