Indianapolis Zoo provides sneak peek of new International Orangutan Center


The landscape of the Indianapolis Zoo is changing. The International Orangutan Center will take visitors and apes to new heights, and has been years in the making. It opens May 24, 2014.

There are no nets and no fence. It's just free-swinging fun.

"While they're out on these towers, they're 80 feet off the ground and there's nothing between them and our visitors except that 80 feet of air space," said Jon Pilarski, the Area Manager of Primates.

The great apes can choose to go when they'd like.

From displaying their upper body strength outside, to acrobatics in the day room with fire hoses and platforms, there's more than enough space to go around.

"We want the apes to be all around you, we want you to be surrounded and we want you to feel good about that," says Dr. Rob Shumaker, Vice President of Conservation and Life Sciences.

Their home is called a functional forest.

It's a habitat built and designed from an orangutans perspective, allowing the ape to make decisions and who they're with and how they want to spend their time.

So what does all of this mean, for us, and for the apes? Dr. Rob explains, "It tells you that that apes are always thinking about what's going on and making choices about that but also when you have a visit the next time you come it will be different because the apes will be doing different things and making different choices."

The orangutans are constantly on the move exploring their surroundings and the new people they meet.

Meet all the orangutans who live at the International Orangutan Center.