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Minnesota Zoo starts work to convert monorail track into treetop trail

The trail is scheduled to open in summer 2023.

The Minnesota Zoo is starting construction on a new elevated pedestrian trail to replace its old monorail route.

The zoo touted its plan to repurpose its old monorail tracks into what would be the world’s largest elevated pedestrian loop – dubbed the "Treetop Trail" – at a Friday ceremony. Minnesota Lt. Governor Peggy Flanagan joined the zoo’s president, John Frawley, and other officials at the event, which marks the start of construction of the trail.

Set to be completed in the summer of 2023, the trail will sit 32 feet off the ground and run for 1.25 miles. It will also connect the north and south halves of the zoo. The zoo first began exploring the project in 2016.

Funding for the trail comes from the zoo’s “Step Into Nature” Capital Campaign, which raises money from individual and corporate donors.

According to a Friday press release, the zoo has secured around $30 million of the total $39 million needed for the trail.

“It’s inspiring to have this public and private partnership to support the Zoo and the Treetop Trail,” Frawley said in a statement. “We welcome anyone who supports the Zoo’s mission, our connection to wildlife and the elevation of Minnesota as a nature innovator to become part of this historic project.”

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