When the Indianapolis Zoo began planning the Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, officials envisioned a dynamic exhibit that would engage guests to discover more about orangutans and inspire them to help save the endangered apes from extinction. Now, nearly nine years later, the impact of those efforts is finally coming into focus.
Bolstered by a spectacular summer, the Zoo had an epic year in 2014 and marked multiple attendance records.
Captivated by the personal interactions and stunning perspectives in the new Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center, 1,249,840 people visited the Zoo last year, including more than 320,000 travelers from outside Central Indiana. The total surpassed the previous high mark of 1,164,400 set in 2007 when the Zoo opened the Oceans exhibit.
The Center’s much-anticipated May opening sparked the best summer in the Zoo’s 50-year history in terms of attendance, led by 232,564 visitors in July alone. Offering an unparalleled experience for guests and great apes alike, the Center also earned multiple recognitions in 2014, including the Indiana Innovation Award and the Indy Chamber Monumental Awards for architecture, construction and engineering.
In addition to discovering the apes’ incredible abilities and remarkable similarities to humans, visitors to the Center were also supporting the conservation of wild orangutans. Kiosks located at the exhibit’s exit offer guests the chance to become active partners in reforestation efforts by donating to help rebuild depleted sections of forest habitat in Borneo.
Looking ahead to 2015, the Zoo will open a new temporary exhibit, Koala presented by Citizens Energy Group. From May 23 through Sept. 7, two Queensland koalas will make Indianapolis their home away from home and serve as ambassadors for their species.
The Zoo is open year-round, and guests are encouraged to save time and money on their next Zoo visit by purchasing advance tickets online at IndianapolisZoo.com.
The Indianapolis Zoo empowers people and communities, both locally and globally, to advance animal conservation. Located in White River State Park downtown, the Indianapolis Zoo is accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and the American Association of Museums as a zoo, aquarium and botanical garden. Visit IndianapolisZoo.com
Source: Indianapolis Zoo, Inside INdiana Business