Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium (omahazoo.com) has announced a $21 million overhaul of its Hubbard Orangutan Forest. It’s the latest blockbuster attraction at the zoo, which consistently ranks among the world’s best.
Orangutans are a great ape species native to rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia. The primates are now only found in the wild in Borneo and Sumatra. They are critically endangered because of habitat loss and deforestation. The zoo currently has four orangutans, but the new habitat’s larger size would allow the zoo to add more in the future.
Orangutans have lived at the Omaha zoo since the 1960s. The current Hubbard Orangutan Forest building opened in 2005, but has been closed since the pandemic started in 2020. Renovations actually began this past September, and opening is scheduled for May of 2024.
The new attraction will be an immersive exhibit. Guests will enter the building, architecturally inspired by Southeast Asia, and take an elevator down into the apes’ world, so to speak. The habitat will connect guests with the daily lives of orangutans in a display that mimics their natural surroundings. Guests will feel like they entered a tropical environment. Educational elements will be displayed inside the attraction, teaching guests about the care orangutans receive and about the biodiversity of Southeast Asia.
Omaha’s Henry Doorly Zoo & Aquarium‘s mission is to inspire, educate, and engage people to serve as lifelong stewards for the conservation of animals and their habitats. For more information, go to omahazoo.com.