The Como Park Zoo and Conservatory in Saint Paul, Minnesota includes a conservatory with several gardens, a zoo, an amusement park, and more. Como Park is free and there is no admission fee for the conservatory and zoo. In addition to the several beautiful and interesting gardens at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory, there are also many animal exhibits. Scroll to see the full list with photos or jump to the table of contents.



© Courtesy of wolf183t -

Sunken Garden

The Sunken Garden at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory provides beautiful floral shows that are updated seasonally. The garden is as fragrant as it is artful, and is an excellent place for a romantic walk or exploration. Springs brings tulips in multiple colors, while summer brings geraniums and roses. Chrysanthemums can be found in the Sunken garden in fall, and festive poinsettias in winter.

Centennial Garden

One of Como Park Zoo and Conservatory's newest gardens, the Centennial Garden is inspired by the traditional European landscape gardens that attracted visitors to Como Park at the turn of the century. The Centennial Garden acts as a landmark to remember community members who have helped make the last one hundred years of Como Park possible, as well as a welcome to the visitor center for visitors. In addition, the garden was designed to collect and filter rainwater that is used later as irrigation water.

The Tropical Encounters exhibit offers visitors to Como Park a complete neo-tropical immersion experience that explores the relationships between animals and plants. The two-story tropical exhibit is the first exhibit at Como Park to combine the animal and plant worlds. Tropical Encounters is an adventure through rainforests of Central and South America through the eyes of field researchers and hundreds of animals and plants. Rainforest plants and trees found in the exhibit include kapok, annatto, ice cream bean, cecropia, balsa, mahogany, strangler fig, peach palm, and more. The exhibit also features fish, toads, frogs, free-flying birds, giant river turtles, freshwater stingrays, a sloth, and an anaconda.

Insects are essential to the survival of the natural ecosystem, such as the tailless whip scorpions and leaf-cutter ants that can be found in the Tropical Encounters exhibit. Within the exhibit is a fallen "canopy giant" tree. The upper branches of the tree are now on the ground with orchids and bromeliads at eye level. The fallen tree also creates a light gap in the lush rainforest. Seedlings, lianas, and vines that regenerate the forest infuse the light filled area.

A rainforest farm is another key feature of the Tropical Encounters exhibit. The farm demonstrates the significance of sustainable agriculture to indigenous farmers and to the United States on export crops such as banana, coffee, avocado, papaya, and cocoa. A large number of products, as well as plants that provide medicine, come from the rainforest.

More Gardens

More Gardens

© Courtesy of Yingko -

Palm Dome

Elegant, stately palms fill the 64-foot crystal Palm Dome at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory. Over 150 tropical palms and cycads are on display here, with some over a century old. The Palm Dome also features an "orchid nook" that showcases flowering orchids that are part of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory's extensive orchid collection. Bromeliads can also can be found in the nook.

North Garden

The North Garden is a living grocery, building supply store, and pharmacy in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. Visitors can find chocolate, papaya, fig, pomegranate, mahogany, and many other plants that directly influence human life in the North Garden.

Water Gardens

The Water Gardens at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory are home to Victoria Water Lilies, also referred to as "Blooming Victorias." Surrounding the visitor center, the water gardens provide an amazing sights that can't be found anywhere else in Minnesota. Como Park is the only public garden in the state to grow and display these giant platter-like lilies. The Blooming Victoria, or also known as the "Queen of the Water Lilies," are capable of growing to almost six feet in diameter. They are quite impressive plants, able to support the weight of a child. Visitors are advised to not touch the lilies due to extremely sharp thorns present under their

The Victoria Water Lilies are hermaphroditic plants. The pollination process occurs during the night. Emerging from underneath the water, the lilies then bloom and start the process of changing from females to males. After the plants emerge from under the water, their petals glow white and secrete a pineapple-like aroma to attract pollinators. Once pollinated, the lilies descend back under water and turn scarlet red.

Fern Room

The Fern Room has a pleasant ambiance with floating mist, a gentle waterfall, and spotted light. Ferns are among the oldest plants species that still survive today. As visitors walk among the lacey green foliage they step back in time through a garden of living fossils. There are more than 100 fern species and fern allies residing in the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory's Fern Room.

