As a Conservation Champion, Como Zoo primate keeper Em Brunmeier traveled to Peru to learn more about spider monkeys in the wild

Behind the scenes in Como Zoo’s Primate Building, Brunmeier has become a big fan of the four spider monkeys in her care—Gomez, Katie, Ellie, and Jazz—and she applied to learn more about their cousins in the wild through Conservation Champions, the Como Friends micro-grant program that encourages Como’s keepers and horticulturists to take part in conservation efforts in the field. After researching conservation projects around South America, she decided that the Kawsay Biological Station in Puerto Maldonado, Madre de Dios, Peru was the place to be. 

“What was really special about this location was that the team there had been able to bring back and restore a spider monkey population that had been locally extinct, and that was something that I was really excited to be part of, and to see how they were managing that,” she says. “They also work with other scientists in the area, like botanists and PhD students from abroad to research other parts of the ecosystem and how they all correlate with spider monkeys. I really wanted the chance to learn more about how all of these factors come together.” 

As part of the project, Brunmeier joined a team of researchers tracking spider monkeys that had been previously released into the Tambopata National Reserve to study the seasonal variation of their behavior. “With no GPS collars or other tracking devices, it was quite a task,” she says. “We had no guarantee we would find them and had to go pretty far into the Amazon rainforest.” But once the spider monkeys were located, Brunmeier got the chance to hear the full chorus of their vocalizations. “For spider monkeys in the wild, their home range is nearly 700 acres, and they often split up their group and then reunite at night to sleep together,” she says. “To do all of that requires quite a lot of logistics, so they’ve come up with quite a lot of vocalizations. They have little chirping sounds that they make when they’re close to each other, and really loud, bellowing calls that they use to try and find each other over long distances. It was so fun listening to them—they  have lots of things to say.” 

During her two and a half weeks in the field, Brunmeier also got the chance to care for young spider monkeys in a rehabilitation facility. “That’s where my personal expertise came in handy, because hands-on care of the animals is what I do every day,” she says. “I was also able to talk with the team about how we do primate enrichment at AZA [Association of Zoos and Aquariums] institutions in the U.S., which is something I’m passionate about.” 

Now back at Como Zoo, Brunmeier says her trip to Peru has brought new insights to her work with spider monkeys, and new ideas for ongoing animal enrichment to the conservation work at Kawsay Biological Station. “What’s cool about the Conservation Champions trips is that it’s a two-way street,” she says. “We get the chance to learn about the animals we care about in the wild, and because we know our animals at Como Zoo so well, we also have important things to share with our conservation partners.” 

Our Conservation Champions Program would not be possible without your support. Thank you!

Personalizing nature is one of the first steps in protecting it

Sparky, Neil, Chloe, and Schroeder are just a few of the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory animals known to millions of visitors by their first names. Though there was once a time when zoos shied away from showcasing the individual animals in their care, a growing body of research now tells us that encouraging the public to forge personal connections to nature is one of the best ways to protect it. 

That thinking is the driving force behind a series of new education and engagement strategies now in effect at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory, thanks to support from Advancing Conservation through Empathy (ACE) for Wildlife, a learning network of AZA-accredited zoos, aquariums, and other institutions exploring effective practices for fostering empathy for animals.

“The old theory was that simply sharing knowledge would be enough to inspire action, but what we’re coming to realize is that fostering meaningful emotional connections is just as  important. Having empathy for an animal builds the desire to act on their behalf,” says Bekah Hanes, Como’s education and conservation curator. “Empathy is a skill you can develop and build on, and it’s becoming an important tool to help people cross the finish line from thinking about conservation to actually acting out those values, long after a zoo visit is over.”

The official shift toward empathy-focused engagement started in 2016, when Como Friends secured a major grant to help Como Park Zoo & Conservatory implement a new education and engagement strategy called the ROADMAP (Reaching Our Audiences by Developing Mission Aligned Programs). While the pandemic put a pause on public education programs for a time, Como continued to move ahead with its mission, securing grants from ACE for Wildlife to rewrite Como’s volunteer interpretive programs with an empathy focus, to use empathy as the lens for a new education strategic plan, and to create new permanent signage in the wolves and large cats habitat that uses empathy-inspiring language. While Como is one of the inaugural members of the ACE for Wildlife Learning Network, a special project of Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo, the empathy movement is gaining ground with many other AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums. 

