This summer, the Kansas City Zoo will offer visitors a new way to view curious and engaging orangutans with the opening of the Orangutan Canopy. The 3,400-square-foot outdoor habitat encourages orangutans to employ their dexterity and intelligence.
This exhibit is important because, according to the Orangutan Conservancy, these massive creatures have lost more than 80 percent of their habitat in the last two decades. Only about 40,000 orangutans remain in Borneo and Sumatra—half as many as 10 years ago.
Strong artificial and flexible natural trees, poles, and vines invite climbing, exploration, and rest above the lush forest floor; while viewing stations include an open-air shelter with a 40-foot-long window for observing zookeepers during demonstrations and training exercises. A new indoor room called “Orangutan University” features bright walls and more climbing structures. Visitors can also observe how closely orangutans mirror human behavioral traits while watching zookeepers interact with orangutans via computer monitors. Nearby, a hillside trail provides more climbing structures and educational conservation messages. See if you can climb, swing and grab like an orangutan on the Orangutan Agility Course.
There’s more primate excitement too. Gorilla mom, Makari, recently delivered the first gorilla infant born here since 1975. “We are very excited about this rare birth of an endangered species.” said Randy Wisthoff, the zoo’s Director/CEO. A new baby chimp also arrived in late March.
The zoo’s Tuxedo Grill offers a frequently changing menu that may include steak burgers and vegetarian sandwiches, salads, wraps, pizza and kids’ meals. “In the lobby, our Beastro Café is now offering hand-scooped ice cream, fresh made waffle cones and fruit smoothies as well as the traditional snack favorites”. Wishoff said.
Visitors can also look forward to more exciting changes suggested in the zoo’s Master Plan 2020, such as a Giraffe Feeding Station and viewing elephants and gorillas in more natural environments.
Located in Kansas City, Missouri’s historic Swope Park, the Kansas City Zoo is open year-round. 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends through Labor Day. Closed on Thanksgiving, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. Tickets are $10.50-13.50 (children age 2 and under are free).
Sponsored by Kansas City Zoo