Minnesota Zoo close encounters

Mingle With 5,000 Animals at the Minnesota Zoo

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Minnesota Zoo close encounters / Minnesota Zoo

Mingle With 5,000 Animals at the Minnesota Zoo

In Minnesota, you don't have to venture far from the city to get up close and personal with wildlife. One of the best places to hang out with thousands of furry, finned and feathered friends is the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley, which celebrated its 40th birthday in 2018.

Visitors to the state's largest zoo will encounter animals and habitats from around the globe in exciting exhibits that house over 500 species and nearly 5,000 animals. Explore the indoor and outdoor habitats by walking or wheeling around the 485-acre campus that features miles of outdoor trails and large indoor exhibits, which means you're guaranteed to see lots of cool creatures no matter the weather.

Indoor & Outdoor Habitats With Animals From Across the Globe

The Northern Trail features caribou, an Amur tiger, gazelles and other winter-hardy animals accustomed to our northern climate. The Minnesota Trail is a local showcase of regional landscapes and animals including lynx, wolves, bald eagles and native fish. Another exhibit features cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and other farm animals at the Wells Fargo Family Farm.

Russia’s Grizzly Coast is an outdoor habitat with bears, leopards, otters and boars from this vast wilderness area. The indoor Tropics Trail heats up with lush rain forest foliage and animals including toucans, monkeys, lemurs, pandas, crocodiles, and tropical birds flying overhead.

Kids look into aquarium

Observe underwater wonders at the Minnesota Zoo aquarium / Minnesota Zoo

See Underwater Worlds at Aquatic Displays 

The zoo’s aquatic displays are another indoor highlight, with ponds, reefs, tide pools and tanks filled with creatures ranging from tiny pygmy seahorses to 10-foot sand tiger sharks. Discovery Bay and the Tropics Trail offer spectacular underwater views of ocean and reef-dwellers like sharks, eels, sea turtles, sea dragons and tropical fish.

Two baby goats at Minnesota Zoo

Say "aww" to adorable baby animals at the Minnesota Zoo's annual Farm Babies event / Jackie Scherer

Daily Programs & Special Events

African penguin feedings and shark feedings are just a few of the zoo’s daily programs. Also look for seasonal exhibits and special events, including Farm Babies in the spring and the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular in the fall.