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3 golden objects Minnesota Legislature

Office of the Legislative Auditor - Financial Audit Division

Report Summary
Minnesota Zoological Garden
Donation and Income Contract Revenue


Financial Audit Division Released September 19, 2018

The Minnesota Zoological Garden (Zoo) opened in 1978 in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Enabling legislation defines the Zoo as “a partnership between the private sector and the state,” providing unique opportunities for Minnesotans and out-of-state visitors to experience and learn about wildlife.1

The Office of the Legislative Auditor (OLA) conducted this selected scope audit to determine whether the Zoo had adequate internal controls and complied with significant legal requirements. The audit scope focused on ancillary revenue sources, including income from outsourced service contracts and contributions from the Minnesota Zoo Foundation. The period under examination went from July 2014 through February 2018.


The Zoo’s internal controls over the selected activities that OLA audited were Generally Not Adequate. Also, the Zoo Generally Did Not Comply with the significant legal requirements we tested.

Audit Findings

Finding 1. The Zoo and the Foundation did not properly account for donor contributions.

Finding 2. Some contracts for outsourced services lacked appropriate competition.

Finding 3. Some Zoo employees received complimentary concert tickets.


1 Minnesota Statutes 2017, 85A.001.

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