The Ordway Gardens

The Ordway Gardens at the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is part of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. These gardens offer views of the conservatory's impressive collection of Bonsai trees, as well as the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden throughout the year. The Ordway Gardens wing includes the Bonsai Pavilion, Huss Foundation Terrace, Huelsmann Foundation Meditative Garden, and the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden that is reached by the Jo and Gordon Bailey Pine Grove Walk.

Visitors are immersed in the history and beauty of the Japanese collections at the conservatory in this Japanese garden and plant pavilion. This is the only place where guests can see a collection of Japanese plants that is top-curated in Minnesota. The Huelsmann Foundation Meditative Garden provides a display of Bonsai trees. The Bonsai collection at the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory is the largest in the upper Midwest.

Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden

A living symbol of friendship and peace, the design Charlotte Partridge Japanese Garden was a gift from the people of Nagasaki, Japan, the Saint Paul's sister city. Created by Masami Matsuda, a renowned landscape designer in Nagasaki, the garden represents the honored Japanese design principles incorporating trees and plants that are hardy in Minnesota. The garden is built to delight visitors' senses with the infusion of true Japanese design.

Orchid House

The Orchid House at Como Park Zoo and Conservatory is home to several different species of orchids as part of the award-winning neo-tropical Orchid Conservation Collection. While orchids can be found throughout the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, the more unusual and smaller orchid species can only be seen in the Orchid House.


Visitors can find a spectacular outdoor view of Como Park, the Frog Pond, and the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory and its gardens. The overlook is surround by magnificent fir and pine trees and adjoins the Enchanted Garden.

Enchanted Garden

An assortment of perennials, annuals, shrubs, and trees are grown in the Enchanted Garden for their butterfly attracting properties. The garden is a haven for butterflies with plants providing nectar for butterflies and food for caterpillars. Much of the plants found in the Enchanted Garden are native to Minnesota. Visitors can enjoy the garden while walking amongst butterflies.



© Courtesy of Jim -

Visitors can view big cats, such as lions and tigers, or watch primates at the Gorilla Forest. Zebra, giraffe, kudu, and ostrich and be found in the African Hoofed Stock exhibit area. Guests can see seals at Seal Island, polar bears at Polar Bear Odyssey, and other cold weather animals nearby including bison, arctic fox, Dali sheep, and reindeer. Como Park Zoo also has wolves in the Wolf Woods, as well as several different birds in the Bird Exhibit. Also near the Bird Exhibit are Galapagos Tortoises and the Skipper Garden.

Right next to Como Zoo is Como Town. This family-friendly amusement park contains over eighteen rides and attractions, as well as a General Store. Free events, activities for children, and entertainment is offered at Como Town throughout the summer months.

Younger children can enjoy navigating streets as they steer, brake, and accelerate their own car to get feel of driving a car at the Driving School. For the youngest kids, the Kiddie Grand Prix features cars that move slowly in a circle. Another kiddie ride is the Pony Carts where children can "race" their pony around a track.

Como Town also includes ride for the whole family, such as the Como Town Swing that features two rows of swings. The Como Town Train winds its way through a shaded and beautifully landscaped trail. The Tea Cups give riders control over an oversized tea cup to decide how fast they spin. The Tilt-A-While is a family favorite, as well as the Traffic Jam! Bumper Cars.

A few thrill rides can also be found in Como Town, such as the Tiger Trax Roller Coaster and the S.S. Swashbuckler Pirate Ship. The Soaring Eagle Zip Ride send visitors from one end of Como Town to 85 feet in the air for a view of the amusement park, Como Park, and Como Zoo before heading back to the starting point. The free-falling Drop Zone gives riders a rush of adrenaline as they are raised thirty-six feet to the top and then drop to the base.

Camp Como places an emphasis on developing an appreciation for the natural world in children through exploration and play, interactions with gardeners and zookeepers, up-close encounters with animal and plants ambassadors, and behind-the-scenes experiences. Kids can compete for a gold medal in Animal Olympics, try being a gardener or zookeeper in Behind-the-Scenes, go on an African Adventure, or have fun Monkeying Around with primates. Well-educated instructors teach camps for kids in preschool to eighth grade. Como Park Zoo and Conservatory offers both half-day and full-day camps.

1225 Estabrook Dr, St Paul, MN 55103, website, Map

Back to: Things to Do in St. Paul

Como Zoo Conservatory in Saint Paul, Minnesota :