In 1977, Mark and Joan Hemker began with a simple dream: to own a zoo. Starting with just a few waterfowl, they soon amassed a collection of animals from around the world. After Mark passed away in 2006, Joan and their four children took up his mantle, keeping his legacy alive through Hemker Park & Zoo. Today, the family-friendly park introduces visitors of all ages to global wildlife with more than 50 animal species. Residents include giant tortoises, an 8-foot boa constrictor, sleek kangaroos, and inquisitive monkeys and lemurs. There's also a Budgie Buddy House where tiny birds alight on visitors' shoulders and two New Guinea singing dogs who never, ever do autographs. Seasonal events, such as kids' zoo camps and the Close Encounters program, let visitors touch and feed certain animals under the guidance of professional educators for an even more intimate experience.
Reptiles aren't hard to love once you get to know them, and Cold Blooded Expos' events are an ideal way to do just that. At shows throughout the year and around the country, you'll find snakes, turtles, lizards, and maybe even some furry exotic friends such as hedgehogs and sugar gliders. (You'll also find food for them?live, frozen, or manufactured.) Vendors sell a variety of fun, creative toys, tanks, and bedding to keep them cozy.
THE WORKS, an events company bringing together professional singles in Toronto for upscale social events, welcomes the season of warmer weather and roving biker gangs of bluebirds with its Spring Fling Social. Mingle with fellow lone wolves in Gossip Restaurant's elegant dining space or venture onto the patio for a breathtaking view of Exhibition Place. Music will be provided, and free appetizers are included with admission. THE WORKS' $5 signature cocktails will be available for purchase, as well as a number of other springtime cocktails. Leave the jeans, baseball caps, and sneakers at home and unthaw a colourful spring outfit from its deep-freeze chamber for a festive night on the town from THE WORKS.
For more than a century, the Como Park Zoo and Conservatory has inspired the local community with a multitude of winged, hooved, and furred beasts. From its humble roots of only three deer roaming inside a fenced-in pasture, the zoo has since expanded to include a slew of awe-inspiring animals and habitats, including a seal island, large-cat exhibit, aquatic life, primates, birds, African hoofed animals, and a polar-bear exhibit, as well as the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory, a half-acre indoor and outdoor nursery blooming with bonsai trees, ferns, orchids, seasonal flowers, and trash-talking tiger lilies.
At the Minnesota Transportation Museum, the history of rail and transit comes to life. Guests can explore the Jackson Street Roundhouse, a former engine maintenance facility that now features in-depth exhibits on railway history, restored vintage steam engines and railway equipment, and one of the last operating roundhouse turntables in the country. After seeing the history on the page, visit the Osceola & St. Croix Valley Railway to feel the power of the rail underfoot as you take a scenic ride on a vintage coach.
Fur-Ever Wild is a functioning agricultural farm, but to the average visitor, it looks more like a zoo. A furry-animals-only one. In the property's enclosures, visitors find fur-bearing, Minnesotan wildlife, such as cougars, foxes, and the occasional shrub with a mustache. Not all the creatures are sharp-toothed ones, either. Guests can also get an up-close look at miniature horses and white tail deer.