Public Engagement Coordinator Kelsey Raffel says “it’s a great shift that’s happened in a relatively short amount of time,” in part because it embodies an approach toward audience engagement that Como’s keepers, horticulturists, interpreters, and educators gravitate toward naturally. “Focusing on empathy in our education programs, volunteer training, and visitor engagement has gotten a great reception from the campus,” she says. “For instance, our interpretive staff have shared that they love talking about the individual animals we care for, their personalities and likes and dislikes, and this approach really encourages them to do that.” 


Jackie Sticha, president of Como Friends, says community support is critical to providing the resources Como Park Zoo & Conservatory needs to stay current as a conservation educator and a national leader in animal care. More than 20 years ago, Como Friends funding helped Como Zoo make a shift toward positive reinforcement training for animals, and we see this empathy work as part of that same evolution,” she says. “It’s just natural to want to know the names of the animals at Como Zoo, and now the research tells us it’s also a really powerful way of connecting visitors to the natural world.”

The holidays are a great time to get closer to Como Zoo’s animals

The summer months are always Como Zoo’s high season, but animal fans in the know often prefer late fall, early winter. “It’s one of the best times to be here, because the animals are so active and engaging,” says Como Zoo senior keeper Jill Erzar. “We heard from so many visitors how much they enjoyed being here on Thanksgiving Day and how wonderful the animals were.” 

Some of that excitement is due to a flurry of furry new faces, all recently arrived at Como Zoo. Here’s a look at some of the new animals you’re likely to encounter on your next Como visit.

  • Ivy

    A social media star within hours of her arrival, this six foot tall, 132-pound baby giraffe has been captivating crowds and keepers alike. “She is incredibly feisty,” Erzar says, noting that it took four keepers to keep her still during her neonatal “well baby” exam just 72 hours after she was born. “We can’t walk by her without her attempting to kick us.” Her fighting spirit is a great sign of her overall health, and the doting care she’s getting from mother Zinnia, a seven-year-old female who moved to Como Zoo last summer. When it came time to name the new giraffe, more than 15,000 Como visitors voted from among three plant-themed names to pick their favorite. Judging by how fast she’s growing, Ivy is just the right choice. 

  • Bernadette

    Still skittish about making her public debut at Como Zoo, visitors have definitely heard the new female tiger making noise behind the scenes. “She’s a nice, calm, and very vocal cat,” Erzar says about the nine-year-old female originally from the Oregon Zoo. While she’s getting used to her new surroundings, keepers are taking their time introducing her to Tsar, a male tiger that could become her breeding partner. “Tiger introductions are a big deal,” Erzar says. “They’re normally solitary cats with the potential to injure each other, so we want to take the time to ensure there aren’t any issues.”

    Photo courtesy of Zookeeper Megan Hagedorn, Oregon Zoo

  • Ruby

    At nearly 700 pounds, this bison is definitely the biggest arrival Como Zoo has seen all year. But at only 16 months old, Ruby will also have plenty of room to grow in Como’s newly expanded bison habitat. Ruby is a member of the Minnesota Bison Conservation Herd, a collaboration between the Department of Natural Resources and the Minnesota Zoo, which is working to protect the genetic diversity and future health of the state’s growing bison herds at Blue Mounds State Park, Minneopa State Park, and the Spring Lake Park Reserve Bison Prairie. “She’s getting along very well and seems to really like our male bison, Bogo,” says Erzar. As winter weather descends, Ruby and Bogo will be in their element, with wooly coats that can help them withstand temps of -40F, and 50-mile-an-hour winds.

  • Willow

    Born in May, this snow leopard cub has become a visitor favorite for her adventurous spirit and natural curiosity. Though she was born blind, she’s been an intrepid explorer in the habitat she shares with mother Alya, occasionally climbing to heights that she can’t quite figure out how to come down from. “She is very playful and living her best life,” says Erzar, who says that the young cub is also showing growing interest in her keepers, especially now that “she’s realized that’s where food comes from.” 

    Permanently blind due to multiple ocular colobomas, the young snow leopard underwent an operation earlier this year to remove retinal tissue that could cause health troubles down the line. “She will be blind the rest of her life,”  says veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Melissa Lively, who confirmed the cat’s diagnosis this spring. “But because she’s never had vision, she’s never known anything different, and she’ll be able to do everything a normal snow leopard cub could do. We know that cats are fantastic at using their touch, their hearing, and their sense of smell to explore their habitat and run zoomies just like a visual cub would do. In the wild, this cub would not survive moving through vast environments without being able to see where prey is coming from, but in this zoo setting, blind cats can thrive. Especially with all of the great care they get at Como Zoo.”

