It’s cold outside but Como’s free admission and fun events guarantee a warm welcome
Open 365 days a year, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is a holiday tradition for generations of families. Whether you’re looking for a place to take out-of-town guests, to let kids burn off steam, or to recharge your own batteries this season, there’s a full calendar of free events at Como this month, from festive to restful.
Holiday Flower Show: Now celebrating its 101st season, the Sunken Garden’s profusion of Poinsettias is always the year’s most popular flower show. Be sure to take a seasonal stroll through Minnesota’s most beautiful room, open daily from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Did You Know?
- The always tropical Marjorie McNeely Conservatory was recently named City Pages’ “Best Place to Warm Up” but there are lots of places to come in from the cold at Como Zoo, including the warm indoor outpost at Polar Bear Odyssey, and the jungle-themed viewing station at Gorilla Forest.
- Winter is a great time to explore Como without the crowds. Last year, Como welcomed more than 60,000 visitors in December, compared to 300,000 in August.
December Birthdays: Como Zoo keepers always come up with a little something special to celebrate the birthdays of animal ambassadors like Amanda the orangutan, who turned 40 on December 4. Twin polar bears Buzz and Neil can look forward to a favorite frozen treat when they turn 21 on December 9. Swing by Como’s primate building on December 13 to wish Jaya—big brother to baby Kemala—a happy birthday and see what the primate enrichment team cooks up to help him celebrate.
Minnesota En Plein Air: Como’s plants and animals inspire artist all the time, including the talented members of Outdoor Painters of Minnesota, whose work is on display in the Visitor Center Gallery through December 11.
Noon Year’s Eve: No need to keep the kids up late to celebrate the “zoo” year at Como, where families can ring in 2017 twice on December 31 and January 1 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Don’t miss the countdown to noon and the colorful beachball drop at the center of the Visitor Center, in this popular family event. Our partners at Xcel Energy will be on hand to share conservation tips for the new year.
Music Under Glass: Starting New Year’s Day, the Sunken Garden is the setting for eight Sunday nights of intimate concerts with some of the Twin Cities’ best indie artists, eclectic bands and singer/songwriters.
Each of the free, featured concerts run Sunday evenings from 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., with a cash bar open for beer, wine, soda and light snacks.
January 1: The Sudden Lovelys
January 8: The Teague Alexy Band
January 15: Xavier Matos
January 22: Rachel Ries & Co.
February 5: Sister Tree
February 19: The Bad Companions
February 26: Café Accordion Orchestra