Minnesota Zoo extends Beastly Boulevard drive-through experience

It has been extended through July 12.
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The Minnesota Zoo is extending its drive-through experience after selling out, the Apple Valley zoo said Monday. 

The drive-through experience, called Beastly Boulevard, was initially scheduled from June 24-July 5, but after selling out the zoo has extended it through July 12. 

“We have been thrilled and encouraged by the great response that Beastly Boulevard has generated,” Minnesota Zoo Director John Frawley said in a statement. “It has been amazing to safely welcome back the community to the zoo and we are excited to continue this experience that is vital to supporting the zoo and our animals.”

Beastly Boulevard sees vehicles drive on the walking paths of the zoo through a portion of the Northern Trail and Wells Fargo Family Farm, where visitors are able to gaze from their vehicles at takin, bison, prairie dogs, pronghorn, Asian wild horses, camels, dholes, llamas, horses, cows and goats.

During the drive, which takes about 20-30 minutes, zoogoers can follow along on the tour with an education booklet and sing along to an animal-themed playlist on Spotify, titled MN Zoo’s Beastly Boulevard Playlist.

You can buy tickets to Beastly Boulevard online here. It's $25 per vehicle for members and $50 for non-members.

An important fundraiser

The limited event has served as a critical fundraiser for the zoo, which is running out of money due to the pandemic.

The Minnesota Zoo has been closed since March 14 due to the coronavirus pandemic, so it hasn't been able to bring in revenue from ticket and concession sales. It has had to lay off dozens of workers and has been forced to canceled events, like the popular Music in the Zoo.

A state agency, the zoo typically gets about one-third of its operating budget from the state. It had asked the Minnesota Legislature for $6 million bailout to cover losses and Gov. Tim Walz said the zoo may have to move animals or close if it doesn't get financial support. The session ended before lawmakers could pass any funding for the zoo. 

There are other ways to support the zoo, which opened in 1978. People can also make financial contributions online here

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