Minnesota Zoo Opens ‘The Tree Top Trail’ – Apple Valley, MN

Jul 23, 2023 | events/locations

Move over monorail! We are just  days out from the grand opening of the new Treetop Trail!

This transformational project is a repurpose of the former monorail track into the world’s longest elevated pedestrian loop. The Treetop Trail will bring guests up to 32 feet above the ground to provide an immersive and accessible experience in nature, along with unique views of some of your favorite animals and habitats. The Treetop Trail will officially open on Friday, July 28th.

The Treetop Trail

This opening date of the Zoo’s new pathway to nature appropriately coincides with World Nature Conservation Day. As a worldwide leader in wildlife conservation, the Minnesota Zoo created the Treetop Trail to give guests year-round access to hundreds of acres of hardwood forest, ponds and marshes, and the diverse wildlife that call Minnesota home. The Treetop Trail will provide new perspectives of many Zoo animals, including tigers, moose, bison, and of course, a bird’s eye view for bird watchers during each of Minnesota’s four seasons.

The Minnesota Zoo opened 45 years ago in 1978 with a mission to connect people, animals and the natural world to save wildlife. The Treetop Trail will reinforce the Zoo’s reputation as a trusted nature destination and is an evolution of the role that zoos play around the globe.“The Treetop Trail marks a new chapter for the Minnesota Zoo,” said Minnesota Zoo Director and Foundation President John Frawley. “As we look ahead to the Zoo’s next 45 years, theTreetop Trail is a major step in furthering connections to nature and animals in an accessible and immersive way.”

Integrating into the Zoo’s original monorail track which was retired in 2013, the Treetop Trail is the ultimate reuse construction project. The Zoo contracted with award-winning Snow Kreilich Architects; engineering firm Buro Happold (known for its work on the High Line in New York City); and construction partner, PCL. Together, they have been committed to minimizing disruptions to the Zoo’s animals and guests before, during, and after construction. The entrance to the Treetop Trail will feature the Zoo’s new animal ambassador habitat. Here, guests will be greeted by several species native to Minnesota including the Treetop Trail ambassador – a North American porcupine named Quillber.

Planning for the Minnesota Zoo Treetop Trail began in June 2018 and a ceremonial groundbreaking was held in April 2022. “Thanks to the full support from our Boards, legislative and government champions, as well as the philanthropic community, we have secured $39 million in public and private partnership to support this transformational project,” said Frawley. The Minnesota Zoo would like to express profound gratitude to the following for their support of the Treetop Trail: State of Minnesota, K.A.H.R. Foundation, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, Target, Best Buy Foundation, Hubbard Broadcasting Foundation, and hundreds of individual donors.

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Minnesota Zoo’s Treetop Trail from Minnesota Zoo on Vimeo.

The Minnesota Zoo

The Minnesota Zoo is a year-round destination providing a window into the natural world. With hundreds of species of animals, worldwide conservation efforts, and acres of scenic beauty, the Zoo is a resource to connect people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife. The Minnesota Zoo is an accredited member of the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) and an institutional member of the World Association of Zoos and Aquariums (WAZA).


The Minnesota Zoo

13000 Zoo Blvd

Apple Valley, MN


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