When you sponsor the African penguin or the Sunken Garden, you’ll support the adorable animals and graceful gardens at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, so they thrive all year long. And we’ll send a cuddly penguin plush or elegant conservatory note cards to your friend or loved one.

Sponsor the African penguin or the Sunken Garden today for the special Giving Tuesday price of $45.

When you sponsor the African penguin or the Sunken Garden, you’ll support the adorable animals and graceful gardens at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, so they thrive all year long. And we’ll send a cuddly penguin plush or elegant conservatory note cards to your friend or loved one.

Sponsor the African penguin or the Sunken Garden today for the special Giving Tuesday price of $45.

When you sponsor the African penguin or the Sunken Garden, you’ll support the adorable animals and graceful gardens at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, so they thrive all year long. And we’ll send a cuddly penguin plush or elegant conservatory note cards to your friend or loved one.

Sponsor the African penguin or the Sunken Garden today for the special Giving Tuesday price of $45.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Como Friends’ support has been essential to the growth of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Japanese horticultural collection, providing 100 percent of the funding for The Ordway Gardens wing opened in 2013.
  • Louis W. Hill, Jr., grandson of railroad executive James J. Hill, is credited with starting St. Paul’s “town affiliation” with Nagasaki. A fan of Asian art, Hill had been to Nagasaki before World War II.
  • The Obon Festival, the high-point of the Japanese garden’s summer season, is on August 21, 2022.

When you sponsor the African penguin or the Sunken Garden, you’ll support the adorable animals and graceful gardens at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, so they thrive all year long. And we’ll send a cuddly penguin plush or elegant conservatory note cards to your friend or loved one.

Sponsor the African penguin or the Sunken Garden today for the special Giving Tuesday price of $45.

When you sponsor the African penguin or the Sunken Garden, you’ll support the adorable animals and graceful gardens at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, so they thrive all year long. And we’ll send a cuddly penguin plush or elegant conservatory note cards to your friend or loved one.

Sponsor the African penguin or the Sunken Garden today for the special Giving Tuesday price of $45.

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Como Friends’ support has been essential to the growth of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Japanese horticultural collection, providing 100 percent of the funding for The Ordway Gardens wing opened in 2013.
  • Louis W. Hill, Jr., grandson of railroad executive James J. Hill, is credited with starting St. Paul’s “town affiliation” with Nagasaki. A fan of Asian art, Hill had been to Nagasaki before World War II.
  • The Obon Festival, the high-point of the Japanese garden’s summer season, is on August 21, 2022.

While the historic Como Zoo and the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory are two of St. Paul’s most beloved cultural treasures, only 16 percent of Como’s average 1.7 million annual visitors come from the Capital City. “An even larger number of visitors, more than 400,000 every year, are actually from greater Minnesota, and 15 percent come from outside the state,” says Michelle Furrer, Como’s Campus Director. “The sheer number of visitors to Como makes clear that we’re an important part of the tourism economy.” In fact, a 2015 study from Sapphire Consulting found that Como annually generates more than $162.7 million in economic impact for our region, along with nearly 2,100 jobs.

Just as important to Minnesota lawmakers, says Furrer, was the strong public/private partnership between Como Friends and Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. “Seeking state funding is a competitive process because there are so many needs across the state,” she says. “Having a strong track record of success working with Como Friends to build improvements like Polar Bear Odyssey and The Ordway Gardens definitely strengthened our case. It showed legislators that we had the community support behind us to leverage additional dollars to achieve our goals with Como Harbor.”

“We’re so proud of what our supporters have made possible in Como Harbor,” says Jackie Sticha. “Generous philanthropic gifts and public funding mean that transformational improvements are possible at Como without compromising our commitment to free admission and barrier-free access for everyone.”

“It is our first visit here, and it is an amazing opportunity. We asked how much it was and they said it’s free. And I said, ‘Are you sure?” –Lionnel Djon, Thunder Bay, Ontario

THANKS TO YOUR SUPPORT COMO, IS FREE AND FABULOUS, 365 DAYS A YEAR

Admission is free. Parking is free. Children are free. Adults are free. Como Zoo is free. The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is free. At Como, free means free.

Como was founded by visionaries and volunteers who foresaw the need for creating a public green space at the heart center of the Twin Cities. More than a century later, that vision has made Como Park Zoo & Conservatory the most visited cultural destination in the state of Minnesota, often welcoming nearly two million children and adults each year. With its historic architecture, significant horticultural collections and state-of-the-art habitats, visiting Como has been a shared memory for more than five generations of Minnesotans.

 But what’s truly unique when compared to other zoos and botanical gardens across the country is Como’s open door policy–free admission that’s made possible, in part, by your contributions to Como Friends. “Over the past 20 years, our successful public/private partnership has helped  protect the free admission this community cares about, and to introduce a whole new generation to the wonders of nature without any barriers to access,” says Jackie Sticha, President of Como Friends, the nonprofit fundraising partner of Como Park Zoo and Conservatory.  

We recently asked a few of Como’s two million annual visitors to talk about why kids need time in nature and what free admission means to them.


“My family and grandkids had the opportunity to spend the day at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. It was the best day ever!

How wonderful that we could see and do so many things for FREE! We did make a donation. It made me realize how many wouldn’t be there if there was a big entrance and parking fee like so many other places. Everyone has a chance to go. That is so great!!

Thank you so much for giving families this memorable experience.” Como Visitor

– Dell Brisson, Cottage Grove
Testimonials

“Introducing kids to nature broadens their world and lets them know it is bigger than they are.”

– Dell Brisson, Cottage Grove
– Gina Thrap, St Paul
Testimonials

“We come to Como probably six times a year. The Sunken Garden is a must—when I was in college I would come and study in the Conservatory because it was nice and warm and relaxing. We obviously like the giraffes, but it’s important to introduce kids to nature so they can see the big picture, the circle of life, and see how we are all connected and we have to take care of our animals, and they take care of us.”

– Gina Thrap, St Paul
– Denise Glasrud, Stillwater
Testimonials

“Como’s free admission allows everyone to come and it doesn’t exclude anyone. And I hope it stays that way. It’s easy to visit for a whole day or just a couple hours. It is such a world of electronics that I think that bringing kids back to nature is a good thing.”

– Denise Glasrud, Stillwater
– Guy and Mae Aho, Shoreview
Testimonials

“With a free zoo, you get more public awareness. We are all involved together in saving the wild species all over the world and the people who are connected to the animals. Helping one is helping all of us.

We come every day—you never know who you’re going to meet. We meet people from all over the world here. We talk to parents with little kids each day, we meet grandparents whose grandparents took them here. Como is one thing that they can share with kids and grandkids for decades.”

– Guy and Mae Aho, Shoreview

Designed by Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s horticulturist Ariel Dressler, this summer’s Sunken Garden Show is all about summer sunsets

Summer sunsets are the inspiration for this year’s Summer Flower Show, featuring a warm palette of glowing tropical and seasonal annuals. From fiery reds like the Hibiscus ‘Imperial Dragon’, red salvia and dark red verbena, to citrus-y orange begonias, tangerine impatiens, striped tiki torch petunias, and canna, the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s longest-running flower show captures the gloaming warmth of the season’s long days.

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