Minnesota Zoo begins converting flapped monorail to treetop trail – Twin Cities

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The Minnesota Zoo begins construction of the world’s longest elevated pedestrian loop as it transforms its original monorail track into a nature trail through the tree canopy, zoo officials announced at a celebratory ceremony. groundbreaking on Friday.

The 1.25-mile Treetop Trail will rise 32 feet and provide trail users with an “immersive nature experience” by offering “breathtaking” views of the Apple Valley Zoo and its habitats of bison, tigers, moose and other wildlife while providing views and access. to hundreds of acres of hardwood forests and wetlands.

“Nature heals, restores and inspires us,” Minnesota Zoo Director and Zoo Foundation President John Frawley said in a statement Friday. “The Treetop Trail is a key part of the Zoo’s future and advances our mission to connect people to the natural world. This will reinforce our reputation as a trusted nature destination in Minnesota and is an evolution of the role zoos play around the world. The Trail also has the potential to become a major tourist attraction and economic engine for the state.

The project was inspired by New York’s High Line, a 1.45-mile stretch of disused elevated railroad that has been converted into a popular footbridge.

The Minnesota Zoo project will reuse its monorail, which debuted with the new state zoological park in the late 1970s. However, the aging tram was closed in 2013. Three years later, the zoo has started to think about the conversion, which is financed by a public-private partnership. So far, $30 million of the $39 million target has been secured, including $11 million through the legislative bonding process.

RELATED: What Happened to the Minnesota Zoo Monorail Cars? Some guy from St. Paul turned some of them into cabins.

Construction is expected to be completed by next summer.

For more information, visit mnzoo.org/treetoptrail.

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