Skip to main content

Minnesota Zoo's drive-through experience is a short but sweet ride

The zoo is launching the drive-thru experience amid the ongoing COVID-19 shutdown.
Image from iOS (45)

With the future of the Minnesota Zoo at risk amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, it has taken to offering a drive-thru attraction to boost its earnings while the remainder of the park stays closed.

Called Beastly Boulevard, the experience launches on Wednesday, with the zoo charging $25 per car for members and $50 for non-members.

Bring Me The News had a chance to try out the route in a preview over the weekend, with cars directed via a staff-only entrance onto the footpaths typically used by the hundreds of thousands who visit the Apple Valley zoo every year.

The track takes you past zoo animals including bison, pronghorns, prairie dogs, bactrian camels, and into the farmyard area to see horses, cows, and goats.

Interspersed along the route are easy-to-read signs providing facts about the animals, and the occasional groan-worthy (for adults, at least) joke.

Is it worth $25/$50? Not really. The zoo says the ride takes about 30 minutes but we were out in 20. Some of the animals are relatively close – the llamas being one – but others are a little more distant.

Still, the speed limit is 4 mph so we felt comfortable letting the kids sit on our laps in the front passenger seat with the windows open, which is a novelty for them in and of itself.

And as the parents of two young children, we've found this summer to be a tough one entertainment-wise given that the pandemic has forced the closure of so many attractions. There are a dearth of options available for young kids, so we were just grateful for the change of scenery.

If you're going to do it, make it part of a wider day out. Pack a picnic, find a park or an area of open space to go afterwards – it'll make the $25/$50 outlay a little more palatable.

Sign up for our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

Ultimately the experience is about supporting the zoo, which is facing a funding crisis that has this past week seen it request a $6 million bailout from the Minnesota Legislature.

“The zoo needs the support of our community now more than ever, and by driving through Beastly Boulevard, you are supporting the zoo and the thousands of animals that we care for every day,” Minnesota Zoo Director John Frawley said in a statement last week.

"We have been working hard to plan this experience and we are excited to be able to safely welcome guests back to the Minnesota Zoo in this unique way to reconnect with animals and nature.”

Next Up

Screen Shot 2022-10-06 at 8.37.44 AM

St. Paul company ends corrugated manufacturing, cutting 130 jobs

The facility produces around 200,000 tons of corrugated packaging every year.

police lights squad car dark - Unsplash

Sartell woman, 94, killed in collision with semi-truck

The crash happened in Haven Township near St. Cloud.

fire truck

Explosion reported near Hastings; man airlifted to hospital

Authorities say the victim has serious injuries.

Screen Shot 2022-10-05 at 2.30.07 PM

School faces uncertain future after land sold to Catholic nonprofit

The school near Marine on St. Croix sits on land that's just been sold.

BikeCarSceneMpls

Boy suffers 'life-threatening' injuries in car-bike collision in Minneapolis

Police said the driver is cooperating with the investigation.

North Memorial Health Hospital

Man dies from gunshot wounds after Minneapolis shooting

The death marked the 69th homicide of the year in the city.

image

Gallery: Island cabin is one of northernmost homes for sale in MN

Want to buy one of the northernmost homes on the market in Minnesota?

Related

minnesota zoo

Minnesota Zoo launches drive-through to see animals during pandemic

Beastly Boulevard will serve as critical fundraiser for the zoo.

Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo will reopen July 24 with safety measures in place

The zoo has implemented measures to keep staff, visitors and animals safer during the pandemic.

minnesota zoo

Minnesota Zoo getting $6M bailout from state

Gov. Tim Walz had said the zoo may have to move animals or close if it doesn't get financial support.

Animal-Zoo-Borysew-Kangaroo-3472263

Minnesota Zoo won't have Kangaroo Crossing this year

There will be no mingling free-roaming kangaroos at the zoo this year.

minnesota zoo

Minnesota Zoo launches activities to get people embracing nature

The zoo is hosting a pumpkin scavenger hunt and a "Do the Zoo, Not Zoom Day."

MNZoo Tapir

Baby tapir born at the Minnesota Zoo will make his debut soon

The zoo has a poll for people to vote for the baby's name.

IMAX Theatre at the Minnesota Zoo to close this month

The movie theater at the Apple Valley zoo will shut down on Jan. 27.