Aug 18, 2023 - News

The Minnesota Zoo's Treetop Trail is shocking visitors — literally

A rendering of the Treetop Trail. Rendering courtesy of Minnesota Zoo

Visitors to Minnesota Zoo's Treetop Trail attraction may be in for a literal shock.

What's happening: Zoogoers are being zapped by static electricity, particularly after touching the metal railings, while walking the 1.25-mile elevated pedestrian loop, several recent visitors confirmed to Axios.

Why it matters: The long-awaited attraction, which has been in the works since 2018 and cost $37 million, opened last month to much fanfare for visitors to see the zoo from a new perspective.

Threat level: Signs posted by the zoo along the trail caution the use of electrostatic sensitive devices because the use of recycled composite decking for the trail can cause "naturally-occurring static electricity," per a photo shared July 28 by Minnesota Monthly.

What he's saying: "It was like walking on carpet then touching a balloon. I had to keep my phone in my pocket so I wouldn't zap it," said Jeremy Kieser, who visited the trail on Saturday.

  • Kieser still enjoyed the attraction and his phone remained unharmed, he added.

What's next: The zoo is working with architectural, design, and construction teams on short and long-term options to reduce the static, a spokesperson told Axios.

  • Employees are currently using anti-static spray on railings two to three times a week, he confirmed.

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