Formally known as the Minnesota Zoological Gardens, the Minnesota Zoo located in Apple Valley Minnesota is of the first zoos to submit a revolutionary design of its exhibits by housing its collection of animals to their natural habitat rather than according to their species.Home to the School of Environmental Studies, the Minnesota Zoo by charging admission and offering annual memberships is recognized as a state agency and as such differs from other zoos which are either privately managed or locally owned.
• In 2008 the zoo received two bottlenose dolphins from Florida’s Dolphin Connection.
• Opened in 2008, the zoo’s 2.5-acre Russia’s Grizzly Coast and the most expensive project to date offers visitors an opportunity to view animals native to Russia’s Pacific coast, including Amur tigers, leopards, grizzly bears, sea otters, and wild boars.
• In 2011, the zoo opened its new African penguin exhibit.
• The Zoo’s Discovery Bay featuring several aquariums for a combined total of more than 4,000,000 l of water houses the zoo’s collection of sea stars, sea anemones, rays and sharks in an interactive estuary and tide pool.
• The Minnesota Zoo since 1978 and until 2012 has housed a total of 19 dolphins in its exhibits.