When my family was on our recent weekend vacation, we took our three boys to the Minnesota Zoo.
They’ve just unveiled the new 3M Penguins of the African Coast exhibit, which was a must-see for my boys and my husband (who was a penguin enthusiast as a child).
The boys had been “doing the waddle” as soon as they heard we were going to visit the penguins. And fortunately, the new exhibit did not disappoint.
Our family really enjoyed seeing the penguins up close. The exhibit features 40-feet of viewing area including rock and compacted sand formations that allow kids to climb up to the glass and have a nose-to beak experience with the penguins.
We were there at feeding time, and the boys loved watching them eat their fish. We enjoyed learning more about these adorable little penguins while they dove into the water and waddled on the rocks.
With the exception of one child meltdown (which probably had more than a little to do with the 90 degree temperature outside), the rest of our Minnesota Zoo trip was fun, too. We enjoyed seeing tigers, camels, monkeys, and much more. And the boys loved cooling off in the fountains before we went home.
What we didn’t like was the cost. Admission and parking for our family of five would have cost $77 – a bit steep for one afternoon of fun. And that didn’t include any food or souvenirs.
It turns out that a Minnesota Zoo membership is the real value.
For just $130 a year, our family of five (and a guest) could visit the zoo as many times as we would like. Membership includes discounts on educational classes, birthday parties, purchases at the zoo store, and 50% off Monorail tickets.
Zoo membership also includes a half-price admission at more than 100 other zoos across the country, so you can visit your home zoo as much as you’d like, and check out a new zoo on vacation for a fraction of the regular cost.
Our visit to the Minnesota Zoo made me wish we lived closer (we’re four hours away) so that we could take full advantage of a zoo membership. There was so many fun things to do and see and we would have liked to have had more time to visit.
Something tells me we’ll be back to see the penguins. There’s just something about that waddle.
Disclosure: The Minnesota Zoo sent me four passes to the zoo, along with a t-shirt and other promotional items for the new penguin exhibit, but the opinions here are 100% my own.