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 nearly 5,000 animals – from camels to flamingos – as well as an Imax theater. Recent visitors said 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 the 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 as you'll be covering a lot of ground walking around the complex. If you get hungry traversing the massive facility, 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 90,000 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. 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.
Located south of the downtown area, the Minneapolis Institute of Art is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. (extended hours until 9 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays) and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is free; special exhibits cost extra. Past visitors advised setting aside at least 90 minutes for your visit, though some recommended breaking up your museum tour into two days. Off-street parking is available in a parking ramp south of the museum. There are also surface lots on the northeast and southeast corners of the museum. If you're coming by bus, the museum is located on Route No. 11. For more information about current and upcoming exhibitions, visit the Mia's website.
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