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Como Park Zoo & Conservatory - St. Paul, MN

Dear Diary,
Saturday mornings mean dropping Landen off at one of the colleges in St. Paul for MN Chill practice for a couple of hours. It frees Madelyn and I to do a little exploring.

Though it's referred to as many names, the Como Park Zoo & Conservatory was a mile up the road from where Landen was. It was my second time going, but Madelyn's first.

The property as a whole, is beautiful.

The Conservatory opened its doors in 1915, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974. In fact, it's humble beginnings date back to 1873, when the City of St. Paul acquired 300 acres of land around Como Lake to create a public park. In essence, it's obviously become so much more than that.

Como Park Zoo & Conservatory greets and delights approximately 1.9 million visitors a year.

And though the gardens provided refuge from the true Minnesota chill, the zoo was Madelyn's main draw. With a park map in hand she happily directed me to the animals she wished to observe that morning.

Like the zebra ...

In the summer months, the Zoo allows visitors to feed the giraffes romaine lettuce and it's been on my bucket list since I realized it was a possibility.

Watching the zoo's baby was quite a sight.

There was also a naughty baby orangutan that climbed the cages to escape its mother's reach.

A penguin kiss ...

In so many ways, a zoo is our gateway to seeing animals we may not otherwise in our lifetime. We're able to come within feet of gorillas, large cats and even polar bears, which are always favorites of mine, then walk away with a greater appreciation for all of earth's creatures.

RELATED POST: Our visit to the Minnesota Zoo

But this gorilla, who seemed so sad as he sat there in his enclosure, really tugged at my heart.

I understand many zoos champion conservation efforts, but unfortunately there are many more that bring controversy to this good intent. I wonder if these animals should remain in their natural habitat, where they belong, instead of on display far from their true home.

Como, though open year round, was definitely in its "off season." The attached amusement park was still, the playground void of children's laughter, the snack bars closed. Crowds were also at a minimum so it felt like Madelyn and I had the place almost to ourselves.

The sleeping wolf hardly seemed like a threat.

While the silence of such a fun, family-friendly place was eerie, it was nice to have such easy access to what the park had to offer.

If you go:
1225 Eastbrook Drive, St. Paul
Admission is free, donations are encouraged

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