- Associated Press - Friday, April 13, 2018

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - A northeast Indiana zoo’s capuchin monkey exhibit will close for about a year for renovations.

The Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo began more than 30 improvements worth about $7.1 million over the winter. Construction will still be in progress when the zoo opens for the season April 21.

The zoo will spend some of the funds to make the Monkey Island exhibit more visible. The exhibit has been relatively unchanged since 1965. Plans also feature constructing a new building to house the capuchin monkeys. Other monkey species won’t be affected by the work and will remain on display.

The monkey exhibit will reopen next year.

Other zoo upgrades include an expanded viewing area for the sea otter exhibit, new filtration tanks for sea lions and improvements to food areas for visitors. The otters will be housed in their old exhibit until the new space is ready, so visitors will still be able to see the animals.

“The monkeys will be happy, the otters will be happy, our guests will be happy and I’ll be happy,” said Jim Anderson, the zoo’s director.

Funds for the improvements came from donations, zoo revenue and endowment proceeds.

The projects are part of the zoo’s Journey to the Heart of the Zoo initiative, which aims to give visitors a better direct view of the animals when they first walk into the zoo, Anderson said.

More than 650,000 people visited the zoo last year, he said.

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