Wednesday, June 1, 2011

kid adventures - MN Zoo

Kid adventures is a new weekly posting that I will post on Wednesdays throughout the summer.  This series will include great things to do in the city and surrounding area.  Most will be very minimal expense, so you can continue to cut the crust off your budget... and enjoy spending some fun with the kids.

The MN Zoo is a great place to visit year round.  In the summer, we generally stick to the outdoor trails, and in the winder, we tour the indoor trails.  But all year round, we have to see the dolphins and snow monkeys.  Our son loves watching the dolphins, and luckily the snow monkeys can be seen from indoors at the zoo, so we don't have to freeze outside in the winter.

In the past, we have had a yearly household plus membership, which allowed us to go to the zoo with the kids or another adult to go to the zoo.  This year, we decided to just go with the yearly household membership, which doesn't allow another adult to go with the kids.  However, at this point, we don't have a need for the plus membership, so we will be able to save a bit on our membership.  The household plus membership is $115 and the household membership is $95.  This may seem like a lot out of pocket initially, but here's what we do to save money at the zoo.

Every zoo visit, we pack snacks and/or lunch.  Our kids know that we don't buy any of the overpriced food or toys at the zoo, so they don't even ask.  There are lots of areas for picnicking indoors and outdoors, and lots of families do it, so you won't feel out of place.

When you buy a membership, parking is free.  Otherwise, parking is $5 per vehicle, 3-12 year olds are $10 each, and adults are $16.  In one visit, just for entrance, we would pay $47, so our membership pays for itself if we go three times.

However, if you want to visit the zoo on the cheap, check out your library system for the Museum Adventure Pass.  The is valid for admission of up to two people, but you can check out one per library card.  With this pass, you do have to pay for the parking, but you could potentially have your whole family go for $5.  The catch on this is that the zoo passes are very popular, so you will want to call the library ahead of time to determine if they have any passes in stock or could search local libraries to see which libraries have the most passes.

Cutting the crust off to enjoy adventures with kids.