    Willow’s parents Moutig and Alya will be visible in the outside habitat this winter while keepers help Willow learn to safely explore her habitat through more training behind-the-scenes. Working to meet the special needs of individual animals is one of the many ways that Como’s care team helps animals of every species thrive.

Caring for polar bears every day can be exhausting. Just ask Como Zoo’s Julie Yarrington, one of a team of aquatics keepers who keep an eagle eye on Como’s three polar bears, Nan, Kulu, and Neil.

Earlier this year, Neil was diagnosed with gastric dilatation-volvulus, or bloat, an urgent medical condition that required emergency surgery. Surgery is a risk for any animal, but especially for one as old as Neil, now nearing 28 years of age, and one of the oldest male polar bears in North America.

“Because of his age, there was a high risk that he wouldn’t rebound,” says Yarrington, who spent more than a month “just hoping we could get him to eat, eat, eat. It was very mentally exhausting.”

Fortunately, after a few weeks, Neil pulled through and has been very particular about his diet, showing a strong preference for his favorite comfort food of canned salmon and canned tuna. As Neil has regained strength and been reintroduced to his companions, keepers have changed the polar bears’ feeding schedule to cut Neil’s risk of further complications. “Instead of getting a big breakfast in the morning, we now feed him three to four times a day,” Yarrington says. 

To allow his incision to heal, Neil had to stay out of the water and away from his favorite companion, Nan, a feisty 28-year-old female. Brought to Como Zoo three years ago in order to be a non-breeding partner to Neil following the death of Buzz, his twin brother, the pairing between the two elder bears has worked out beautifully. 

“Neil just wants to be wherever Nan is,” says Yarrington. “It was hard for him at first, but once it healed up he was able to get to the pool and was able to clean himself up. Guests may not really notice his incision site, which is already covered up by fur.”

Your Give to the Max Day contributions to Como Friends help to provide cutting-edge veterinary care to animals like Neil, ensuring both great veterinary care and the creature comforts that keep animals healthy and curious. “While he’s been recovering, he’s also been into his other favorite foods, Cool Whip and sherbet—in moderation,” Yarrington says. “When you live to be the oldest male polar bear in North America, you definitely deserve a couple of spoonfuls of sherbet.”

Make your Give to the Max Day gift here. Thank you!

Conservation at the Forefront, Free Admission for All

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is a gateway to the wonders of the natural world, where free admission makes it possible to teach two million children and adults the values of conservation every year. From rare orchids to endangered orangutans, there’s a whole world of wild and precious plants and animals to discover at Como, with family-friendly conservation programs that inspire us to appreciate and protect the planet we love.

On Give to the Max Day, your generosity will help make even more possible at Minnesota’s most visited cultural destination. From providing best-practice care for the animals, to earth-friendly pest control to keep Como’s gardens looking gorgeous, to inclusive programs to train the next generation of keepers and gardeners, your support allows Como Park Zoo & Conservatory to stay true to its mission, teaching us all about the life-giving connections between animals, plants, and people.

And thanks to a matching gift from the Como Friends Board of Directors and generous longtime donors, your gift will be doubled, dollar for dollar, up to $40,000.

Conservation Champion Jill Erzar traveled to Tanzania to help Wild Nature Institute track giraffe across the Serengeti

“Giraffes have been very underestimated, and under-researched for a long time,” says Como Zoo keeper Jill Erzar. “But over the last decade or so, that’s begun to change, and we’re beginning to understand that giraffes are, in fact, highly intelligent, with social hierarchies and relationships that are as complex as elephants and chimpanzees.”

Reaching heights of 18 feet and beyond, giraffes are the tallest mammal on earth. 

But with brains that are relatively small compared to their body size, scientists haven’t always been sure if their elevators go all the way to the top. 

“Giraffes have been very underestimated, and under-researched for a long time,” says Como Zoo keeper Jill Erzar. “But over the last decade or so, that’s begun to change, and we’re beginning to understand that giraffes are, in fact, highly intelligent, with social hierarchies and relationships that are as complex as elephants and chimpanzees.” 

