You’re invited to explore the natural wonder of the Minnesota Zoo! We welcome every guest to learn about the world of wildlife. The Minnesota Zoo offers the Free to Explore program to help ensure that financial circumstances are not a barrier to your visit. Follow the two-step process and come make family memories on the trails of the Minnesota Zoo!

Step 1) Read below to verify if you qualify.

To qualify for Free to Explore, an individual must be currently enrolled in one of the programs listed below and show the approved documentation, photo ID, and proof of Minnesota residency. Please show your documentation when your tickets are scanned at the Zoo entry doors.

Family members are welcome to join them on their visit if the adults can provide photo ID that shows they live at the same address or their own qualifying document. Anyone unable to provide that required documentation will be asked to pay admission at the gate.

Free to Explore does not cover Zoo parking ($8) or fees for any special programs, events, or exhibits. EBT cards are not accepted as payment for parking, fees, at the Minnesota Zoo.

Please see the FAQ section below to answer additional questions or call 952-431-9200

Groups of up to 10 people that qualify for Free to Explore can acquire tickets online here. For Free to Explore groups larger than 10, please email [email protected] or call 952-431-9585.

Effective December 31, 2023 Pandemic EBT Relief is not an eligible Free to Explore program.

Program Approved Documentation
TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families) MN EBT Card
MFIP (Minnesota Family Investment Program) MN EBT Card
SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) MN EBT Card
MFAP (Minnesota Food Assistance Program) MN EBT Card
General Assistance (GA) MN EBT Card
MSA (Minnesota Supplemental Aid) MN EBT Card
MN Medical Assistance (MA) or MinnesotaCare MHCP or MA on Card
MN WIC (Women, Infants & Children Program) MN WIC Card
MN HeadStart MN HeadStart Acceptance Letter
FDPIR (Food Distribution Program on Indian Reservations) Notice of Decision
Housing Support (formerly known as Group Residential Housing) Acceptance Letter
Resident Disabled Veterans VHIC or Summary of Benefits Letter


Step 2) Click “Get your Tickets below to log in or set up an account for tickets.

Get Your Tickets!

Free to Explore admission cannot be used with other discounts, special offers, or group programs and is valid only during regular daytime Zoo hours. This program and its benefits are not transferable, redeemable for cash, or exchangeable for any other product or service. The Minnesota Zoo does not share data about individuals or organizations that is deemed private by the Data Practices Act. The Minnesota Zoo may change, modify, or suspend the Free to Explore program without notice.

How does Free to Explore work?
Do I have to show a photo identification?
Can other people use my approved documentation?
Who are considered dependent children?
If a child has a Medical Assistance card, can the parent or other children on the card visit for free?
I qualify for Free to Explore and need supervised visitation with my children. Can the child visitation supervisor receive free Zoo admission too?
Can I bring children from my daycare or class who receive government benefits?
What if I’m in a program not listed?
I have UCare or another state insurance provider does that work?