In theory, I don’t like zoos. The idea of animals cooped up in cages being sad and bored all day long is super depressing.
But the reality is: ZOOS ARE AWESOME!
Since the Como Zoo is free I didn’t think that they wouldn’t have anything cool there, but I was wrong. They have all kinds of creatures that look like weird dream versions of what we have around here.
I loved the zebras and giraffes and kudu (see above); they are so much more impressive and bizarre in person. They also have big cats, bears, and monkeys. I think we appreciated everything more than the kids at the park did. One overheard conversation: “Hey, look over there!” “Pfft. It’s just a bear.” Shut up kid, that bear was awesome.
Why are zoos so much fun? I guess it’s just good to be reminded that our world is bigger, wilder, and crazier than the small part of it that we see each day.
And it’s fun to narrate what the animals are saying.
Pro Tip: Pack a picnic lunch, then take the extra couple dollars you would have spent on food at the zoo and put it in the donation box.
1225 Estabrook Drive
Saint Paul, MN 55103
Instead of writing a lengthy essay about how much fun I had at Northern Spark, I put together a photo journal of the night. Boom.
8:45pm - Alex, Tyler, Ethan, Natalie, Bridget, Lexi, Diane, Steph, Alison, Kate, Big Sam, Little Sam, Kyle, and I met at Alex’s place.
8:50pm - BIKE GANG INAUGURAL RIDE TO THE OPENING CEREMONY
9:19pm - Started crossing the Stone Arch Bridge, got stuck, caught the Psychedelic Art Parade.
9:52pm - Bike Gang shenanigans outside Letterpress Lock-In
10:28pm - HANDSTAND COMPETITION. Alex won.
10:56pm - We made glow in the dark art at the Walker. It was largely inappropriate.
11:19pm - Sat around the acoustic campfire and ate smores cookies. Mmm.
12:19am - Night Bloomz
1:02am - “Lighted Recycled T-shirt Rain”… haha. It was cool though.
1:13am - Launch Money Lolz
1:19am - This thing…?
1:30am - WE SPUN AROUND INSIDE THIS GIANT WOODEN EGG!
1:52am - We danced with strangers inside the janky wooden box that was the DANCE SHANTY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Then someone poked his head out of the hole and scared the crap out of Little Sam.
2:45am - We went to get coffee and donuts at the Weismann but there was no coffee. Womp. So we just zoned for a while.
3:45am - We biked over to Open Book for Captured Dreams. We made some cool prints and wrote some stuff and these babies slept.
5:11am - Winding down at Gold Medal Park
6:00am - The End
Last night I experienced for the first time the magic of the DRIVE-IN MOVIE.
After participating in and WINNING Northern Spark’s twitter scavenger hunt (booyah), we left the cities and drove out to the Vali-Hi Drive-In in Lake Elmo, making a very wise pit stop at a Starbucks (extra points because we made it into the store just before it closed. Extra extra points because the barista wasn’t even grumpy).
We got to Vali-Hi just in time, armed with caffeine, pb&j sandwiches, guacamole, and plenty of blankets and sweaters. It sounds like we were prepared, but I definitely wasn’t. I started freaking out the minute I saw the glowing neon sign that looks like something out of a movie.
We found a good spot, settled in, and experienced The Avengers, Battleship, and Chernobyl Diaries for less money than I would have spent on one movie at a regular theatre. It was only $8. There were perks you can’t get at a regular theatre, too. Getting cozy in the car, listening to the movie on the radio, and pigging out on whatever you want? Amazing! Side note, have you seen The Avengers? The best part is when the Hulk throws Loki around like a ragdoll. I was losing it.
But anyway. Last night was awesome. We stayed for all three movies and finally left around four in the morning.
Sadly, the only two drive-in theaters near the cities are in danger of closing forever, which is a tragedy. But seriously: TRAGEDY. If they fold, we’ll be losing something truly great. So take a bunch of friends and help save the endangered species! If you don’t like the idea of movies under the stars, there’s something wrong with you.
Have your own drive-in adventure (both only 30ish minutes from Minneapolis):
P.S. They have a photobooth, too.