The Minnesota Zoo Tropical Beach Party

Photo courtesy Minnesota Zoo

by | Feb 15, 2018

When you’re a resident, the long, frigid months of winter can leave you longing for sun-filled beaches and the feeling of sand between your toes, and when you’re a visitor in the winter, Jack Frost can have you scrambling back to the airport for the next flight to anywhere. To combat those cold weather blues, the Minnesota Zoo is celebrating 40 years with one of its most popular events—the Tropical Beach Party. The sand-filled soiree begins Feb. 17 and runs through March 11 and features an array of activities for guests and their families. How could this get any better, you ask? You don't have to buy a plane ticket to the tropics.

One of the biggest attractions (and I mean big) are the two giant sandboxes located in Discovery Bay and the Tropics Trail. To create the largest indoor sandboxes in the state, the Minnesota Zoo used a whopping 34 tons of sand, and guests are encouraged to bring their own pails and sand toys to dig to their heart's content.

But sand isn’t the only thing you’ll find at this beach bash; there’s of course the animals. Inside Discovery Bay, you’ll encounter goliath groupers, stingrays, seahorses and more creatures of the deep gliding through the 1.1 million gallons of water—which also includes the 218,000 gallon Shark Reef exhibit where you can lay eyes on sand tiger and leopard sharks. And the Tropics Trail brings a living, breathing rainforest right to your feet. On your journey through the trail, you’ll meet African fruit bats, Komodo monitors, Asian small-clawed otters and more furry friends of the forest. During your time on the Tropics Trail, be sure to make a stop and see the zoo’s newest addition, a baby Malayan tapir. She might just be the cutest thing you see all day—or ever.

In addition to taking it all in on your own, guests will also have the chance to participate in Close Encounters. These special animal enrichment and training demonstrations will give guests the opportunity to get up and close and personal with the wildlife under the supervision of zookeepers.

For those looking to make a lasting impact during their visit, you can take the Sea Turtle Pledge by vowing to use reusable bags for the next three months in an effort to reduce plastic use.

So if you’re a fan of good causes, tropical weather and animals, the Minnesota Zoo’s Tropical Beach Party is one celebration you won’t want to miss.

One more shameless baby tapir video and then I'm done, I swear.

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