Explore the Minnesota Zoo after hours!

See the Zoo like few people ever see it, and make the stories of our animals come alive for your students! This is the kind of school field trip that your students will remember forever. During these programs, Zoo naturalists will lead your group through a fun-filled evening of grade-appropriate educational games and activities, keeper talks, and behind the scenes tours. All programs include dinner, a snack, and a special T-shirt for each participant. Overnight guests also receive breakfast after catching their zzz’s at the Zoo. Sleeping mats are provided for overnight; participants bring their own sleeping bags, etc. See below for more information on the two themes we have available – each theme will be tailored to the grade level of your students! Some grant funding is available for schools outside the Twin City metro area. Please visit our Teacher Resource page for more information.
Want the after-hours experience but can’t spend the night? See our Twilight Adventures on the bottom of this page!

“I thought the experience was wonderful. I only hope that we will be able to participate next year and in the coming years…it was an all-around educational, fun, and worthwhile experience. I would not change anything!” – A teacher after a June 2015 overnight

Oceans After Dark

(offered October-June for up to 60 participants)
Meet our Hawaiian Monk Seals and moon jellyfish, get a chance to pet a shark or ray, and dive into the underwater world of ocean creatures! Participants will investigate these animals, from top ocean predators to green sea turtles and sea stars, through hands-on activities and behind-the-scenes tours of the main zoo kitchen and the Shark Reef keeper area. You’ll also get to meet one of our aquarists during a special dive show just for your school, and spend the night sleeping soundly by the sharks and seals in Discovery Bay!

Having Diver Dan go into the water and then being able to ask him questions was great. Also, seeing all the preparation that goes into making food for the animals was a valuable learning experience. Walking in the zoo at night and having it all to ourselves was super. Giving the students that experience of sleeping there at night was wonderful.” – A teacher after a June 2015 Oceans overnight

Forests After Dark

(offered May for up to 30 participants – by special request only)
As the sun sets and the stars come out, the forest changes…This unique overnight program at the Minnesota Zoo is all about the amazing animals of the northern forests, from Minnesota to Alaska, as dusk turns to nightfall. What happens between dusk and dawn, at the Zoo and in the wild? During our packed program, you and your class will get to see our enormous grizzly bears up close, prepare a special treat for them, and talk to zoo keepers. You’ll walk the Minnesota Trail after hours to see our wolves, coyotes, and more; work on activities and challenges to learn more about life after dark and at dawn; and learn more about life at the 48th parallel. You and your students will spend the night snoozing in the Minnesota Lodge or in the black bear den. This overnight is epic!

We loved learning about the 3 Grizzly Bears and meeting them in their holding (area) after hours…We learned about what they ate and how they came to be at the zoo.”  – A teacher after a May 2014 overnight

Fee: $49 per participant ($1,225 minimum)
Deposit: $100 deposit is due at time of scheduling or 2 weeks after your date is confirmed.
Program times: 4:30 p.m. – 8:00 a.m. the next day.
Recommended Ages: These programs are recommended for third grade and up.
Zoo admission: Want more time to visit the Zoo? Overnight fees include admission to Zoo either before or after your overnight program.

School Overnight Dates
Click here for 2019-2020 dates
How to Register

Book your field trip online and confirm your date now. The first page will take you to a log in page where you will need to create an account or sign in to an existing account. Click the button below to begin.

We are currently not taking reservations for the 2020-2021 school year. Please check back for updates.

To email a request use the School Field Trip Request Form by clicking on the button below.
We are currently not taking reservations for the 2020-2021 school year. Please check back for updates.

  • Email Us
  • Fax: 952-997-4838
  • Register by phone at 952-431-9218
Twilight Adventures

Want the after-hours experience but can’t spend the night? These programs include the keeper talks, behind-the-scenes tours, and almost all of the other activities of a full overnight program, in a shorter timeframe. A Twilight Adventure begins at 4:30 pm and concludes at 10:00 pm, and each participant receives dinner, a snack, and a T-shirt! These are an option on any of the overnight dates October through June.

Fee: $42 per participant ($1,050 minimum)
Deposit: $100 deposit is due at time of scheduling or 2 weeks after your date is confirmed.
Times: 4:30 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. (evening only)
Zoo admission: Want more time to visit the Zoo? Twilight fees include admission to the Zoo the day of your program.

For Non-School Groups

If you are a community or scout group looking for a group overnight click here.   If you are interested in our family overnights click here.