2019 At a Glance*
Fast Facts
  • Opened to the public in May 1978
  • Located on 485 acres in Apple Valley, Minnesota
  • Home to more than 4,500 animals and 505 species in award-winning exhibits
  • Annual attendance of nearly 1.3 million
  • Approximately 45,700 Zoo Households
  • 28 million operating budget with more than 60% of revenue from earned and contributed income
  • $227.7 million Gross economic output
  • 193,098 Zoo members and donors
  • Over 1,168 volunteers contributing more than 105,053 hours annually more than 3 million hours of donated time
  • The Minnesota Zoo has collaborated with the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to successfully return cattle gene-free bison to Minnesota state parks.
  • In partnership with many agencies and groups, the Minnesota Zoo’s Prairie Butterfly Conservation Program is saving endangered butterflies from extinction by pioneering the world’s first rearing and breeding programs for Poweshiek skipperling
    and Dakota skipper butterflies.
  • The Zoo partners with the DNR to restore native mussel populations to Minnesota rivers and streams by developing effective mussel rearing techniques and rearing and releasing thousands of mussels into Minnesota waters.
  • In partnership with MNDOT and the DNR, the Zoo saves endangered turtles by researching ways to reduce road mortality and nest predation to ensure the stability and health of turtle populations across the state.
  • Coordinate tiger and Asian wild horse conservation breeding programs and campaigns to protect these endangered species in the wild.
  • Supported more than 120 conservation projects in 47 countries through the Ulysses S. Seal Conservation Grant Program
  • Incorporate green practices throughout the Zoo, from large-scale recycling and composting initiatives to environmentally sustainable buildings
  • The state’s largest environmental learning center, with more than 360,000 participants in educational programming last year; including, 83,000 school program participants
  • Free admission for field trips, including transportation and lunch for more than 10,000 students
  • 6,629 students attending summer Zoo Camp
  • More than 244,000 participants in zoo interpretive programs such as Close Encounters and Wings Financial World of Bird Show
  • Presented live animal programs to more than 51,000 people in 41 Minnesota counties
  • Over 9,700 students participating in STEM programs through ZOOMS Design Challenge
Free and Reduced Admissions
  • 92,000 free admissions provided to residents from more than 85 counties via the Free to Explore program, which makes the Minnesota Zoo free to those who need it to be free
  • Total % of admissions that are free or reduced: 28%

*July 1, 2018 – June 30, 2019

Mission: To connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife.