Lincoln Zoo's "Secret Jungle" exhibit opens to the public next week

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LINCOLN, Neb. (KOLN) - People who make their way to the Lincoln Children's Zoo will have so many new things to see thanks to a multi-million dollar renovation.

The Secret Jungle will open to the public on May 10. It's an interactive kids jungle experience with live monkeys. The zoo broke ground on the new exhibit two years ago, but it's been in the works for four years.

For years, families have wanted the Lincoln Children's Zoo to remain open year-round and now some of the areas within the zoo will be.

A new indoor animal and play area will be home to animal encounters and educational activities. It will be located in the historic Municipal Zoo building that was built in 1936. It later became the Ager Indoor Play Center, but that closed down and was gutted to create the Secret Jungle.

It will feature a climbing structure that will share a space with spider monkeys. Monkeys are returning to the building after more than 30 years.

The tree climber is for children of all ages, including adults. There will be lookout points to the ground for younger kids and ones higher for older ones to explore. The tree climber features 15,000 square feet of elevated platforms as well as the longest tornado slide in Lincoln.

"We are going to train kids on how to be monkeys," said John Chapo, CEO and Executive Director of The Lincoln Children's Zoo. He said kids will get to climb 24 feet up into the sky of the exhibit.

Chapo said kids will climb up to be with the monkeys. There is so much interaction, including sounds while climbing.

The exhibit will simulate a jungle like environment meant to be interactive so kids can climb all the way to the top with live monkeys.

Funding for this area is possible by Crete Carrier Cooperation along with a significant anonymous donation.

Again, the public can get a look at all the new things happening at the zoo on May 10 at 10 a.m.