Special project: Water: A to Zoo

The Wizard of the Minnesota Zoo

A transplanted Iowa farm boy with a dive suit and computer maintains the lifeblood of the Minnesota Zoo for resident freshwater and saltwater creatures. Updated Apr. 13, 2011

  • Water is needed in vast amounts to keep the animals and plants thriving at the Minnesota Zoo. It starts in aquifers deep under the city of Apple Valley and ends with Allan Maguire who adds a dash of "Instant Ocean," turns the crank and -- presto -- makes a home where exotic ocean fish and mammals thrive.

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Minnesota Zoo's water management system schematic.

  • Water: A to Zoo

    Article By: MARK BOSWELL Publish / Update December 2, 2008 12:15 PM

    Water is needed in vast amounts to keep the animals and plants thriving at the Minnesota Zoo. It starts in aquifers deep under the city of Apple Valley, which turns it into potable water. Entering the zoo’s giant water management system, the water is processed to provide the distinctly different types of water needed for saltwater and freshwater mammals and fish, terrestrial animals and humans. And it must be done ecologically. Here’s a look at four of the biggest arteries of that system:

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