For years, Lincoln families have wished the Zoo was open all year-round. During the planning process, the Zoo made that wish a priority. Multiple areas will now cater to guests visiting in the winter months, including a new indoor animal and play area. This area, located in the historic zoo building, is home to animal encounters and fun educational activities. The Zoo wanted to create an experience where children of all ages could explore, learn and interact with nature.
The center of the building features what may be one of the most exciting places in the Zoo — a climbing structure that will share a space with spider monkeys. The climber resembles a treehouse where families can climb to different heights and look throughout the building as well as crawl through tunnels that will go inside the spider monkey habitat. “You can crawl through a tunnel and next to you or above you is an actual spider monkey,” President & CEO John Chapo said.
The tree climber is being created for children of all ages, including adults. “We want our Zoo experience to be for the entire family,” Chapo said. There will be lookout points closer to the ground for younger children and ones higher up for older children to explore. The plans also include a slide and other exciting experiences.
The building is home to an animal encounter area similar to Critter Outpost and The Hive currently in the Zoo. “We get so many positive comments about those two hands on spots that we knew we needed to create another in this new indoor area,” Chapo said. The animal encounter area is also a new location for Zoo Crew, the popular youth volunteer program.
The building also houses areas for educational programs such as camps and toddler activities as well as space for birthday parties and private rentals.