Spring is an exciting time for nature in Minnesota. As the weather warms up, our once-icy waterways thaw and open, flowers and trees sprout their hopeful buds of spring, and a fresh new batch of adorable baby animals are welcomed to the world at zoos in Minnesota.
Bask in the springtime vibes with a day at the zoo. Soak in the sun while mozying through the freshly reopened outdoor areas, fawning over the fuzzy newborn animals and kicking off the season with a special event or two.
Minnesota Zoo, Apple Valley
The Minnesota Zoo’s annual Farm Babies (March 27-April 30) event is one of the zoo’s largest—and cutest—events. All month long, calves, goat kids, lambs, bunnies, chicks, ducklings and piglets will be on display at the Wells Fargo Family Farm. This beloved event provides guests with unique, up-close experiences that provide great photo opportunities. In addition to this annual event, the Minnesota Zoo may welcome bison calves, snow monkey babies and prairie dog babies in other areas of the zoo. Enjoy the warmer weather as you stroll along the Northern Trail to view tigers, gazelles, moose or brown bears at the Russia Grizzly Coast.
Plan your trip accordingly to take advantage of special spring events like a visit from the fabled Peter Rabbit. Select weekends will feature family crafts, a hay maze and more. Every weekend, there will be special “egg” treats for the animals. This festive form of animal enrichment will include colored Jell-O eggs, piñatas and hard-boiled eggs. Watch the animals interact with the items to see how they react to food or predators in the wild.
Take a break from the animals and go for a ride on the hand-crafted Conservation Carousel, located on the Northern Trail. This carousel features 56 animals from around the world like tigers, bison, rhinos and more. Keep your eye out for “close encounters” throughout the zoo. This program provides guests with one-on-one opportunities to speak with zookeepers and interact with various critters.
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, St. Paul
The Como Zoo and Conservatory in St. Paul experienced a baby boom in the past two years. They welcomed a gorilla, two zebras, four hedgehogs, 17 emerald tree boas, a giraffe and an orangutan, and a new pair of young snow leopards made their debut in 2017. Visitors also have an opportunity to feed giraffes lettuce or view them from a non-gated deck.
Connected to the Como Zoo is the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Celebrating more than 100 years, the space will host its annual Spring Flower Show in the Sunken Garden from March 28-April 3. This year's arrangement features blue, purple and orange tulips. Hyacinth, Asiatic lilies, calla, and crocus will be the featured flowers giving this show a unique aesthetic.
At the adjacent Como Town Amusement Park, an outdoor play area designed for kids ages 2 to 12, you’ll find more than 18 rides and attractions including a super jungle gym, splash zone, arcade games and an area for giant inflatables. Take a ride on Tiger Tracks, a roller coaster that is sure to delight both adults and kids.
Caitlin Hannah is Explore Minnesota's social media strategist and resident Disney expert. She grew up spending summer weekends at her family's lake cabin in Detroit Lakes, and brings that "up north" attitude to everything she does. When traveling around the state, she likes trying new restaurants and taprooms, or watching Minnesota hockey.
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