By Staff

BOSTON (CBS) — The gorillas at the Franklin Park Zoo are getting a new $8.1 million home, and zoo visitors will soon get to see it for themselves. The “state-of-the-art” outdoor gorilla habitat that will offer humans a “memorable up-close experience” is set to open this summer.

The 360,00-cubic-foot area features both real and fake trees, a waterfall and climbing vines, which will allow the gorillas to “traverse the space three dimensionally.” Visitors will be able to watch the gorillas interact from a central observational spot.

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“We are thrilled to open the new outdoor gorilla exhibit, which will be an enriching experience not just for the gorillas, but for our guests as well,” said John Linehan, Zoo New England president and CEO, in a statement. “We want to reach people through their hearts to build empathy for wildlife and habitats. As you observe the tender moments between a gorilla mom and her baby, or gorilla siblings playing together, you develop a better understanding of the family dynamics and social structure of these animals.”

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The outdoor gorilla exhibit coming to the Franklin Park Zoo (Image credit: Zoo New England)

Six gorillas live at Franklin Park Zoo including Pablo, who was born in October 2020. Zoo New England is part of the Gorilla Species Survival Plan for western gorillas, which are critically endangered in the wild.

The zoo says generous donors who want to remain anonymous made the exhibit possible.

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