The Minnesota Zoo has been closed for several months due to COVID-19, but to offer visitors something during this time of social distancing, they have opened up part of the Zoo to cars.
It’s called the “Beastly Boulevard” and brings visitors through portions of their Northern Trail and Wells Fargo Family Farm. You’ll see bison, pronghorn, llamas and more from the safety of your car.
It’s open for a limited time – June 24th – July 5th, from 10:00am – 4:00pm. They limit the road to 500 cars a day so it doesn’t get too backed up.
Unfortunately, it’s not the cheapest – for one car it’s $50. For members, it’s $25. But people are paying for it already – their first few days are already sold out. And it will help support the Zoo during these financially difficult times.
It sounds comparable to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum which opened to drive-thru traffic on May 1st. We drove through there in mid-May and enjoyed that (I shared my experience here). It was only $15 per vehicle, and the drive lasted an hour. It was similar in that you only saw parts of the attraction, but it was still enjoyable. Since then they’ve opened the arboretum to visitors walking in certain areas and increased the price to $15 per person (though free to kids age 15 and under, and members).
The Minnesota Zoo’s Beastly Boulevard Drive-Thru Experience can be previewed on their website. You can get tickets there now too – but hurry, they’re already selling out.
Beastly Boulevard Interactive Route Guide (almost good enough on its own)
I also checked out their website and found a VERY impressive interactive feature. It’s the Beastly Boulevard Route Guide, and you can click on the animals in the guide for brief, educational videos. It’s actually pretty cool, and the whole guide is worth printing whether you go or not. It has some information and activities as well.
Order food for your trip in advance!
If you order a $50 vehicle ticket, you can also order food with it to pick up when you arrive. You can order a hot dog meal, protein pack, cotton candy or other food items. The prices are NOT frugal-friendly – the hot dog meal is $12.95 and only includes a hot dog, chips, cookie and bottled water.
I know the prices are high to help support the zoo during this financially difficult time. I think it’s worth spending the money if you can to help support the zoo to help keep it open. But if you don’t have the money to spend, you can easily bring equally good food from home or even a fast food restaurant nearby for way cheaper.
However, the Minnesota Zoo has interactive FREE fun for everyone
No matter what your budget, the Minnesota Zoo website has free fun for everyone. Their Virtual Farm Babies event came to an end but there are still things you can see and do on their website, and there are other resources as well. Like I mentioned above, the Beastly Boulevard guide is interesting and an experience by itself. Check it out! And if you do the drive-thru experience, share it here or on my Facebook page!
Learn more about the Beastly Boulevard here.