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Get up close to the Polar Bears to observe special enrichment, training, or zoo keeper talks!
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory hosts creative, hands-on classes designed especially for homeschool students, ages 5-15 (as noted). During each class, students will explore the natural world with art projects, plant and animal visitors, scavenger hunts and more. A variety of age appropriate activities are incorporated into each program. There’s something for everyone!
Cost: $12 per child ($10.80 per child for Como Friends members)
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory now offers group tour packages! Our tour packages include a Como Education staff led visit to the gardens of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory along with up close animal encounters with some of our Animal Ambassadors in a classroom setting.
A 10% discount from Como’s Garden Safari Gifts is also included for group tour participants.
A $50 non-refundable deposit is required to secure a date.
An educational program from Como Park Zoo and Conservatory will enhance any curriculum! We have the ability to provide your group with a fun and interactive presentation at your site or at Como (travel restrictions apply). Each program uses a variety of sensory aids, including live plants, animals or other fun interactive components to enhance the learning experience.
45 – 60 minutes, unless otherwise noted
Maximum 50, unless otherwise noted; A $20/student fee is applied to each student over the program limit
60 mile/60 minute radius from Como Park Zoo and Conservatory (restrictions may apply)
Although Library Programs were designed to be presented to audiences in libraries, they can be done in almost any location, for any situation! There is a 100 person limit for these interactive, story-based presentations.
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, in partnership with Hamline University, offers a variety of professional development workshops for teachers looking to further their understanding of the natural world. Upon completion of each course, students will earn one semester credit through Hamline University’s Center for Global and Environmental Education.
Join us for a unique experience and gain a new whole perspective of how the plants of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory are grown and cared for. There are no set dates or times, all are mutually agreed upon at booking time.
Each program is approximately 75 minutes in length.
Cost: $15 per person or a $225 minimum
* A $50 non-refundable deposit is required to secure a date for a Garden Club program.
To register call (651) 487-8272 or email us at [email protected]
Friday, March 24, 2017
10:00 am - 4:00 pm
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory
1225 Estabrook Dr
Thank you for contacting Como Zoo & Conservatory.
See hundreds of butterflies from Africa, Asia, North, Central and South America flying freely in an indoor, temporary exhibit among tropical plants in a lush garden environment. This free, seasonal butterfly exhibit is a total immersion experience. Be here to witness hundreds of butterflies as they metamorphous from crawling caterpillars into beautiful winged creatures. The screened structure encloses close to 3000 square feet of garden butterfly habitat. Como’s Blooming Butterflies exhibit features a variety of butterfly species and the native flowering nectar plants that sustain them.
Join us for a Pollinator Gardening Workshop July 9th, 8:30-12:30PM!
$40/person (must be at least 18 years old)
Come explore the magnificent world of butterflies and the plants that sustain them. Zoo staff will guide your exploration of the butterfly life cycle and the behaviors that captivate our imagination. Conservatory staff will instruct you on the basic elements needed for productive, healthy habitats in your community. Start the morning with an exclusive guided tour of Como’s Blooming Butterflies exhibit before public hours and leave the workshop with six select native plants for your own garden.
Como Park Zoo & Conservatory is serving up scrumptious garden fun for the fifth year in a row with the Edible Garden.
The Edible Garden will feature an array of vegetables, fruits, herbs, and flowers. All plants are grown from seed and every plant in the garden has at least one edible part. It is an exhibit for visitors of all ages, designed to teach about planting and preparing foods that can be grown at home. The Como gardening staff hopes the exhibit will offer visitors an appreciation for how easy it is to grow a large variety of plants in Minnesota.
The exhibit will open Friday, June 12 and run through the summer. Trained staff and volunteers will be onsite from 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. to answer guests’ questions. At 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. Monday – Friday, the Conservatory gardening staff will give gardener talks about growing techniques, ways to harvest and prepare food from your garden, natural pest control, and creative edible landscape design. The garden display covers more than 8,000 square feet and is south of the Visitor Center.
In 2014 the Edible Garden staff harvested 119.82 lbs. of produce for the Saint Paul Recreation Centers’ various cooking classes and summer programs, 666.54 lbs. of produce that was fed to Como Zoo animals, and 657.911 lbs of produce that was donated to Keystone Community Services, a community-based human service organization in St. Paul offering a variety of human service programs for all ages. The goal for 2015 is to exceed last year’s harvest, which totaled 1444 lbs. Some of the more interesting plants grown in the garden this year include Jerusalem artichoke, tigger melon, vegetable spaghetti squash, Polar bear pumpkins and a wide variety of peppers.