Thanks to a recent grant from Como Friends’ Conservation Champions program, Erzar herself has been contributing to that body of research as a volunteer for the Wild Nature Institute. The conservation group behind the largest demographic survey of giraffes in the world, Wild Nature Institute takes a non-invasive approach to giraffe research, relying entirely on photographic identification to track the births, deaths, movement and social bonds of about 4,100 individual giraffes across 25,000 square miles of the Tarangire and Serengeti ecosystems in Tanzania.  

As a seasoned giraffe keeper who can spot the subtle difference in every giraffe’s unique markings, Erzar’s well-trained eye and expertise were a welcome skill set on the Serengeti this summer, as the conservation group worked to compare and analyze more than a decade’s worth of data about wild giraffe. “I was able to make more than 9,000 matches during the 10 days I spent in country,” says Erzar, who also got the chance to meet and learn from giraffe experts in the field.  “For me the biggest take-away from this trip is that giraffes need protected areas because poaching is still their number one risk. Even with projected climate change impacts in that area, nothing threatens their survival as much as illegal hunting and poaching.” 

Though it will take time for Wild Nature Institute’s findings to be published and shared more widely with other conservation researchers, new discoveries about giraffes are coming to light all the time. For instance, scientists who once considered giraffes to be aloof and anti-social have discovered that in fact, giraffes live in complex social systems and super communities, and even prefer to eat with favored companions. A 2023 study found that giraffes are capable of statistical reasoning, while a 2021 study found that giraffes prefer a fair fight, and will only spar with individuals of the same size. Another growing topic of interest within the giraffe field is the so-called “grandmother hypothesis,” a theory that suggests that menopausal female giraffes may have an important role to play in raising young. 

“It’s really cool to see that giraffes are finally having their moment, and I absolutely love being on the forefront of a group that believes that non-invasive [data gathering] is the best way to study them,” Erzar says. 

Como Friends’ Conservation Champions program, funded with donations from our generous supporters, has made it possible for Jill to travel to Africa three times in recent years, supporting conservation partners in the field, while bringing home new experiences and insights that can help enhance the care she gives to animals at Como Zoo every day. “Making the trip to work with Wild Nature Institute helps me to tell the story of our own giraffes better,” she says. “I can tell visitors that our giraffes really do look and behave just like the giraffes in Tanzania. And the more we learn about giraffes, the more we can do to improve their welfare in the wild and here at Como.”

The biodiversity of Como’s rainforest habitat requires complex care  

“When we try to pick out anything by itself,” the famous naturalist John Muir once wrote, “we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”

The profound interdependence of plants, animals and people is one of the lessons Como Park Zoo & Conservatory strives to convey to more than a million visitors every year, and nowhere is that lesson more evident than in Tropical Encounters. Opened in 2006, the immersive rainforest habitat features an extensive array of tropical plants and trees, and an equally diverse range of animals, from high-flying tanagers, to a slithering anaconda, to Chloe, Como’s beloved free-ranging sloth.

With so many living things under one roof, Como Zoo keepers and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory horticulturists collaborate closely within Tropical Encounters to ensure that making a change in one corner of the habitat doesn’t have negative impacts for other residents of the rainforest. That’s why the Tropical Encounters team is taking its time on a major soil replacement project this season paid for by your contributions to Como Friends.

Visitors this summer may notice that horticulturists are taking a staged approach to the process, removing spent soil from one location at a time, to make sure that the root systems of rainforest trees and the animals that live in the vicinity are all thriving. The effort is a little bit like repotting a giant terrarium, says horticulturist Diane Rafats: “We do take special care in this habitat. Everything we do here can affect everything that lives here.”

Private support secured by Como Friends is critical to making behind-the-scenes improvements that keep every corner of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory healthy and thriving. This year, Como Friends’ funding will also support a new lighting system for the North Garden’s gorgeous collection of economic plants, a new sound system to improve the experience for visitors, and a new design plan to renovate and repair Como’s popular Victorian Water Garden pool. Thank you!

It’s been a busy season of new arrivals at Como Zoo

Stanley, Houdini, Mutambi, Stevie….there are a lot of new names to match to new faces at Como Zoo. Here’s a sneak peek of the new animals you should be sure to meet on your next visit.

