Construction continues on Indianapolis Zoo's new orangutan exhibit

Exhibit expected to open May 2014

INDIANAPOLIS - There has been steady progress on the construction of the Indianapolis Zoo's new orangutan exhibit since ground was broken in September.

The $21 million project is expected to be finished by the end of the year.

Anyone can keep a watchful eye on the construction via 24-hour webcam on the zoo's website.

Zoo leaders think the exhibit could boost crowds by 20 percent, especially because of the special connection many humans feel with orangutans.

"Orangutans are so much like humans their DNA is 97 percent the same as humans," said John Glesing, director of public relations for the zoo.

The zoo already has eight orangutans patiently waiting for the completion of their new home.

"The orangs will be out in the open climbing up on an urban jungle of sorts of cabling system where they will be out over the heads of zoo guests in a safe environment," Glesing said. "You will be able to see them up close. That makes this extremely unique. "

Families are already looking forward to the exhibit, which is expected to open in May 2014.

"The kids are so excited about it," said parent Emily Scharbrough. "They can't wait to see it. They keep talking about it."

"I'm looking forward to see how they will react to the zoo setting around here," said Emily Scharbrough's daughter, Tayor. "I would like to know how they will change the zoo compared to the pond that used to be here with all the ducks."

For starters there will be a lot of swinging, soaring and hanging. The orangutans themselves will be able to activate the lights on the Beacon of Hope 150 feet above the ground.

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