Como Park Zoo and Minnesota Zoo unveil live summer concert series

St. Paul’s Como Park Zoo and Conservatory and the Minnesota Zoo in Apple Valley have announced their summer concert series, which are packed with bands from the region in any number of genres.

Como Park Zoo concerts

Como Park Zoo launches its annual free Groovin’ in the Garden series June 7 with the Innocent Reggae Band. Like the rest of the shows, music runs from 6 to 8 p.m., and if it rains, the action moves inside the Visitor Center Porch next to the Water Gardens. (The Zoo itself closes at 6.)

Concertgoers are encouraged to pack a picnic and spread a blanket on the lawn. In addition to the music, there will be kid-friendly activities and hot dogs, ice cream, beer and wine available for purchase.

The rest of the zoo’s lineup includes: 13 Arrows (June 14), Ty Pow and the Holy North (June 21), Red Eye Ruby (June 28), Flowtus (July 5), Mubbla Buggs (July 12), Eleganza (July 19) and the Flamin’ Oh’s (July 26).

Minnesota Zoo concerts

For almost three decades, the Minnesota Zoo hosted summertime concerts from national acts booked by local promoters Sue McLean and Associates. The zoo canceled Music in the Zoo in 2020 due to the pandemic and launched the new Wild Nights series last summer.

The nine shows kick off at 6 p.m. Thursday and run every other week through Sept. 14. Each night features live music on three stages, access to all animal trails and exhibits until 8 p.m., a virtual trivia and scavenger hunt, a silent dance party, free parking and local food, beverage and artisan vendors. Tickets are $40, or $30 for members, and must be purchased in advance. It’s open to those 18 and older and no children or infants will be admitted. There are also discounted ticket packages available; see for details.

Each night follows a different theme. Here’s what’s on tap:

  • Indie Rock (Thursday): Yam Haus, Kiss the Tiger, Gully Boys, the Swongos, DJ Astrolex and DJ Matty Matt.

  • Global Beats and World Music (June 8): Malamanya, the Gentlemen’s Anti-Temperance League, Siama’s Congo Roots, Pan Dimensions Steel Drum Band, Maria Isa and DJ William El Buenon.

  • Indie Soul and R&B (June 22): Chastity Brown, FènixDion, the Jorgensens, Kelly Kidd and Britton Buchanan, Dueling Pianos and DJ Astrolex.

  • Americana and Alt Country (July 6): The Cactus Blossoms, Barbaro, Chicken Wire Empire, JoJo Green, Turn Turn Turn and Trapper Schoepp.

  • Blues, Soul and Jazz (July 20): Joyann Parker Band, Corey Medina and Brothers Band, Hurricane Harold and TC Blues All Stars featuring Erin McCawley, the Paul Renz Trio/Lessmeister Jazz Combo and Dueling Pianos.

  • Hip Hop and Reggae (Aug. 3): Nur-D, Fanaka Nation, iLLism, Ka Lia, Pelly, Dred I Dread, DJ Astrolex and DJ Virgo.

  • ’80s, ’90s and New Wave (Aug. 17): Information Society, DJ Jake Rudh, Mallrats ’90s, DJ Shane Kramer and Polka Police.

  • Funky Jam and Boogie (Aug. 31): Frogleg, Mae Simpson, Ellis Cleve, Samantha Grimes with Nancy Bongos Long, Patchouli, DJ Astrolex and DJ William El Buenon.

  • Mash Up (Sept. 14): Kat Perkins, Chris Kroeze, the High 48s, the Roe Family Singers and Friends, Steam Machine and DJ William El Buenon.

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