The Edible Garden is funded by the Legacy Amendment.
Abelmoschus esculentus, Okra, Baby Bubba Hybrid
Abelmoschus esculentus, Okra, Hill Country Red
Allium ampeloprasum, Leek, Blue Solaise
Allium cepa, Onion, Long Day Sampler
Allium cepa, Scallion, Guardsman
Allium sativum, Garlic, Extra Select
Allium schoenoprasum, Chives, Purly
Anethum graveolens, Dill, Fernleaf
Apium, Celery, Tall Utah 52-70R Improved
Armoracia rusticana, Horseradish
Basella alba, Spinach, Red Malabar
Beta vulgaris, Beet, Chioggia Guardsmark
Beta vulgaris, Beet, Detroit Dark Red Medium Top
Beta vulgaris, Swiss Chard, Gold Silver Beet
Brassica napus, Rutabaga, Joan
Brassica oleracea, Broccoli, Imperial
Brassica oleracea, Broccoli, Romanesca
Brassica oleracea, Brussels Sprouts, Octia
Brassica oleracea, Cabbage, Mammoth Red Rock
Brassica oleracea, Cabbage, Tendersweet
Brassica oleracea, Cauliflower, Attribute Hybrid
Brassica oleracea, Cauliflower, Graffiti
Brassica oleracea, Collards, Vates
Brassica oleracea, Kohlrabi, Purple Vienna
Brassica oleracea, Kohlrabi, Sweet Vienna
Brassica oleracea, Kale, Dwarf Blue Curled Scotch
Brassica oleracea, Kale, Red Russian
Brassica rapa, Chinese Cabbage, Toy Choi
Brassica rapa, Turnip, Oasis
Calendula officinalis, Calendula, Alpha
Capsicum, Pepper, Ancho Gigantea
Capsicum, Pepper, Candy Apple Hybrid
Capsicum, Pepper, Cherry Stuffer Hybrid
Capsicum, Pepper, Good As Gold Hybrid
Capsicum, Pepper, Jalafuego
Capsicum, Pepper, Lunchbox Snack Yellow
Capsicum, Pepper, Rooster Spur
Capsicum, Pepper, Wisconsin Lakes
Cichorium, Chicory, Red Verona
Citrullus landaus, Watermelon, Bush Sugar Baby
Coriandrum sativum, Cilantro, Calypso
Cucumis melo, Melon, Delice De La Table
Cucumis melo, Melon, Charentais
Cucumis melo, Melon, Minnesota Midget
Cucumis melo, Melon, Noir des Carmes
Cucumis metluliferus, Cucumber, Jelly Melon
Cucumis sativus, Cucumber, Double Yield
Cucumis sativus, Cucumber, Fanfare Hybrid
Cucumis sativus, Cucumber, Nippon Sanjaku Kiuri
Cucumis sativus, Cucumber, Picklebush
Cucumis sativus, Cucumber, Poona Kheera
Cucumis sativus, Cucumber, Satsuki Makori
Cucurbita maxima, Pumpkin, Jarrahdale
Cucurbita maxima, Pumpkin, Long Island Cheese
Cucurbita maxima, Pumpkin Magic Lantern
Cucurbita maxima, Pumpkin Marina di Chioggia
Cucurbita pepo, Gourd, Daisy Gourd
Cucurbita pepo, Summer Squash, Gormet Gold
Cucurbita pepo, Summer Squash, Green Tiger Hybrid
Cucurbita pepo, Winter Squash, Burpee’s Butter Bush
Cucurbita pepo, Winter Squash, Lakota
Cucurbita pepo, Winter Squash, Small Wonder Spaghetti
Cynara scolymus, Artichoke, Imperial Star Hybrid
Daucus carota, Carrot, Danvers
Daucus carota, Carrot, Dragon
Daucus carota, Carrot, Kaleidoscope Mix
Daucus carota, Carrot, Purple Dragon
Foeniculum vulgare, Leaf Fennel, Bronze
Fragaria, Strawberry, Everbearing
Fragaria, Strawberry, Sarian
Helianthus annuus, Sunflower, Autumn Beauty
Helianthus annuus, Sunflower, Mammoth Russian
Helianthus annuus, Sunflower, Mongolian Giant*
Humulus lupulus, Hops
Lablab purpureus, Hyacinth Bean, Ruby Moon
Latuca sativa, Lettuce, Allstar Gourmet Mix
Latuca sativa, Lettuce, Bronze Arrowhead
Latuca sativa, Lettuce, Healing Hands Mix
Latuca sativa, Lettuce, Iceberg A
Latuca sativa, Lettuce, Seed Savers Mixture
Latuca sativa, Lettuce, Tango
Latuca sativa var longifolia, Romaine, Vivian
Lavandula angustifolia, Lavender, Ellagance Purple
Luffa cylindrical, Gourd, Luffa
Lycopersicon, Tomato, Black Truffle Hybrid
Lycopersicon, Tomato, Cherry Falls
Lycopersicon, Tomato, Indigo Rose
Lycopersicon, Tomato, Red Lightning
Lycopersicon, Tomato, Sun Gold Hybrid
Lycopersicon, Tomato, Super Tasty Hybrid
Malus domestica, Apple, Honey Crisp
Malus domestica, Apple, State fair
Malus domestica, Apple, Sweet Sixteen
Malus domestica, Apple, Zestar
