The Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center Review
Disclaimer: I was given free admission to the Indianapolis Zoo and the Orangutan Center, for 3 guests and myself, however I was not influenced by the offer. All opinions and insights are my own.
The Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center is receiving nationwide media attention and is being called one of the most significant zoo exhibits anywhere in the world. The zoo’s website says, “An epic adventure awaits inside this incredible new exhibit, which offers an unparalleled experience for both guests and orangutans.” After our visit today, I must say, I agree.
I invited my friend and her two little boys (ages 4 ½ and 2 ½) to go with me. We did a couple of things in preparation for our trip. First of all, we visited the zoo’s special site called Azy and Friends. We were able to learn about each of the orangutans that reside in the Center. We learned their ages, where they lived before they came to Indianapolis, what their favorite foods are and a little about their personalities. You will find a fun little quiz on the site that will match you up with one of the orangutans. We took the quiz and then I made each of us a special t-shirt with the picture of our orangutan on it.
I picked up some books, from the library. I gave Ashley one titled, “Orangutan (A Day in the Life: Rain Forest Animals)” by Anita Ganeri. She said the boys enjoyed it so much that she read it to them three different times. Now they have an idea of what an orangutan is and are ready for their trip to the zoo.
The Simon Skjodt International Orangutan Center
The Center is a beautiful structure that appeals to the orangutans and humans as well. There are many areas for the orangutans to explore and interact with visitors…and interact, they do! Look at the smiles I got from this one.
When we arrived Rocky was exploring the Myrta Pulliam Hutan Trail. It is designed to represent the orangutans’ “highway” through the forest. The trail is a series of cables and bridges that allow the orangutans to travel 40 feet above the guests.
On his way back down Rocky enjoyed stopping and watching us as much as we enjoyed watching him.
Once inside the Center, we were able to look through large windows into the R.B. Annis Atrium. The orangutans can stay away from the windows to relax and hang out together or they can come up to the windows and interact with the visitors. They are so close you feel like you could just reach out and touch them. (And in some camera shots it looks like you just did.)
From the Community Plaza, you can view the front of the building. The front is covered with large glass windows, from which you have another angle to view the orangutans. We stood out there for a long time while the boys interacted with one of the orangutans.
One aspect of the Center, that we didn’t get to experience, is the Skyline. The Skyline is an aerial ride that travels around the outer edge of the exhibit. Visitors get an excellent view of the Hutan Trail as well as a gorgeous view of downtown. I’m looking forward to experiencing this.
I can all ready tell that this is going to be one of my favorite exhibits at the zoo. I have a feeling that it’s going to be popular with many people. If you are a member, you have the opportunity of beating the crowds by accessing the Center an hour before the zoo opens. This exclusive benefit is available on Saturdays and Sundays. from May 24-Sept. 1, at 8:00 a.m.. Who knows, maybe I will see you there.