During the entire month of November, the Minnesota Zoo​ will be sharing stories of the many rescued and rehabilitated animals that we care for. All of our animals receive amazing care from zoo staff, volunteers and community members. All of this work is made possible because of YOUR amazing support – thank you! Check back daily as we feature a new story from around the Zoo.

It goes without saying that we’re incredibly thankful for our staff, volunteers, animals, members and donors. But there’s another “group” we’re thankful for – the silent yet beautiful plants, trees, shrubs and flowers that paint our indoor and outdoor landscapes and vistas. We are, after all, the Minnesota Zoological Garden!

The Zoo sits atop 485 acres, and only a portion of that is developed.  The natural landscape – including mature oaks, paper birch and quaking aspen – are cared for by the Zoo’s dedicated team of expert horticulturists.  When trees are removed, they are utilized to the fullest extent for the animal collection where they provide food, perching and enrichment for everything from brown bears to radiated tortoises. In addition, this group is also responsible for the care of the hundreds of tropical plants along the Tropics Trail including many tropical orchids, including dendrobiums, cattleyas, and cymbidiums which are brought up from the Zoo’s greenhouse when flowering.

Interested in learning more about the Minnesota Zoo’s horticulture? Join us on a tour!

Did you know? The Minnesota Zoo’s Tropics Building is watered by hand, twice a week? No irrigation, sprinklers or leaky pipe – just staff members using hoses and fan sprayers. In fact, five staff members take care of all the plants on the entire Zoo site!