  • Zinnia
    Species: Reticulated Giraffe

    Seven-year-old Zinnia arrived at Como Zoo this spring to be a companion to Clover, who lost her long-time friend, 23-year-old Daisy, earlier this year. Zinnia is easy to recognize, says senior keeper Jill Erzar, because of her “beautiful dark face and the cute freckles on her bum.” Though she’s got a laid-back vibe, keepers say she’s very food-oriented and is increasingly curious about the giraffe feeding station. So far, Zinnia and Skeeter, the habitat’s resident male giraffe, are giving each other lots of space. “Skeeter seems to be terrified of her,” Erzar says. “We have no idea what that’s about.”

  • Stanley and Stevie
    Species: Nyala

    These spiral-horned antelopes native to southern Africa are known for their eye-catching coats and their gregarious nature. “The nyala are very calm, interactive and engaging,” says Erzar. “They don’t mind crowds either—they’re incredibly chill.” Brought to Como Zoo this spring as part of a species survival plan, the two young nyala may become a breeding pair if the chemistry is right. “We haven’t seen any behavior like that so far, but nyala males have a unique breeding display. The mane along their spine stands completely upright when they’re trying to attract a mate, so that’s something we’ll be looking out for in Stanley.”

  • Ziggy and Sago
    Species: Hoffmann’s Two-Toed Sloths

    The milk crates you see strung up in the former lemur habitat have become a favorite hang-out spot for Ziggy, a 2-year-old male sloth who’s just moved in with his partner Sago, a 5-year-old female. The couple could become a breeding pair in the future, though, as zookeeper Mike Marazzi explains, the courtship process can be very slow. “Sloths are very private about things, so any breeding that takes place is usually going to happen overnight, and when they do have a baby, it could be a bit of a surprise to us since female sloths don’t always show their pregnancies with a visible weight gain,” he explains. Though they’re living in the primate building this summer, sloths are not related to their neighbors the orangutans and spider monkeys. Instead, they belong to the superorder Xenarthra, and share a family tree with anteaters and armadillos.

    Photo taken by Zookeeper Michelle Hays.

  • Houdini and Mutambi
    Species: African Gray crowned crane

    Houdini, 13, and Mutambi, 5, are part of a species survival plan breeding recommendation for the gray crowned crane, the national bird of Uganda. But so far, Houdini is only doing his courtship dance for his keepers. “Houdini hasn’t quite figured out that his girlfriend is awesome,” Erzar says. You might notice the cranes stamping their feet—a behavior that helps flush insects and other prey out of the grass.

To learn more about the new faces at Como Zoo, check out the Fall edition of the Como Friends Insider. Delivered free to Como Friends’ members, this quarterly newsletter features behind-the-scenes stories about the people, plants and animals that make Como Park Zoo & Conservatory Minnesota’s most visited cultural destination. Become a member today!

Blind at birth, Como Zoo’s newest snow leopard is using her other four senses to explore her new world

One of the most anticipated new arrivals at Como Zoo, the seven-pound female snow leopard born on May 6 is taking her time getting acquainted with her new world. Like all snow leopard cubs, spending quality time with her mother is crucial to getting a good start in life.

“With snow leopards, the father is involved in the breeding process, and then he is actively pushed out of the environment in the wild,’’ explains Como Zoo keeper Hans Jorgensen. That’s why Como visitors may notice that father Moutig is almost always outside in the snow leopards’ public habitat, while mother Alya has been behind the scenes, nursing and bonding with her newest cub. “Alya’s an excellent mother, and with this cub, she’s 100 percent invested.”

Alya’s fierce pride and strong maternal instinct are also providing keepers a hopeful sign of the long-term health prospects for the new cub, who was born with a set of eyelid abnormalities that keepers noted at her birth. Veterinary ophthalmologist Dr. Melissa Lively recently confirmed the diagnosis as Multiple Ocular Colobomas—a lack of retinal and other eye tissue—a permanent condition that can’t be reversed or repaired. “She will be blind the rest of her life,” Lively explains. “But because she’s never had vision, she’s never known anything different, and she’ll be able to do everything a normal snow leopard cub could do. We know that cats are fantastic at using their touch, their hearing, and their sense of smell to explore their habitat and run zoomies just like a visual cub would do. In the wild, this cub would not survive moving through vast environments without being able to see where prey is coming from, but in this zoo setting blind cats can thrive. Especially with all of the great care they get at Como Zoo.”

While the young cub may need surgery in the near future to prevent infection and other complications, lack of vision is unlikely to impair the longevity or welfare of the young snow leopard, now about eight weeks old and about as many pounds.



