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New zoo exhibit Primate Canopy Trails opens to the public Monday

Three years in the making, 35,000 square feet, and $13 million dollars later.

At last, a highly anticipated exhibit at the St. Louis Zoo is set to open to the public on Monday, July 12th. Members will have the opportunity to see it sooner, today through Sunday.  Show Me St. Louis got a look inside to show you what to expect.

When you visit Primate Canopy Trails, the hot new exhibit at the St. Louis zoo, you get to experience what it's like to be a primate in a tree canopy of a forest. Perfect for kids but also fun for adults, the exhibit takes you through animals habitats. 

Heidi Hellmuth, Curator of Primates, said, “I am in a treehouse that is at the entry of the brand new canopy trails. Over three years in the making, beyond excited to experience it with St. Louis.”

Many of the animals in the primate house had never had access to the outdoors until now. There are eight outdoor homes for them to run around or snuggle in. Both primates and humans have their own designated tunnels to climb through as well. 

She said, “We have over 40 animals and 14 species that live here. Getting outside gives them the health benefits that we experience from being outside… Our second goal was that we have beautiful mature trees here and we encompassed them into the habitats so we have animals climbing on the trees. It is as natural as you can get.”

If you're not inclined to climb stairs or make your way through tunnels, there are other ways to get around and experience the exhibit. It is built for all ages.

She said, “You can never climb a stair your entire time here and still have a great experience.”

So up close and so personal, Primate Canopy Trails is the first of its kind.

Hellmuth said, “To our knowledge nobody has even come close to the scale that Canopy Trails does.. nothing like it in the world for primates.”

The exhibit is free. To visit, make free zoo reservations online at stlzoo.org.

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