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The Minnesota Zoo, one of the nation’s top public zoological gardens, is located about 20 miles south of the Minneapolis and St. Paul, in Apple Valley, Minnesota. It offers award-winning recreational, educational and conservation programs - locally, nationally, and internationally.Accredited by the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, the zoo is a member of the Alliance of Marine Mammal Parks and Aquariums. It is spread over an area of 500 rolling, wooded acres, which consists of a lush tropical forest and aviary, a marine center, boreal forest, tundra, and family farm.The Minnesota Zoo primarily focuses on the animals of the South American rain forest and Southeast Asia, with more than 2,400 animals representing more than 350 species. Animals to see include Siberian tigers, dolphins, Komodo dragons, snow monkeys, all manner of fishes and birds, and wolves.There are numerous trails indoors and out, a monorail, and extensive daily shows and programming. The monorail provides riders a panoramic view of hardy, Northern hemisphere animals such as Bactrian camels, musk oxen, moose, and Amur (Siberian) tigers.The objective of its education department is to increase the understanding of, and responsibility for, local and global animal species and ecosystems. Through graphic displays, daily animal shows, and volunteer interpreters, the zoo presents the importance of the environment and conservation.The zoo also hosts birthday parties, corporate events, wedding receptions, and social occasions. A gift store, a 3-D Imax theater (one of the largest in the country), and other concession options are available.Another interesting attraction, the Mall of America, is just 10 minutes north of the Minnesota Zoo.