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Como's Ordway Gardens opens Friday

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A $2.8 million addition to the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory at St. Paul's Como Zoo opens Friday morning.

According to the zoo's website, the Charlotte Partridge Ordway Japanese Garden features a nationally-acclaimed bonsai collection, the largest in the upper Midwest.

The more than 5,000 square foot indoor-outdoor space will also feature an integrated bonsai pavilion, outdoor bonsai and meditation garden, along with a year-round Japanese plant collection.

The Star Tribune says the new wing allows better viewing and has a more inviting walkway to the conservatory's Japanese garden. The garden can also be viewed in the winter through a panoramic window.

Construction on the addition began last year after a one-year delay was caused by a tough economic climate, the Business Journal reports. Private contributions funded the project as part of a larger $18.8 million campaign that also included money for a new polar bear exhibit.

Bonsai, meaning "tree in a pot," is a Japanese art dating back more than 2,000 years.

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