The International Orangutan Center
The International Orangutan Center (IOC) at the Indianapolis Zoo is a $21.5 million state-of-the-art facility designed to meet the needs of two very different groups: the endangered primates who live together inside the exhibit and the thousands of zoo visitors who will watch and learn - and hopefully come to care - about these orangutans who are disappearing from the wild.
Silver Creek Engineering provided the site design for the new orangutan exhibit. Site services included the design of drainage, storm water quality, erosion control, water distribution, sanitary sewer, and onsite utilities. The site features rain gardens, a cistern system for irrigation, and a storm water lift station. In addition to providing these site services, we faced some unique challenges in creating an "orangutan-proof" environment. This included designing storm inlets bolted to the concrete and welded to the frames to prevent the orangutans from removing them.
The IOC is not a difficult exhibit to locate within the zoo -- or within the city of Indianapolis, for that matter. The 150 foot tall Beacon of Hope extends out from the 50 foot tall atrium that offers visitors both indoor and outdoor viewing experiences. The Hutan Trail is a system of cables, platforms and bridges above the zoo that mimics an orangutan highway through the forest. The orangutans use it to travel to different locations throughout the zoo. Closely following the Hutan Trail is the Skyline, a 1200 foot long aerial cable ride designed for zoo visitors, who are not accustomed to traveling hand over hand 50 feet above the ground. The Skyline provides passengers with a unique view of the orangutans as they move among the network of cables, platforms and bridges that make up the Hutan Trail.