Your Como Summer Itinerary

No matter what time of day you visit, there are always great memories to be made at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Just follow our hour-by-hour tips for making the most of every visit, and you’ll stay a step ahead of the crowds this summer: 

10:00 a.m.: For up-close encounters with animal ambassadors like gorilla Arlene or snow leopard Moutig, get to Como Zoo just after the doors are open when animals are on the prowl. As the day heats up, you may find animals like Amanda the orangutan napping in the shade.

10:30 a.m.: Find out everything you ever wanted to know about the wild cousins of Buzz and Neil, Como Zoo’s twin polar bears, and watch them take part in operant conditioning training sessions that help keep them healthy and curious in Como Zoo’s daily Bear Program.

10:45 a.m.: Como Zoo’s most gregarious giraffe, Skeeter makes new friends every day at the giraffe feeding station where more than 10,000 visitors come to feed him by hand throughout the summer.  For $5, you can experience an amazing meet-and-greet with this gentle giant, feeding him a treat of crunchy romaine lettuce at the day’s public feeding event at the African Hoofstock building.

11:30 a.m.: Sparky the Sea Lion is on shore leave this season while her new home at Como Harbor is under construction–a hiatus that’s giving some lesser-known animal ambassadors a little time to shine. Stop by the Gorilla Forest hut to meet the amphibian, reptile, or mammal chosen to be the day’s new “Spotlight Animal”–a program that gives star treatment to Como Zoo’s edifying team of education animals.

Noon: Flutter over to Blooming Butterflies, the popular pollinator garden, to see some of the more than 6,000 exotic insects that will be released into the exhibit throughout the season. For just $1, you can release your own butterfly and watch it take flight! This delightful interpretive garden opens June 16.

12:30: Did you eat yet? Take a seat in any of Como’s public picnic areas to unpack that p.b. & j. Or order up at Lancer Catering’s Zöbota Café, which features unique grilled sandwiches, hand-tossed salads, fresh bakery treats, Caribou Coffee and free wi-fi.

1:00 p.m.: Tired of the crowds? Head indoors to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and take in the daily Gardener Talk, full of tips, tricks and horticultural history about the state’s greatest greenhouse. Como’s talented horticultural staff love to take questions from the public, so don’t be shy!

1:30 p.m.: From the gorgeous art deco bronze sculptures of the Conservatory, to the brand new public art display in the Minnesota Garden, learn “The Story Behind Como’s Art”–the newest value-added program on Como’s roster. This cultured conversation starts every day at the center of Como’s historic Palm Dome.

2:00 p.m.: Find out how silverback daddy Schroeder is faring with fatherhood now that he has two little ones–toddler Arlene and baby Nyati. Como’s keepers train and enrich Como Zoo’s primates and answer questions from the public everyday at 2 p.m., while interpretive guides are on hand to answer all of your great ape questions every day at 3:30 p.m.

3:00 p.m.: Oriental lilies, cordyline, petunias, geraniums, hibiscus, buddleia, begonia and dichondra are just some of the flowers featured in this year’s Summer Flower Show, the largest and longest-running seasonal display in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory’s Sunken Garden. This year’s flower palette is pink and white, full of fragrance, and packed with plants at their peak of beauty.

4:00 p.m.: See what’s “Washed Ashore” at Como starting the week of June 18 through the summer.  This touring art exhibit of giant sea life sculptures is made entirely of marine debris collected from beaches, graphically illustrating the importance of keeping plastic pollution out of our oceans and waterways.

5:00 p.m.: Wind down after work with a walk around nearby Como Lake, or through the Minnesota Garden now starting its second season in front of Como’s Visitor Center. Full of native plants that thrive in the North Star state, it’s sure to inspire your own gardening plans.

6:00 p.m.: Como has extended hours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. until October 1, and  even more action on Wednesday nights this summer with the return of Groovin’ in the Garden. This free concert series features some of the Twin Cities’ favorite solo artists and ensemble groups, with fun activities for everyone in the family. Check out the full list of concerts and special events here: Special Events

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