The Zoo’s mission is to connect people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife. In our efforts to deliver upon our mission, we’re guided by strong and meaningful values, including an unwavering commitment to excellence with integrity and responsible stewardship of all resources entrusted to us. It is our practice to continually and critically assess how our mission remains relevant and success is measured on how we best meet the needs of the people, state, and wildlife we serve. As our team explored how we can do more to further the mission, we identified a compelling truth–playing in nature leads to protecting nature. Inspired by this belief, we began our work in building a plan for our next chapter.

After two years of research, design, and review, we have developed a new facilities master plan: The Pathway to Nature. This toolkit for the Minnesota Zoo will serve as a guide in how we help guests rediscover the natural world. With a soft footprint, we will reveal over 200 untouched acres of our managed grounds and repurpose existing infrastructure to introduce new, incomparable products and programming. Projects will include new animal habitats, outdoor adventures, nature trails, overnight wilderness retreats, nature-based learning, and events. Last but not least, we will build the longest elevated Treetop Trail loop in the world! Our skilled staff will provide a range of tiered experiences that enable our communities to learn and grow from being nature wary to nature willing. In short, we will maximize our unique opportunity to truly change the lives of all Minnesotans.

The next decade will prove to be the most inspiring in the Minnesota Zoo’s rich history. We invite you to join us for a new adventure at one of Minnesota’s most cherished destinations. Visit this page periodically to learn more about our vision and progress for the Pathway to Nature.

John Frawley
Zoo Director


View the Nature task force project report 


View Pathway to Nature concepts and renderings here:

In the news: Minnesota Zoo’s Facilities Master Plan
Sun This Week

Frequently asked questions: 
What’s included in the Facilities Master Plan?
When will the Treetop Trail be built?
Doesn’t Minnesota already have a number of State Parks with nature trails?
What about animals?
How does this plan connect to the Zoo’s role as a conservation organization?

As included in Governor Walz’s bonding proposal

Quality of Life Bonding Bill
Public Safety Bonding Bill

Ask your legislator to support these projects.

Individuals looking to support the Treetop Trail should contact [email protected]

Interested in becoming a corporate sponsor of Treetop Trail? Please contact [email protected]

Support the Minnesota Zoo Foundation and their work in connecting people, animals, and the natural world to save wildlife.