Duchess, the matriarch of the orangutan family at the Phoenix Zoo
Duchess, the matriarch of the orangutan family at the Phoenix Zoo
Courtesy of the Phoenix Zoo

Orangutan Exhibit at Phoenix Zoo Will Allow for Winter Viewing; Bashas' Accepting Donations this Month

Note: This story's been updated for clarity.

Orangutans have long called the Phoenix Zoo home, but with the introduction of a new habitat, we can now see them year-round.

Typically, the apes aren't big fans of the colder months (which exist even in Phoenix) and are only on display in their outdoor area in the summer (when it's more than 65 degrees).

According to the Zoo, the newly designed orangutan exhibit isn't scheduled to open until April, but for the entire month of January, customers at Bashas' stores can make donations to help set up their new home.

"They're going to have what we call 'day rooms,' so even if the weather is bad, people can see them," says Linda Hardwick, public relations manager for the Phoenix Zoo. "We'll have two indoor and two outdoor areas, so if it's too cold for them, they can hang out in the indoor areas."

Hardwick says the current orangutan exhibit was demolished last Thursday, and the animals moved to a "night house," which Hardwick describes as a "really cool, state-of-the-art" space with climate control.

She's hoping that within two weeks, the orangutans will gradually be reintroduced to an outside area with grass and poles for swinging.

However, the night house is not open to the public, so looky-loos will have to wait until April to see the orangutans in their upgraded digs. In the meantime, orangutan fans can make donations at any Bashas' register to help finish the primates' fancy new pad.

The Phoenix Zoo is at 455 North Galvin Parkway in Phoenix. For more information, visit the Zoo's website or call 602-273-1341. 

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