MN Zoo’s MN Trail is a howling good time

mntrail_lodge.jpgI have a long relationship with the Minnesota Zoo, especially for a non-native. My grandparents have photos of me at the zoo in a stroller when I was smaller than a rhesus macaque. I’ve gone at least once a year since, and in the last five years, my family has made good use of our annual pass — hitting the zoo at least five times a year or more.

This winter we were touring the zoo’s indoor exhibits, (of which there are a great amount if you have little human monkeys you want to keep out of the cold), and after climbing the ascending sidewalk to the former beluga whale area, we were dismayed to see the Minnesota Trail was closed for renovation.

While most zoos feature exotic animals from far-off countries, the Minnesota Zoo prides itself in its educational exhibits featuring North American wildlife — including the MN Trail, which features otters to eagles, mountain lions to wolverines from Minnesota.

After a year of hard work, the MN Trail reopened last month with a brand new look and a few new animals. Log siding and a spongy floor were the first big surprise. New exhibits featuring raccoons, coyotes and gray wolves joined the old traditionals, including the beaver dam exhibit, which opened in 1978 and was the first exhibit to show beavers underwater anywhere in the world.

And the renovations have no end in site. Central Plaza in front of the monorail area (where the playground and picnic grounds are/were) is currently closed as the massive Russia’s Grizzly Coast exhibit, which will feature brown bears, sea otters, Amur leopards, and wild boar, takes shape. It should open in 2008. I thought it would be fun to let loose a grizzly while the construction is in progress. Might speed things up.

The zoo welcomed its 30 millionth guest in late July, and with its efforts to bring the zoo into the new millennium, will surely hit 60 million faster than an Asian forest tortoise can cross the road.

1 Comment so far

  1. Ang (unregistered) on August 28th, 2007 @ 10:59 am

    I should really go one of these days. Haven’t visited the zoo since 1997.

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