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“Family fun for free”

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
Ranked #1 of 13 Fun & Games in Saint Paul
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Located in historic Como Park, this popular zoo, especially known for its California sea lion exhibit, also features a great cat display, gorillas and giraffes.
Reviewed April 11, 2013

This is the place I tell visitors to go see if they are looking for family fun on a budget. While the zoo IS free, donations are greatly appreciated. Do NOT miss the McNeely Conservatory, which is a huge collection of exotic trees and plants located inside a 100+ year old building. Especially don't miss it in winter. This is where Minnesotans like to go to get a whiff of the warmer months when it's cold outside. Como Park itself features a brand new outdoor pool, picnic areas, ball fields, walking/biking trails, golf, and a lovely little lake with a pavilion that gets lots of use in the warm months. You could easily spend a weekend here and not see everything.

Thank Jackie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed April 10, 2013

I've been coming here for more than 50 years. It's my comfort food of local attractions. Though it has changed over the years, it still brings me back to my childhood. The conservatory takes you away from whatever the weather outside is throwing at you. Admission is voluntary, but please give in order to keep this gem fully operational.

Thank MinnTraveler3693
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 10, 2013

The scents and sights are awesome. The Conservatory is an amazing history-rich structure. The flower exhibit was spectacular, and we loved the Fern house's foggy warm humidity on our parched winter skin, and the amazing orchids!

Thank Steve B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 9, 2013

This zoo is much easier to get to for those of us in the Northern Suburbs compared to going to the Minnesota Zoo. It is much cheaper too – admission is voluntary.

There is a lot to do around here besides the zoo and the conservatory; strolling around Como Lake can be fun as an activity itself. There is a lot of public park space for sports or picnics and there is a mini golf course (I have never played, looks pretty small). Since there is so much going on, parking can sometimes be difficult. I don’t usually have problems, but it seems like you will run into parking troubles at the worst times (I have held work events at one of the public park pavilions across from Como Town and both times I parked half a mile away).

The Zoo has Sparky the Sea lion shows and they have a newer polar bear exhibit which is a little more interactive for kids with things to climb around in and quizzes to take. This zoo has many animals including several large cats, monkeys, sea-life, buffalo, giraffes, zebras…. My favorite part has always been going to the monkey building, although it has smelled really bad the last few times.

The conservatory was an acquired taste. I remember not wanting to go to the conservatory as a kid – but I enjoy it now. They have a cool rainforest section that I think most kids would like(unless they found it spooky). It includes some jungle animals and insects – including a free-range sloth. I have never seen the sloth away from the top of his tree, but the idea that he could climb down to me if he wanted to amuses me. There are other sessions including a pretty garden area some people choose to get married in. When I went last they had a coral reef exhibit that I really liked as well as the kids I was with…but I am not sure if that is a rotating exhibit. They also had a butterfly house that I missed, but I think it is an annual attraction for a few months each year.

There is also Como Town with rides and shows. I recently brought a couple of 10 year old girls there and they had a lot of fun on the rides. I got them wristbands for unlimited rides – I was able to get them on a BOGO sale they offered online which made them very affordable.
Food and drinks are expensive but there are plenty of areas to buy refreshments. When I go I try to pack a bag with waters – especially on hot summer days.

Like I said, I have hosted work events there. Our goal was recruitment and we invited our guests to join us for a picnic lunch at the pavilion across from Como Town (cheaper and easier to find than renting a space inside of the zoo grounds). We were able to bring in our own catered food and drinks (no liquor). We invited mostly families and many of them had never been to the zoo before. We gave all the kids who came wristbands for Como Town. We heard that parking was a major drawback (some people came, drove around, couldn’t find us or a place to park and left) but those who made it to the picnic really enjoyed the event and were happy for us sharing this great idea with them for building family memories.

3  Thank howmanypeopleareon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 8, 2013

I like the rides, especially doing them with grandkids. I also enjoyed the conservatory, but my favorite time to go there is winter when nothing is green outside and the conservatory gives hope that spring will come.

Thank TerrySt_Paul_MN
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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