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Outdoor primate exhibit will debut July 12 at St. Louis Zoo

Outdoor primate exhibit will debut July 12 at St. Louis Zoo


An outdoor primate habitat at the St. Louis Zoo will open to visitors July 12, officials announced Wednesday.

They also announced the formal name for the new habitat: the Michael and Quirsis Riney Family Primate Canopy Trails, named for the family who gave “a meaningful leadership gift” toward the $13 million attraction. Many other donors contributed, including the Estate of Rudolph L. Wise and the Dana Brown Charitable Trust.

This animation, courtesy of the St. Louis Zoo, shows what the new Primate Canopy Trails attraction will look like. It will be built next to the Primate House and is scheduled to open in 2021.

The 35,000-square-foot Primate Canopy Trails has been under construction since 2019. It’s connected to the Primate House and provides eight new outdoor homes for primates. Visitors can climb up and among the primates in the trees with a series of climbing structures and boardwalks.

About 40 primates representing 14 species will use the habitat. The zoo’s Primate House was built in 1925 and has been renovated since then, but there were only a few outdoor habitats for some of the species. Many of the primates there had never lived under sunlight, listened to birds in the trees or felt a natural breeze.

“Being outside is critical for primates’ well-being, and this new habitat is a demonstration of the zoo’s commitment to providing quality animal care,” Heidi Hellmuth, curator of primates, said in a statement.

The new habitat also includes a private Primate Care Center. The Primate House remains open.

Primate Canopy Trails is free for guests to visit, but free, timed reservations are required for all zoo visitors during the pandemic. For more information, visit

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