The Minnesota Zoo

The following pit stop submitted by Jessie Voigts of

Located off 35E and Highway 77 in Apple Valley (just south of Minneapolis), the Minnesota Zoo is a destination in and of itself. The Zoo has both indoor and outdoor exhibits, and also boasts an IMAX theater. There are plenty of educational programs–just call ahead, or look online. There are strollers and wheelchairs for rent, a gift shop, and food available. The restrooms all have diaper changing areas, and there is a nursing area as well.

Minnesota Zoo_ Wandering Educators

Special Events include:
dolphin Training Sessions (10, 12, 2 & 4)
Biodiversity Puppet Adventure (Mondays at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m. until September 5, 2011)
Coral Reef Dive Show (10:30am)
seasonal cow milking demonstrations at the Wells Fargo Family Farm
seasonal splash pad with animal sculptures in an interactive water fountain
World of Birds Show
Shark Feedings (3pm daily)
Woodland Adventure (play area)

But let’s say you just want to walk around and explore! You can take the monorail through the outdoor part of the zoo, and see animals from Russia’s Grizzly Coast (sea otters, brown bears, tigers, leopards, and wild boar), takin, gazelle, prairie dogs, bison, Bactrian camels, Asian wild horses, moose, caribou, and musk ox. You can also walk the trail. There are benches along the way, restrooms, and occasionally a kids’ play area.

The Minnesota Trail is my favorite part: you can see lynx, cougar, wolverine, timberwolves, and beavers. There are educational stations and even places where you can get rubbings of tracks. This is outdoors, as well.

Heading there in the winter? Spend most of your time inside, and be warm in the Tropics Trail and Discovery Bay. You’ll see animals from tropical rain forests, the Caribbean, and the South Pacific, such as tamarin, red panda, lemurs, and gibbons. Also inside are penguins, bees, sharks, dolphins, snow monkeys, dolphins, and more. It’s a welcome relief from the cold!

Tip: Want to prepare your kids before you go? Spend a few weeks watching their live webcams ( of beavers, dolphins, or gibbon. Be sure to take your camera: there are SO many opportunities to see such a wide variety of animals! And, there are so many kid play areas throughout the zoo, you’re sure to get good photos of your own critters!

Distance from the interstate: Minutes from I-35E

Admission cost: Kids 3-12 are $12, adults $18. Kids under three are free. More ticketing information can be found on the website.

Hours of operation: The zoo is open either 9 am to 4 pm or 9 am to 6 pm, depending on the season.

Directions:: The Minnesota Zoo is located at 13000 Zoo Boulevard in Apple Valley, MN just minutes south of Mall of America. Take Interstate 35W south to Highway 62 east. Exit taking Highway 77 south and follow it to County Road 38 east. Follow the brown-colored “Zoo” signs. For more information, visit


About the author

Pit Stops for Kids AUTHOR: Amy Whitley is the founding editor of Pit Stops for Kids and content editor of Trekaroo. She writes on staff monthly at a number of travel publications, and contributes to OutdoorsNW magazine as an outdoor adventure traveler. Find Amy at Google.




  1. we LOVE the minnesota zoo – thanks for sharing this!!

Leave a Comment