Brookfield Zoo expanding space for apes, monkeys

The apes and monkeys at Brookfield Zoo are getting a home makeover.

The zoo has announced plans to expand their habitat.

The new space will span roughly two acres and feature indoor and outdoor habitats for the zoo's gorilla troops.


In addition, the space will feature outdoor areas for the zoo's orangutans and South American monkeys.

"I am tremendously excited about this project. Seeing our gorillas and orangutans come outside, some for the very first time, will be an unforgettable moment as they experience natural grass under their feet and sunlight shining on their faces," said Michael Adkesson, president and CEO of the Chicago Zoological Society and director of Brookfield Zoo, in a statement.

"The new habitats will also allow guests to connect with these amazing charismatic animals in a whole new way," Adkesson said. "Our mission is to engage our guests in caring about wildlife and nature. From that connection, we can then inspire people to incorporate conservation-minded activities into their daily lives."

The new habitat — both indoor and outdoor — includes "running water" features, climbing structures, grasses and vines, zoo staff said. Hundreds of shrubs and about 75 trees will help bring the exhibit space to life.

Although a fence is now in place around the construction site, zoo officials say visitors will still be able to see the animals in Tropic World.

Work on the complex is expected to be completed in 2025. The animals could move in from that year until 2026, depending on the time they need to acclimate to the new habitats.

A groundbreaking is scheduled for later this fall.

Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.