Conveniently located just inside the South Zoo entry Discovery Bay is home to spectacular aquatic animals including sharks, jellyfish, sea dragons and more. Imagine hosting your next event surrounded by over 1 million gallons of water with amazing aquatic animals to entertain and delight your guests. Discovery Bay is fully equipped event space with variable lighting, an attached catering kitchen, private restrooms and built-in audio visual equipment including projector, drop down screen and cordless microphones plus DJ’s are welcome for dancing. Discovery Bay is an amazing turn-key setting to celebrate at the Minnesota Zoo!

Included in the room rental:

  • Space rental
  • On-site Event Manager
  • Tables & Chairs set-up & tear-down
  • Signage
  • Coatracks
  • Guest Parking
  • AV Equipment (Built-In only)

Included with the catering:

  • Standard table linens and skirting
  • Linen napkins-choose from over 12 colors
  • China, flatware, and stemware
  • Two votive candles per table

General Information & Helpful Hints

  • Discovery Bay is available for rental either on its own or combined with other Zoo event spaces.  Our most popular package combines Tropics for your ceremony or social hour prior with dinner and program or dance in Discovery Bay.
  • Lancer Catering is exclusive caterer at the Minnesota Zoo with an extensive menu and full liquor license.  No outside food and beverages are permitted at the Minnesota Zoo.
  • The food and beverage minimum is the amount of money Lancer Catering requires you spend to rent the space.  What you purchase from Lancer Catering to reach your food and beverage minimum is at your discretion with hundreds of options listed on their menu.
  • Lancer Catering does offer tastings of their cuisine either pre-paid prior to booking (which is credited to your event if you book) or if you have booked the tasting is complementary.  Your Minnesota Zoo or Lancer Catering Sales Representative is happy to provide additional details including restrictions.
  • During evening events the client and their guests are restricted to only use the spaces that are rented.  All other areas of the Zoo that are not being rented are off-limits.
  • Bridal parties renting the Zoo have access (subject to availability) to a complementary classroom with attached private restrooms.   Ask your Zoo Sales Representative for details.
  • Guests attending an evening event are asked not to arrive early since the event space is busy with set-up and we lack pre-function lobby space to hold guests.
  • When serving alcoholic beverages at your event the Minnesota Zoo will hire a police office at the client’s expense.
  • The Minnesota Zoo, including grounds are smoke-free.
  • The Minnesota Zoo partners with nearby hotels offering discounted rates and complementary shuttle for your guests.  Ask your Zoo Sales Representative for details.
  • The Minnesota Zoo offers referrals to partner vendors to enhance your event including DJ’s, florists, photographers, musicians and more.  Ask your Zoo Sales Representative for details.
  • Because of the limited set-up time to convert Discovery Bay from public exhibit space into evening event space extensive décor is not possible.
  • Additional fees may apply for custom set-up and tear-down including special décor or staging.  Ask your Zoo Sales Representative for details on custom options and prices.
  • Discovery Bay’s built-in audio visual equipment is complementary and is tested prior to each event but no adjustment in the room rental is offered if the equipment fails.
  • Extensive audio and visual programs may require at the clients expense additional equipment and a technician.  Ask your Zoo Sales Representative for details.

Reservation Procedures
The Minnesota Zoo welcomes your interest in hosting an event and prefers clients tour our event space prior to reserving. Site tours are offered by appointment only, Monday – Friday starting at 8:30 a.m. with the last tour offered starting at 3:30 p.m. Because of the large crowds and lack of staffing we do not offer site tours on Saturday and Sunday. The Minnesota Zoo books events a maximum of 1 ½ years in advance of your event date. Last minute bookings require a minimum of 2 weeks notice with 1 month preferred. When reserving event space at the Minnesota Zoo the client will be required to sign a contract with 50% non-refundable deposit due 30 days after the booking is confirmed with the final balance of the Zoo rental fees are due 10 days prior to the event. Payment may be made with check or credit card.

Contact Minnesota Zoo Sales to check availability, questions or assistance at [email protected] or 952-431-9298

Maximum Capacity:

Cocktail reception – 400
Seated & served – 240
Buffet style – 240

Facility Rental Fee:

Friday & Saturday: $2,200
Sunday-Thursday: $1,900

Food & Beverage Minimums:

Please contact your Zoo or Lancer Catering Representative for details.

Rental Hours:

October–April: 6 p.m.– Midnight
May–September: 6:30 p.m.–Midnight