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.
No wonder Travel + Leisure magazine recently described Como as a true urban gem, “half the size of New York City’s Central Park, but [with] more to see.” Owned by all, enjoyed by all, and open every day of the year, there are few places like Como anywhere in the country.
On a recent summer day, we asked just 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.
“Introducing kids to nature broadens their world and lets them know it is bigger than they are.”
– Dell Brisson, Cottage Grove
“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
“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
“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