Why We Love Zoos: Visit the Minnesota Zoo
By Joel Schettler, Minnesota Monthly
More than 150 million people visit zoos and aquariums every year in the United States, writes Diane Ackerman in a recent column for the New York Times. She goes on to draw a connection between how people feel about animals and what it means to be human. Zoos’ park-like settings offer an oasis from the city to be sure, she writes, but their attraction runs deeper than that.
Research shows that more than half of zoo visitors consist of family groups. But a big portion consists of visitors like my wife and me: adult couples with no children. Zoo researchers, secretly observing zoo guests as they stroll through the zoo, find that couples talk very little during their visit, writes Ackerman. “Yet they appeared to the observers to feel closer knit as a result of the visit, judging by their body language, as if there were a special bond that crystallized only in the presence of animals.”
Each year, the Minnesota Zoo attracts more than 1.3 million visitors. With new attractions added in recent years, such as Russia’s Grizzly Coast and the 3M Penguins of the African Coast, the zoo continues to reinvent itself. This summer, the zoo will open a unique temporary exhibit, “Big Bugs!,” featuring 13 larger-than-life animatronic insects.
Whether you are looking to attend a thrilling 3-D IMAX movie or simply take a pleasurable outdoor stroll, there’s plenty to see and do. Spring is just around the corner, and the zoo makes for a wonderful family trip. Or if you are like me, you’ll discover that it’s just as good for adults too.