The Como Park Zoo and Marjorie McNeely Conservatory (or just Como Zoo and Conservatory) are located in Como Park at 1225 Estabrook Drive, Saint Paul, Minnesota. The park, zoo and conservatory are owned by the City of Saint Paul and are a division of Saint Paul Parks and Recreation. The attractions located there include the zoo, the conservatory, an amusement park, a carousel, Lake Como, a golf course, a pool and more. The park receives more than 1.9 million visitors annually. Como Park is a free park and while no admission fee is charged for the zoo or conservatory, voluntary donations of $2 per adult and $1 child are suggested.
In 1873 the City of Saint Paul acquired 300 acres (120 ha) of land around Como Lake that would become a public park. Today the 384-acre (155 ha) park includes:
2.3 miles (3.7 km) of paved trails
Como Golf Course - 18 hole, 70 par
1.67 mile paved path around the lake
Lakeside Pavilion - includes Black Bear Crossings restaurant
Como Town amusement park
Putt'er There Mini Golf
The first zoo in Saint Paul was on Harriet Island when in 1897, the city of St. Paul received a gift of three deer. Additional animals followed, when more room was needed to house the animals they were moved to facilities at Como Park. Como Zoo continued to grow through donations of animals and money.
The Art Deco Zoological Building was designed in 1936 by Charles Bassford as part of the federally funded Works Progress Administration. Other WPA structures were completed in the 1930s, including Monkey Island (now Seal Island), barn and bear grotto.
In the 1980s several new exhibits were added as part of a major renovation project, including the Large Cat exhibit (1980), Aquatic Animal Building and conversion of Monkey Island to Seal Island (1982), the Primate Facility (1985), the Land and Water Bird exhibit (1986) and the African Hoofed Stock Facility (1987).
Marjorie McNeely Conservatory:
The Marjorie McNeely Conservatory (0.5 acres) was first opened in 1915, and is open every day of the year. It includes the following gardens and galleries:
Enchanted Garden - a butterfly garden.
Japanese Garden - sansui style, mountain and water landscape, as a sign of friendship with Saint Paul's sister city of Nagasaki, Japan.
North Garden - useful plants such as aloe, bamboo, bananas, cacao, coffee, figs, macadamia, mahogany, manila hemp, manioc, papaya, etc.
Palm Dome (64' high and 100' in diameter) - more than 150 palm species, as well as orchids and bromeliads.
Sunken Garden - seasonal flower shows.
Tropical Encounters - A new exhibit (opened fall 2006) featuring animals and plants from the tropics. Located in the visitor center.