Matricaria recutita, Chamomile
Melothria scabra, cucumber, Mexican Sour Gherkin
Mentha spicata, Spearmint
Ocimum basilicum, Basil, Aroma 2
Ocimum basilicum, Basil, Spicy Bush
Origanum vulgare, Oregano, Greek
Petroselinum crispum, Parsley, Forest Green
Perilla frutescens, Shiso, Red
Phaseolus, Bush Bean, Big Kahuna
Phaseolus, Bush Bean, Carson
Phaseolus, Pole Bean, Fortex
Pisum sativum, Pea, Super Sugar Snap
Pisum sativum, Pea, Tom Thumb
Pisum sativum, Field Pea, Maxum
Raphanus sativus, Radish, French Breakfast
Raphanus sativus, Radish, Plum Purple
Rosmarinus officinalis, Rosemary, Primed
Salsola komarovii, Saltwort
Sanguisorba minor, Salad Burnet
Salvia officinalis, Sage, Green culinary
Solanum melongena, Eggplant, Early Midnight Hybrid
Solanum melongena, Eggplant, Pingtung Long
Solanum melongena, Eggplant, Shooting Stars
Solanum muricatum, Melon, Pepino
Solanum tuberosum, Potato, Purple Viking
Spinacia oleracea, spinach, Bloomsdale Long Standing
Stevia rebaudiana, Stevia
Tagetes, Marigold, Signet Paprika
Taraxacum officinale, Dandelion, Clio
Thymus serpyllum, Thyme, Creeping
Tragopogon dubius, Salsify, Mammoth Sandwich Island
Tropaeolum, Nasturtium, Cobra*
Vaccinium, Blueberry North Country
Tropaeolum, Nasturtium, Crimson Empire
Zea mays, Sweet Corn, King Kool
Zea mays, Sweet Corn, Luscious
Zea mays, Sweet Corn, Ruby Queen
Zea mays, Corn, Oaxacan Green Dent
Zea mays, Corn, Seneca Red Stalker
Zea mays, Popcorn, Robust 997
Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is pleased to offer wireless Internet access. To begin, read the statement below and click on the “Accept” button at the bottom of the page.
When using wireless Internet access at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, I:
Tour the Conservatory and production greenhouse, then meet a few of our Animal Ambassadors. Allow approximately 1.5 hours for the tour and animal encounter.
$12 per person (minimum of 15 guests)
$50 non-refundable deposit required to secure date
Tour operator and driver receive a complimentary tour!
Enjoy your educational tour and animal encounter, then have a delicious box lunch. Allow approximately 2 to 2.5 hours for the tour, lunch and animal encounter.
$22 per person (minimum of 20 guests)
$50 non-refundable deposit required to secure date
Tour operator and driver receive a complimentary tour and lunch!
Enjoy your educational tour and animal encounter, then indulge in a wonderful hot buffet lunch. Allow approximately 2.5 to 3.5 hours for the tour, lunch and animal encounter.
$30 per person (minimum of 30 guests)
$50 non-refundable deposit required to secure date
Tour operator and driver receive a complimentary tour and lunch!
Gorillas are one of the nations most favorite zoo animals, according to a recent Harris Poll, ranking in the top ten (Como is home to 9 of the top 10). Gorillas have been a part of Como’s rich history since the mid-1950’s and were one of the first zoos in the nation to engage in breeding loans of great apes to other zoos so that reproduction of these species could be improved.
The Gorilla Forest Habitat includes the construction of a major outdoor exhibit for the gorillas where they can play, climb, forage and display their extraordinary family and social dynamics to the public in landscape immersive natural habitats. The larger space of 10,000 square feet is approximately two and half times larger the current outdoor space and the smaller space of 2,000 square feet will be used for mothers with babies. The level of the outdoor exhibit floor will be raised so that visitors will get eye to eye, up close and personal views of the gorillas. The animals will be above in a superior position to the guests creating less stress for the animals and a more exciting viewing experience for the guest.