“Baby and mom are doing great, and I don’t even know if Alya can tell that her cub has no vision,” says Jorgensen. “Six weeks is the point where snow leopard cubs start to get super active, and though she’s blind, she’s very mobile and seems to love exploring.” 

An eager eater, the young cub is also busting her way through the baby growth charts. “She’s a milk-drinking machine,” Jorgensen says proudly.

While she’s hitting all of her developmental milestones, her keepers are also being mindful about ways to make her as comfortable and curious as possible as she grows into her new home. “Milestones for her agility might be pushed back a little later as she figures out the geography of her habitat,” he says. “There might be some accommodations we’ll make for her, things we’ll need to be aware of in terms of keeping her environment very consistent.’’ 

As part of Como Friends’ Sunset Affair fundraising gala this month, the winning bidder in the event’s silent auction will have the chance to select a name for the new cub that captures her native curiosity and fighting spirit. 

“She’s getting fluffier by the day and her claws and paws are gigantic at this point,” says Jorgensen, who’s gotten accustomed to being scratched, clawed and peed on every time he scoops the new cub up for vet care and occasional weigh-ins. “It’s all in a day’s work, but it’s also a big deal to have a new snow leopard cub. Once we could see mother and baby were doing well together, there was a big sigh of relief, and now we’re just enjoying how unbelievably cute they are together.”

How to spend a summer day at Como… without spending a dime

With a full roster of daily public programs and the long-awaited return of Como’s fantastic interpretive volunteers, there are more ways than ever to connect to conservation at Como Park Zoo & Conservatory. As the crowds make a comeback, here’s how to make the most of your summer days at Como, Minnesota’s most visited cultural institution. And with free admission for all, making great memories won’t cost a thing…

  • Mission Safari

    Jump like a kangaroo, swing through the trees like an orangutan, and hang like a sloth in Como’s new immersive maze attraction, now open through Labor Day. Designed for kids, and fun for families, your journey through Mission Safari will make you even smarter about the earth’s amazing biodiversity.

  • The SPIRE Sparky Show

    A Minnesota tradition since 1956, the new Spire Sparky Show has been reimagined for a new generation, with an even greater focus on conservation, and lead roles shared by all six boisterous and high-energy residents of the state-of-the-art habitat. Check it out daily at shows at 11:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.

  • Keeper and Gardener Talks

    Meet and learn from the people who know Como’s plants and animals best during these engaging, small group experiences. With a daily keeper talk at 11 a.m. and a gardener talk at 1 p.m., listen to the Como public service announcements to find out where the day’s talks will take place.

  • Nature Walk

    Those talented teenage interpreters you may meet around campus this summer are part of Como’s popular Nature Walk program. Selected through a competitive process, these young volunteers receive special training to teach Como visitors even more about our animals and plants. They also make  conservation look cool—especially for our younger visitors. Every year, Nature Walk volunteers help to bring more than 200,000 visitors a little closer to Como’s natural collections.

  • Senior Strolls

    Get fit and make new friends at one of these early access mornings, specifically for the 55+ and up crowd. Visit Como’s website to register in advance for June 21 and more upcoming dates. 

  • Lil’ Explorers

    Free every Thursday from 10 a.m. to noon, Como’s Donor Plaza (or in the Visitor Center during inclement weather) becomes a fun conservation station for preschoolers, with storytime, hands-on activities, and nature themes including  Night Time Animals on June 22, Animal Families on June 29, Junior Gardener on July 6 and Bird Buddies on July 13.

  • Sensory-Friendly Early Entry

    Developed in partnership with the Autism Society of Minnesota, these early morning entry opportunities allow visitors to explore Como without the crowds, along with a social narrative to prepare guests for what they’ll see, hear and smell during a morning at Como. Visit Como’s website to reserve a spot for upcoming dates, including July 9, August 13 and September 10. 

  • Groovin’ in the Garden

    Pack a picnic and prepare to shake your groove thing at the Twin Cities’ favorite family-friendly concert series. With fun activities for kids, and a fantastic lineup of local favorites, you’ll want to put this Wednesday concert series into regular rotation. Upcoming concerts include Ty Pow & The Holy North on June 21; Red Eye Ruby on June 28; and FLOWTUS on July 5. Held outdoors in front of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, hot dogs, ice cream treats, beer and wine are also available to purchase.

  • Cafesjian’s Carousel

    A Minnesota tradition that just keeps turning, Como’s historic carousel is now open through Labor Day, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., offering free rides on June 27, July 25, August 29 and September 26.

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