Exploring the Minnesota Zoo: A Photo Essay

by Dr. Jessie Voigts /
Dr. Jessie Voigts's picture
May 23, 2009 / 2 comments



We recently had the good fortune to explore the Minnesota Zoo. Extremely large in scope, the Minnesota Zoo includes an IMAX, an atlantic and a coral reef, tropical habitats, an upcoming African habitat, a Russian habitat, a Minnesota Trail (with timberwolves!), amphibians, birds, the Wells Fargo Family Farm, dolphins, and more.  We had SUCH fun and would love to share the Minnesota Zoo with you.


Minnesota Zoo  - aquarium

 shark at tropical reef


Minnesota Zoo - Lemur



Minnesota Zoo - otters



I am enamored with marine life, and enjoyed my time there the most. However, our 6-year old daughter loved the IMAX (also underwater, look for a story to come in a few weeks!) and the Russian Bear. She said he was the "most awesomest!" The Zoo also has a play area for kids, to take a break from walking around and learning about animals. Soon enough, our daughter was done with playing and was more interested in seeing and learning about what animal was next!


Minnesota Zoo - primates



Minnesota Zoo - flamingos



Minnesota Zoo

red panda


Minnesota Zoo  - aquarium shark

shark at tropical reef



From unique animals to more common ones, the Minnesota Zoo does an excellent job with their expansive habitats, clean surroundings, active animals (although we visited at lunch time, and many were resting), and happy visitors! You can also check out their zoo via their webcams  if you can't make it to Minnesota right now.  The Minnesota Zoo does a fantastic job of teaching about animals, with easy to read information at each animal exhibit and fun games for kids (try the stamps on the Minnesota Trail!).


Minnesota Zoo - eagle

rehabilitated eagle


Minnesota Zoo - flamingo



Minnesota Zoo - coral reef

coral reef


On June 7, 2008, the Minnesota Zoo opened a spectacular, multi-million dollar exhibit that is both unique in scope and is the largest in its history: Russia’s Grizzly Coast. Authentically replicating the landscape and animal communities of the Russian Far East region, the exhibit features grizzly bears, sea otters, wild boars and Amur leopards–the most endangered of all wild cats.

A multi-sensory exhibition, Russia’s Grizzly Coast represents the rugged terrain of a region that is one of the most spectacular environments on the planet. The exhibit opening coincides with the Minnesota Zoo’s 30th anniversary, and includes a family-friendly renovation of the Zoo’s Central Plaza. “We are excited to offer our guests a series of marvelous new experiences, ranging from the fun of splashing in the water sculpture at our new Central Plaza, to the drama of watching grizzlies diving for fish in their geyser-fed pool,” said Minnesota Zoo Director/CEO Lee Ehmke. “We anticipate Russia’s Grizzly Coast will take our Zoo to a new level of excellence.”


Minnesota Zoo - Russia's Grizzly Coast - Bear

Russian Grizzly Bear


Minnesota Zoo - Russia's Grizzly Coast - cat

Amur Leopard


After years of dreaming and planning, the Minnesota Zoo opened on May 22, 1978. Called the “New Zoo” back then, it featured 1,200 animals representing 238 species. Fast forward to today,and you’ll experience a zoo that has doubled its animal collection and has become a worldwide leader in conservation. The Minnesota Legislature has acknowledged the Zoo’s commitment, effectiveness and impact, and since 2005 has appropriated over $40 million in bonding to ensure the Zoo’s future.


Minnesota Zoo - wing span

our daughter, testing her wing span


Minnesota Zoo -



Minnesota Zoo - bison



The Minnesota Zoo is located in Apple Valley, just minutes south of Mall of America. For more information on the Zoo or Russia’s Grizzly Coast, call 952.431.9500 or visit mnzoo.org. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums (AMMPA).


Minnesota Zoo - moose



Minnesota Zoo - tiger



Minnesota Zoo - shark



Interested in exploring the world around us? Check out Photo Fridays at DeliciousBaby.com to see more of the world from great travel writers and photographers.


All photos from the Minnesota Zoo copyright Jessie Voigts. All Rights Reserved.


 Interested in Exploring Minnesota? It's easy - head to ExploreMinnesota and you'll find a plethora of activities, ideas, places to stay, and more.  We thank ExploreMinnesota for their great help on our recent trip. 


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