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Weekend deals: MN Zoo (adults only) and "The Little Mermaid"

The Minnesota Zoo is trying something new this Saturday--an "adults only," stroller-free night at the zoo. Nothing against the stroller moms, of course, but the zoo wanted to give the adults a chance to stroll around the trails and exhibits with an adult beverage in hand. "There are people who enjoy the Zoo without the little one running around," said Beth Burns, vice-president for external relations at the zoo. Other zoos have also created Zoo after Dark events when the zoo would normally be closed.

It's part of the Minnesota Zoo's strategic initiative to find new audiences. More than 10 adults-only events are planned through the end of the year.

The event goes from 4:30 to 7 p.m., on Saturday, Oct. 10. Admission is $10 (free for members) for attendees 18 and older. Brats and beer (to 21 and older only) will be sold on the Central Plaza and attendees can enjoy warm temps and autumn colors along the Zoo's forests and prairies. Register online in advance or pay at the zoo.

Another first happening this weekend is at the  Orpheum Theatre. Fans of Disney's "The Little Mermaid" can enter online for a chance to see the the show for $25 per ticket (4 ticket maximum per order). In the past, patrons had to show up in person to enter the lottery. Winners and losers will be notified by text or email winners will be sent a link with a special code to complete the purchase. Tickets can be printed at home or sent to a mobile device.

"The Little Mermaid" runs through Oct. 18 at the Orpheum Theatre in Minneapolis. Matinees are offered Saturday and Sunday, in addition to evening performances. Regular ticket prices range from $39 to $126.

Free financial advice without the third degree

I'll bet many of us would rather endure a colonoscopy than meet with a financial planner. Either way we're going to be asked very personal questions and suffer through physical or financial probing.

Only 11 percent of Minneapolis residents have developed a written plan to address their financial goals with an advisor, according to a 2015 Planning & Progress study. for Northwestern Mutual. Any of us can easily come up with reasons that we avoid planners.

1. They're going to tell me I'm not saving enough.

2. They're going to ask how much money I make.

3 They're going to put me on a strict budget.

Here's the good news: At a free event called Financial Planning Day, anyone can sit down with a financial planner for 15 to 30 minutes where you control the questions. Maybe it's a single question that you've been afraid to ask, such as "What is a good, free retirement calculator that I can find online that can tell me if I'm saving enough for retirement?" You could ask to have a planner explain the differences between a  Roth IRA and a Roth 401(k) or simply, "Can I afford to buy a different car?"

Attendees can bring along a limited number of financial documents, but they should limit their questions to the most pressing ones.

Best of all, this is truly a no-strings event. Advisors who volunteer their time for the one-day event are not allowed to hand out unsolicited business cards or ask for personal contact info. You will not hounded for months just because you met with a planner for 20 minutes.

The event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 17 at 451 N. Lexington Pkwy., in St. Paul. Go to the website for details about the schedule.

The event has gained popularity in its six years. The free sessions are held between 10:45 and 2, but there have been wait times during peak periods.