Saturday, May 24, 2014

International Orangutan Center opens today at Indianapolis Zoo

Eight orangutans have taken up residence in some new digs at the Indianapolis Zoo. The new Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center opens today, giving visitors a close look at this amazing species that is on the verge of extinction. 

I was able to preview the exhibit earlier this month as part of a media tour and was enthralled by watching the orangutans play and interact with one another, but also get up face to face with visitors at the glass. Kids can go online to research each of the orangutans before the visit or follow up afterwards by learning more if they go to

The center allows for lots of opportunity for outdoor climbing and spectators can watch from a sky ride that extends around the exhibit allowing for a birds eye view of the center.

Also part of the exhibit is the Nina Mason Pulliam Beacon of Hope, which stretches 150 feet into the sky and will transform the Indianapolis skyline. At night it is illuminated by lights the orangutans turn on themselves, reminding us that there is still hope for orangutans.

We also had an opportunity to watch some practice lessons where the orangutans used computers to match up images, showing the intelligence of the species.

This is an awesome way to observe these creatures in ways that the general public never could before. Find out more on the exhibit at

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