Minnesota Zoo’s old monorail train is now a campsite in Wisconsin
The long-awaited Minnesota Zoo Treetop Trail is officially open, giving visitors a birdseye view of some of the zoo’s favorite animals.
Standing more than 30 feet above, the walking trail takes the place of the zoo’s monorail train — an attraction that ran for more than 30 years.
“This is a wonderful example of reuse of something that had been here for a long time, which was the zoo’s monorail,” Geoff Hall, Minnesota Zoo’s chief animal care health conservation and behavior officer, said.
The first monorail ride was given in 1979, and the last rolled out in 2013. And not long after that, Gabe Emerson of St. Paul called the zoo to see if the monorail was for sale.
“Apparently they hadn’t heard of Craigslist, so they didn’t know how to get rid of it,” Emerson said. “So I made an offer on it and they said, ‘Yeah, come get it.'”
Emerson said he paid around $1,000 for six monorail cars and about six times that to get them to their new home in western Wisconsin. He and his friends have transformed the train into a campsite with a deck that extends the entire length of the monorail.
And just like when it was at the zoo, animal sightings are common.
“It’s an ongoing battle to keep the raccoons [and mice] out,” Emerson said. “I think when we moved it from the zoo, we opened it up and there were mice in there already that we had dragged out from the zoo.”
He plans to visit the Treetop Trail soon and is happy to keep those monorail memories alive.
“I’m glad to be part of preserving that history and keeping it at least somewhat local here. And yeah, I definitely appreciate [the Minnesota Zoo being] able to recycle and reuse that,” Emerson added about the track his monorail once rode on.