HOUSTON - Prepare to be immersed into the world of the largest primate exhibit on Earth. Construction of the $29M Gorillas of the African Forest exhibit at the Houston Zoo is more than halfway done and we got the first peek at the progress.
The exhibit will give the experience of being right in the middle of an African forest. The two acres will soon be home to 10 gorillas.
We will have Western Lowland gorillas. The males will be 500 pounds. The females are smaller. They are about 250 each, said Beth Schaefer, the Curator of Primates and Carnivores at the Houston Zoo.
The space has intricate details to make the gorillas feel at home. The goal is to design the exhibit with the gorilla s natural behavior in mind.
You'll be about 15 feet above where the gorillas are. They can't jump that high, so you'll be just looking out at them without any walls. Without anything between you and the gorillas, said Deborah Cannon, the CEO and President of the Houston Zoo.
It really will be the kind of experience that is almost mystical of coming through the forest and seeing these amazing animals, said Schaefer.
The gorillas have bedrooms that are separate from their social area.
The very first view a guest will have will be eye to eye at the glass with the gorillas, said Beth Schaefer, the curator of primates and carnivores at the Houston Zoo.
There will be walking paths and a platform overlooking the thick green vegetation.
For special events inside the exhibit's board room, guests will get a unique opportunity.
We will have some feeding tubes so we could feed grapes to the gorillas and be right there with a window in between, said Cannon.
The exhibit will open next spring.