The improvements to the existing Gorilla Exhibit will provide a significant increase to quality as well as the quantity of space available for gorilla holding, husbandry, and exhibition at Como Zoo. A new gorilla holding building will provide space for a family group and a bachelor group, natural light filled, two story spaces for the animals with view windows and perches so the gorillas can see out. The re-glazing of existing skylights will increase natural sight (as well as UV light) in the indoor habitat. Improvements to existing rockwork and trees will proved more horizontal space for gorillas and planned family groups.
Improvements to ventilation, lighting, drainage and a new rainforest mural on the dayroom wall will create a significantly improved environment for the animals and an improved viewing experience for the public. This work will represent the first phase of redevelopment of the gorilla project. The improvements will exceed all AZA (Association of Zoos and Aquariums) and USDA requirements for holding, managing and exhibiting great apes. In addition the new facilities will permit Como Zoo to obtain family groups of gorillas with the potential of mating these majestic endangered species.
View structures and view shelters designed in a West African rainforest theme will provide ample viewing space including views through glass assuring up close experiences. School groups will meet in the view structure to learn about primates. A ‘behind the scenes’ view of the gorilla husbandry will be created where the public can view daily keeper/gorilla interaction and training. Descriptive interpretive graphics and exhibits will tell the story of gorilla behavior, conservation, and Como Zoo’s involvement in gorilla research.
December 2012: Como Park Zoo and Conservatory announces April 19, 2013 as the official opening for The Ordway Gardens, a new wing to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. This $2.8 million building and landscape addition will feature the Conservatory’s Bonsai collection and Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden as a year-round experience.
The Ordway Gardens will include 2,267 square feet of glass-enclosed interpretative exhibit and display space, and a 2,850 square foot outdoor terrace. The new wing will enable the Conservatory’s nationally-acclaimed Bonsai collection to be exhibited year-round. Both the pavilion and terrace will provide year-round views into the Japanese Garden.
The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory cultivates one of North America’s top 10 public collections of Bonsai, but has never had adequate space to properly display these valued plants. The new wing includes interior display space that will highlight dozens of Bonsai year-round along with an outdoor terrace that will more than double the opportunities to see these elegant trees during the summer season. The new space will also provide additional programming space and rental opportunities.
Como’s Japanese Garden has roots that go back more than 80 years. But when the garden reopens April 19, 2013 with the unveiling of The Ordway Gardens wing it will reveal vistas no visitor has ever seen before. “This project is going to have very big impact with our visitors,” says Como Park Zoo and Conservatory director Michelle Furrer. “The Japanese garden has been one of our best kept secrets, and many of our day-to-day guests may never have seen it, or else they have no idea the extent of our Bonsai collection. This new wing will immerse visitors in both collections in a way that’s very exciting.”
The Ordway Gardens is a $2.8 million improvement funded entirely by private contributions to Como Friends, the nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting, preserving and enhancing Como Park Zoo and Conservatory “This is a project that simply wouldn’t have been possible without contributions from a community that really wanted to make this happen,” says Como Friends president Jackie Sticha. Financed as part of The Campaign for Como, the $18.8 million capital improvement effort that also paid for Polar Bear Odyssey, the tough economic climate forced Como to postpone construction of the wing for one year before the project’s full funding could be secured. “Though it was a challenge, the extra time made this an even better project, with some very thoughtful design elements and landscaping improvements that visitors are really going to appreciate,” says Como Park Zoo and Conservatory director Michelle Furrer.
For those wanting an early look at The Ordway Gardens, Como Friends is offering a special sneak peek before the public opening to all those who contribute $25 or more to Como Friends through the GiveMN website.
November 2012: With the glass now in and the pavilion glass roof in place, Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is closer to unveiling The Ordway Gardens, a new expansion of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory in spring 2013. This $2.8 million building and landscape addition will feature the Conservatory’s Bonsai collection and Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden as a year-round experience.
The Ordway Gardens will include 2,267 square feet of glass-enclosed interpretative exhibit and display space that will house Bonsai year round, A 2,850 square foot outdoor terrace will offer seasonal Bonsai display and program space. The new wing will enable the Conservatory’s nationally-acclaimed Bonsai collection to be exhibited year-round. Both the pavilion and terrace will provide year-round views into the Japanese Garden. A new, gently-sloping pine grove walk will guide visitors along into the Japanese Garden.
