Indianapolis Zoo expecting boost to orangutan center

INDIANAPOLIS - The Indianapolis Zoo is expecting perhaps a quarter-million extra visitors this year with the opening of its new orangutan exhibit.

The $26 million International Orangutan Center is opening to the public on May 24. It features eight orangutans living in an exhibit that includes an atrium with a 50-foot ceiling and an overhead climbing trail.

Zoo CEO Michael Crowther tells the Indianapolis Business Journal that a major goal for the center is to educate visitors about the endangered apes. They now only live in the wild on the Southeast Asian islands of Borneo and Sumatra, with their numbers down 80 percent in the past century.

The zoo will have a special gift shop for the center, along with a gondola ride passing near the climbing area.

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