Minnesota Zoo#9 in Best Things To Do in Minneapolis - St. Paul
Situated about 30 minutes south of downtown Minneapolis in the suburb of Apple Valley, this 485-acre complex shelters an impressive menagerie of more than 4,700 animals — from camels to flamingos — as well as an Imax theater. Recent visitors say the zoo is a great family activity, no matter the weather. If you're interested in learning more about the animals native to the state, plan on visiting the Medtronic Minnesota Trail exhibit, which includes wolverines, coyotes and the American black bear. You'll find more exotic species in the zoo's Discovery Bay, which includes a 218,000 gallon Shark Reef exhibit. Along with the animals, the zoo also boasts its own hand-crafted Conservation Carousel (rides are not included in zoo admission).
Travelers are complimentary of the zoo, especially its education and conservation efforts, but visitors do suggest wearing comfortable shoes. "Be prepared to walk as the exhibitions are spread out around a large amount of land and there is no tram or train, but it is well worth the walk," said one TripAdvisor reviewer. If you get hungry traversing the massive complex, you'll find several eateries on site, including the Call of the Wild Food Court and several cafes open seasonally. You can also pack your own snacks or lunch — the zoo allows visitors to bring in outside food and outdoor picnic tables are available.
Sitting south of the Minneapolis-Saint Paul International Airport, the Minnesota Zoo is open every day from 9 a.m. to 4 or 6 p.m., depending on the day and the season. Admission is $18 for adults and $12 for kids 3 to 12 years old; children 2 and younger can enter for free. If you want to catch an Imax film, you'll have to part with a bit more cash. Parking is $7 per car per day. For more information about the zoo's seasonal offerings and special events, visit the Minnesota Zoo website.
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#1 Minneapolis Institute of Art
Sheltering more than 83,000 works of art that span more than 5,000 years, the Minneapolis Institute of Art is the place to go if you're an art aficionado. Whether you're interested in Ancient Egyptian artifacts or European masterpieces by artists such as Titian and Monet, this museum has what you need to get your fix. Recent visitors attest the museum is well-suited for all ages, thanks to the kids scavenger hunt offerered by the museum. "We took three young children to visit the Minneapolis Institute of Art and had a wonderful time. This is a very family-friendly art museum," said one TripAdvisor reviewer. Along with the impressive collection of art, travelers are also complimentary of the museum's other offerings, including the Agra Culture Coffee Shop and Cafe.
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