Archive for May 15, 2014

International Orangutan Center Opens at Indy Zoo, May 24

Rocky, one of eight orangutans at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Rocky, one of eight orangutans at the Indianapolis Zoo. Photo credit: Mike Crowther.
Photo provided by the Indianapolis Zoo and used with written permission.

By Melanie Laurendine
Indianapolis Zoo

The Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center at the Indianapolis Zoo is scheduled to hold its official public opening on Saturday, May 24, 2014.

The center, with an overall land area larger than two football fields, is home to eight orangutans: Azy, Charly, Knobi, Nicky, Lucy, Katy, Basan and Rocky.

Orangutans are great apes (not monkeys), the same as chimpanzees, gorillas and bonobos, and are among the most endangered species on the planet. Over the years they were found throughout the Near East and Far East, including India and China. But today they are found only in Southeast Asia on the islands of Borneo and Sumatra.

Rocky checks out the guests at the Indianapolis Zoo.

Rocky checks out guests at the Indianapolis Zoo. Photo credit: Craig Banister. Photo provided by the Indianapolis Zoo and used with written permission.

Facts about the International Orangutan Center:

  • The Nina Mason Pulliam Beacon of Hope stretches 150 feet into the sky and is illuminated by LED lights that the orangutans will turn on themselves, reminding us that there is hope for the conservation of wild orangutans.
  • The Myrta Pulliam Hutan Trail is a network of cables, platforms and bridges 45-80 feet high that enables orangutans to travel across the Zoo and over the heads of guests.
  • The RB Annis Atrium, a four-season living space with an internal height of 50 feet, allows orangutans and humans to interact regardless of weather conditions. The Atrium has both indoor and outdoor viewing for guests and houses the Tim M. Solso Learning Studio.
  • The Oases consist of two special places where the orangutans can go if they want to be apart from others or for encounters with Zoo staff and visitors. The Oases provide up-close orangutan viewing as they learn, play and rest.
  • Community Plaza is the open-air viewing and gathering place. The story of the orangutans’ forest home unfolds in the Plaza with interpretive graphics.
  • The Skyline is an aerial cable ride with 1,200 feet of track rising 50 feet above the Zoo, taking visitors close to the Myrta Pulliam Hutan Trail for a unique perspective on the orangutans (and a stunning view of downtown Indianapolis).
  • The Efroymson Family Exploration Hub provides a remarkable window into the orangutans’ world. Observe the orangutans, learn about their relationships to other orangutans and the forest, and discover your role in securing the future for orangutans by making simple choices to help safeguard the forests that sustain them.

The International Orangutan Center is included in admission to the Indianapolis Zoo, located at 1200 West Washington Street in White River State Park. For more information, visit, or call 317-630-2001.

Editor’s Acknowledgement: JTPR, Inc.