Treetop Trail at Minnesota Zoo

Things to Do at the Minnesota Zoo

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The Treetop Trail at the Minnesota Zoo  / Ten Over Media

Things to Do at the Minnesota Zoo

By Caitlin Hannah

One of the best places to hang out with thousands of furry, finned and feathered friends is the Minnesota Zoo. This AZA-accredited Apple Valley institution has been welcoming animal lovers for more than 40 years. Plan your next visit with this guide. 

A trumpeter swan at the Minnesota Zoo

A trumpeter swan, one of many native species that visit the zoo / Minnesota Zoo


Online tickets are required to ensure the best zoo experience. Purchase general admission passes the day of your visit by going to The Minnesota Zoo is open 7 days a week, with special extended summer hours. 

Membership packages are available and offer complimentary parking, discounts, and more. The Minnesota Zoo's Free to Explore program also helps ensure that financial circumstances are not a barrier to anyone's visit.   

Minnesota Zoo's Treetop Trail

Minnesota Zoo's Treetop Trail 


Visitors to the state's largest zoo will encounter animals and habitats from around the globe in exciting exhibits that house over 500 species and nearly 5,000 animals. Explore the indoor and outdoor habitats by walking or wheeling around the 485-acre campus that features miles of outdoor trails and large indoor exhibits, which means you're guaranteed to see lots of cool creatures no matter the weather.  

Get a birds-eye view of the Minnesota Zoo grounds and its animals and its one-of-a-kind 1.25-mile walking path that brings guests up to 32 feet above the ground and provides a year-round and accessible experience for all. Dubbed “the world’s longest elevated pedestrian loop,” the Treetop Trail provides new vantage points for tigers, moose, bison, camels, as well as bird watching and leaf-peeping opportunities throughout the grounds. Sitting atop the zoo’s old monorail system, this unique experience can’t be missed.  

Tiger poses for a photo

One of six remaining tiger subspecies, the Amur tiger is a top predator of far eastern Asia / Minnesota Zoo


The Northern Trail features caribou, an Amur tiger, gazelles and other winter-hardy animals accustomed to our climate. The Minnesota Trail is a local showcase of regional landscapes and animals including lynx, wolves, bald eagles and native fish.

Another exhibit features cows, pigs, chickens, sheep and other farm animals at the Wells Fargo Family Farm. Russia’s Grizzly Coast is an outdoor habitat with bears, leopards, otters and boars from this vast wilderness area. 

Discovery Bay at Minnesota Zoo

Discovery Bay  / Minnesota Zoo

The zoo’s aquatic displays are another indoor highlight, with ponds, reefs, tide pools and tanks filled with creatures ranging from tiny pygmy seahorses to 10-foot sand tiger sharks.

Discovery Bay and the Tropics Trail offer spectacular underwater views of ocean and reef-dwellers like eels, sea turtles, sea dragons and tropical fish. The latter also heats up with lush rainforest foliage, beautiful orchids, and playful animals, including toucans, monkeys, lemurs, pandas, crocodiles and tropical birds. 

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Minnesota Zoo

Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Minnesota Zoo


The Minnesota Zoo offers daily programs for visitors, including its popular African penguin feedings, shark feedings, and Wings & Things, a popular animal show where visitors can see owls, porcupines, and more. Visit the Minnesota Zoo’s website for more information about daily programming

One of the zoo’s most popular events, the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular features thousands of illuminated pumpkins scattered throughout its trails.  Other seasonal exhibits include its popular Farm Babies program, where visitors can get a up-close-and-personal look at farm life in Minnesota that happens every spring.

Minnesota Zoo's Llama Trek

Minnesota Zoo's Llama Trek

In summer, don’t miss Dino Hideout, a play area experience where incredibly realistic dinosaurs are placed throughout natural settings and play structures and Llama Trek, a special area with minimal separation from the animals where you can observe llamas munching, grooming, and snoozing. 

For adults, check out Wild Nights, an adult-only ticketed event with live local music, artisans, food, drink, and special access to the Minnesota Zoo. Wild Nights happen throughout the year so check the schedule for upcoming events. The Minnesota Zoo offers yoga classes that highlight a different animal or trail as well as Qigong & Tai Chi classes.  

A roseate spoonbill at the Minnesota Zoo

A roseate spoonbill at the Minnesota Zoo


  • The Minnesota Zoo offers multiple dining options throughout the zoo. Visit Call of the Wild Food Court or the Penguin Cafe in the main building. Open seasonally, Grizzly Coast Cafe in Central Plaza or the Wells Fargo Family Farm Farmhouse are also available. Visitors may bring in their own food and beverage, with dozens of picnic spots available. Lids and straws are not available at any location to due animal health concerns. 

  • Strollers, electric and manual wheelchairs are available for rent onsite. Lockers, ATMs, are also available onsite.  

  • The Minnesota Zoo will make all reasonable modifications to policies and programs to ensure that people with disabilities have an equal opportunity to enjoy its programs, services, and activities. To request an ADA accommodation, please contact the Minnesota Zoo. Download the MNZoo4All app to find sensory-friendly tips, maps, and more. 

Find more wildlife at these wildlife centers across the state.