Thursday, October 10, 2013

The RAD Zoo

Back in March when I was researching things to do over spring break in Minnesota I came across the RAD Zoo website. RAD stands for Reptile & Amphibian Discover Zoo and is located in Owatonna, MN. Once I showed Sam a picture of Big Al (their 12 foot alligator!) he couldn't stop talking about how much he wanted to go. To be honest I was a little unsure whether it was worth the cost of admission for our family of five, but now that we've been there I can tell you it's well worth it!

(In full disclosure - we were given tickets to go from the nice folks at the Rad Zoo for our first visit in exchange for writing a review of the RAD Zoo, but we have every intention of going back some day and know it will be worth every penny.)

What makes this unassuming warehouse turned reptile & amphibian haven so much fun?  Well, just take a look at the photo below.... Holding a python is just one of the cool things my kids got to do. Granted to hold it, we paid $5 for the opportunity, but they printed out a photo for us to keep AND they encouraged us to take photos with our own cameras too. How nice is that??

Other features that set the RAD ZOO apart for us was the opportunities to touch many animals. After the 15 minute talk one of the keepers gave we could touch a python and a baby alligator. We also got to watch some of the animals eat. They even got to feed the turtles in the turtle pool! The snake eating was a highlight for my reptile loving kids!

If watching a rat being swallowed whole isn't your thing, there are couches & a toddler play area in the middle of the displays. This was nice for Elsa who would lose interest after a while. Julia and Sam on the other hand were mesmerized for THREE STRAIGHT HOURS!

The displays were set up with lots of interesting facts about each animal and if your child wasn't tall enough to see inside the higher glass, there were stools for them.

The website is full of details on how to plan your visit which was helpful for us as we wanted to maximize what we could do while we were there. We timed it so we were there when Big Al got fed. What can I say?! The kids (OK, us too!) like to see the animals in action!
There is a gift shop area so when you go be prepared for that. We let the kids pick out one item and to this day they still play with their souvenirs!

All that fun (and education!) wears a kid out, and that my friends, is priceless!!

In case Owatonna isn't a day trip for you, we stayed at the Holiday Inn a couple miles away. It was a terrible waterpark from a parent's standpoint (cold water, inattentive life guards, poor sight lines, and overcrowded), but our kids had fun! The animal display and aquarium at the Cabela's in Owatanna rounded out our mini Spring Break trip this year.  So if you are looking for something different to do around the Twin Cities the 45 minute drive to the Rad Zoo is totally worth it!

And if you can't make it to their facility, they do birthday parties, school programs, and we've enjoyed a number of their summer library programs this year.  We even booked them to come to our park for our end of the camping season celebration this Saturday at 1:30. Let me know if you are local and want to come! I can hook you up with the info you need.

p.s. They are having a contest on their Facebook page right now where you could win tickets to get into the zoo!

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1 comment:

  1. This sounds like a fun trip! I can't quite imagine all those reptiles (squirm!) but I think my son, Sam, would LOVE it.


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