The Ordway Gardens is the newest facet of the jewel of Como Park–The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Next phases in the construction include the addition of pavers and exterior glazing. A landscape planting blitz will begin the week of Thanksgiving before the winter ground freeze.
Breaking ground in late 2011, The Ordway Gardens is a $2.5 million addition to the historic Marjorie McNeely Conservatory that will create year-round viewing of its nationally-acclaimed Bonsai collection and Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese garden. This new wing will feature a Bonsai Gallery, outdoor Bonsai Garden and Terrace, and realigned Pine Grove walk leading to the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden (click here to review the plans).
The Japanese Garden has roots dating back to the early 1900s when it was located on the current Como Golf Course. The Japanese Garden is landscaped in the traditional Japanese Sansui mountain and water style; the pond and waterfall serve as the focal points with glacial boulders serving as the bones of the garden. The design of the garden was a gift from the people of Nagasaki, Japan and the installation of the garden was personally supervised by Mr. Masami Matsuda, a ninth-generation master gardener from Japan. The Japanese Garden opened to the public in 1979 and was completely renovated in 1990 – 1991 under Mr. Matsuda’s careful eye. Private support to build the garden came from the family of Mrs. John G. Ordway. This majestic garden is currently open from May to September.
The time has come to make a strategic decision to consolidate the Japanese plant collections and gardens into one improved year-round experience.
The new Japanese plant and garden gallery will immerse visitors in the beauty and history of the Conservatory’s Japanese collections. This new indoor/outdoor wing of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory will provide one of the only experience in Minnesota of a top-curated Japanese plant collection. Improvements will result in an integrated indoor Bonsai gallery, outdoor Bonsai garden and year-round Japanese Garden. New gallery space will provide the opportunity to display Bonsai trees year-round. An adjoining Bonsai garden will for the first time ever provide space outside to display Bonsai trees. The new gallery and garden will connect to the Japanese Garden via a realigned path that continues the immersion into the Japanese plants and gardens.
The new wing will be extend out from the current parlor and located next to the Conservatory’s North Wing. Specific elements include:
The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is one of 28 prestigious gardens participating in this year’s All-America Selections American Garden Award, the nation’s only popularity contest for flowers. The American Garden Award is a unique opportunity for the public to vote on a specific flower that they think has the most appealing garden characteristics.
The six entries for 2012 are:
Angelonia angustifolia ‘Serena® Blue’
Begonia boliviensis ‘Santa Cruz™ Sunset’
Gazania ‘Big Kiss™ White Flame’ F1
Petchoa x hybrida ‘SuperCal® Pink Ice’
Petunia ‘Surfinia® Deep Red’
Sunflower ‘Goldie’ F1
Voting is open June 1 – August 31 and winners are announced in September. To view the entries and place your vote, visit the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory before August 31. You can also vote online at www.americangardenaward.com.
To register call 651-487-8272, or click “register” under the program title. Discounted rates are available for members of Como Friends.
For more details and to schedule a Group Tour, call 651-487-8272 or email us at [email protected].
If you would like to schedule an education program, or for more information, call the education department at 651-487-8272 or email: [email protected]
For more information about these workshops or to register, please call Hamline University at 651-523-3000 or visit their website of the Center for Global Environmental Education at www.cgee.hamline.edu (Click on Graduate Education, then Continuing Studies)
The remaining luna and cecropia cocoons went out to the tree today. We have had a great success in the silk moths emerging.
There are 800-1000 butterflies flying and a few cecropia and luna caterpillars left to mature that are the offspring of the adults that emerged from the “cocoon tree.”
We received a large shipment from Kenya last week with an assortment of Charxes sp., commonly known as Emperors including the Giant Emperor which has been a hit all summer. A few of the others are new for our exhibit.
White-barred Emperor, Charxes brutus; Pearl Emperor, C. varanes; Green-veined Emperor, C. candiope; Blue-spotted Emperor, C. Cithaeron; and Flame-banded Emperor, C. protoclea.
We now have some Paper kites, Idea leuconoe from Asia and the always popular Birdwings, Troides rhadamantus.
We have 3 shipments arriving tomorrow. Our first one from TX, one from Costa Rica and an international assortment. After this week, there are 10 shipments left for the season, with the last final shipments for 2016 arriving the week of Aug 15th.
6/28 Update – Two cecropia emerge from the “cocoon tree” last Friday. So far 6 cecropia have emerged prior to these 2 new arrivals.
6/23 Update – These delightful, young cecropia caterpillars are now on exhibit in Blooming Butterflies.
To register call 651-487-8272, email us at [email protected], or click “Register” under the program title. Discounted rates are available for members of Como Friends.