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 schools, art studios, and museums across the city, Minneapolis Community Education fosters not only fun and practical skillsets, but also a sense of togetherness for students and teachers alike. While standing in a gym full of exercising neighbors, director Jack Tamble explained the social element of his organization, stating, “Community education is more than just about learning. When people gather together like they're doing behind me in this room, they get to know each other, and they really get to enjoy living in Minneapolis.” The network of community-recruited teachers has been serving the area for more than 40 years, and today teaches various skills ranging from basic computer navigation and multicultural cooking to advanced woodworking and fluency in Pig Latin.
Started in 1998, Fired Up Studios has quickly evolved from a small pottery studio to an art center with classes and a gallery. Despite this growth, its mission remains the same: to raise the spirits of anyone who enters. In the 7,200-square-foot studio, experienced potters provide a judgment-free creative outlet for students and visiting artists alike, inviting them to have fun and experiment with the studio's collection of pottery wheels, kilns, and glazes. These potters also teach students how to throw clay, shape up elegant bowls and vases, and sculpt pixelization onto nude figures.
SweatShop's Stott Pilates-certified instructors focus on client goals and customized results inside a positive and friendly exercise environment. During Pilates mat classes, students work out using props such as foam rollers, bands, and weighted balls. A 12-class beginning mat program meets three times per week for four weeks teaching neophyte noggins the Pilates basics. Those with some Pilates training can try experienced classes, which place a longer list of demands on one's core. Benefits from Pilates’s controlled, core-strengthening movements include improved posture, skeletal alignment, and the ability to finally balance work, play, and a half-dozen lemons at the same time. Mat classes are scheduled almost every day of the week, and SweatShop provides child-care on select weekday morning and evening hours and Saturday mornings.
Jersey's Bar & Grill serves up plates of hearty pot roast, thick burgers, and crispy chicken tenders as live country and rock bands serenade crowds. Like Garrison Keillor's alternate glam-rock stage persona "Gary Sonorous," the selection of Juicy Lucys combines a treasured Minnesota touchstone with a touch of decadence. Beef patties are stuffed with provolone, applewood bacon, or American cheese before getting topped with caramelized onions, Cajun mayo, or grilled peppers. Burger aficionados pore over the customizable burger menu, building their own creations from multiple topping, bun, and meat choices. For breakfast (9 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday), chow down on omelets, hash browns, steaks, and pancakes.