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Here in Minnesota we have what some longtime residents still refer to as “The New Zoo.” It’s not so new any more – it opened in 1978 – but it is a lot newer than the other Twin Cities Zoo (Como Zoo, which opened in 1897).
One of the things I love so much about the Minnesota Zoo is one of the things that visitors often complain about. The outdoor exhibits are large & natural, and the animals have plenty of room to move around. I take a lot of photos of the animals at the zoo and I hate it when there’s no way to get an image that doesn’t have a fence or enclosure in it. Even though I’m obviously not taking my pictures of tigers out in the wild, I want them to at least look as natural as possible.
For a while, due to lack of funding and interest, the zoo had very little change. Then, in 2000, they hired Lee Ehmke away from New York’s Bronx Zoo to be the new director. Under Mr. Ehmke’s leadership the Minnesota Zoo has gone from being a good zoo to being a great world-class zoo. He’s gotten old exhibits such as the Minnesota Trail spruced up and rebuilt as well as bringing in entirely new exhibits with new animals such as the new Penguin exhibit and the Russia’s Grizzly Coast exhibit.
I’ve been a member of the MNZoo for over a decade now and I am consistently impressed by each new exhibit they build. They always hold member’s nights for the new stuff so that Zoo members can get the first look at it. Another awesome feature they’ve added to member’s previews in just the last few years is an 18+ preview night. Zoos are great for kids, and kids love them. But, if you don’t have kids and aren’t at the zoo with kids it is sooooo nice to be viewing the exhibits with only adults. My membership is just an individual adult one so I take advantage of the quieter preview.
I have taken hundreds if not thousands of pictures at the Minnesota Zoo. Here are just a few of them: