Petting Zoo.  That sounds nice, right?  You see them all over, especially this time of year and into the Fall.  They are usually set up at orchards and other places that are focused on family activities.  Thoughts of furry, soft and cuddly, and friendly animals come to mind.

But what about an exotic petting zoo?  To me, none of the above come to mind.

There is already an exotic petting zoo in Maplewood.  It's called Sustainable Safari. And, yes, there are some soft and furry animals there, like kangaroos.  But there are also plenty of reptiles.  Like alligators, snakes, lizards, and dragons.  When I think of those the first thing that comes to mind is not "petting".  It's more like stay away and maybe learn about them while someone else handles them.  No thank you.  But if you are into that - go for it.

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This is a petting zoo where you need to make sure to wear closed toe shoes if you want the whole "safari experience".  That tour is going to cost a bit more but it gives the tour a chance to experience more than just walking through and viewing the animals.

Spend 90 minutes behind the scenes of the Safari with a professional Safari Guide! Specialized feedings, encounters, holdings, and exclusives.

Now, there is a second location planned in the former Old Navy location in Burnsville.  The new exotic petting zoo is expected to open early 2024.

...will feature dozens of animals, including kangaroos, alligators, goats, lemurs and capybaras, that visitors pay to pet and feed.

There are some animal activists that are upset about the proposed petting zoo.  From the Star Tribune website: 

The Burnsville City Council on Tuesday night unanimously approved the necessary permits to open a petting zoo featuring exotic animals at Burnsville Center, despite concerns from animal rights groups about animal welfare and public safety.

My guess is that the new location for the Exotic Petting Zoo will open as scheduled, but there is a possibility of protesters outside the new location.

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