Regenstein Center for African Apes
The state-of-the-art Regenstein Center for African Apes is unlike any other in the country – maybe the world. It offers 29,000 square feet of living space, indoors and out. Bamboo stands real and simulated. Dozens of trees and 5,000 feet of artificial vines for climbing. Skylights. Termite mounds for chimpanzee “fishing.” A waterfall. A moat. Heated logs. Fresh air. Sunshine.
The $26 million center is the most expensive building ever constructed at the zoo. Its primary features are three spacious habitats: the Kovler Gorilla Bamboo Forest, the Strangler Fig Forest (which accommodates either chimpanzees or gorillas) and the Dry Riverbed Valley (which also accommodates chimpanzees or gorillas). The indoor exhibits are immediately adjacent to the outdoor exhibits so that they appear to be one.
Huge glass windows separate the indoors from the outdoors. A deep moat prevents gorillas from scrambling out of their 12,000-square-foot, open-air habitat. Mesh netting secures chimpanzees and gorillas in the other natural habitats, which off a combined 13,600 square feet. Indoors or out, the view is unmatched.
A major element of the new building is the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes. The center engages zoo visitors, members and students in science and conservation initiatives through an integrated program of research, science education and the conservation of wild populations.