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The RainForest is open! Here are FIVE things you need to check out!
1. The largest beach ball in Ohio?
Well not exactly, but the new RainForest dome panel material is like a beach ball AND it keeps The RainForest as warm as the beach! We’ll take what we can get during Cleveland winters… The biggest project of 2020 was the replacement of The RainForest dome. Since 1992, the dome has been an iconic architectural display at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo as well as shelter above the home of 10,000 plants and 600 animals. Work is complete on this all-new dome featuring state-of-the-art technology to improve lighting, energy efficiency and animal habitats in The RainForest. The dome caging is steel and aluminum, but the panels in between each polygon outline seen on the caging is ETFE (Ethylene tetrafluoroethylene). This is a sand-based plastic material that is pliable - like a beach ball! ETFE is more sustainable and cost efficient than full steel or traditional roofing, and ETFE itself is 100% recycled material. Cleveland Metroparks Zoo is among only a handful of zoos in the United States that is using ETFE, it is more common in bigger zoos in Europe. The new dome also allowed for improved vertical climbing space for the orangutans. So head on over to The RainForest – flip flops are optional!
2. Jenna the binturong smells like popcorn.
Rumor has it that this furry bear-cat mammal smells like buttered popcorn. Unless you visited the Zoo in 2002, you may not have had the pleasure of getting a glimpse (or whiff) of a binturong, native to the forests of Southeast Asia. Look for Jenna on the second floor in the Researcher’s Hut. Read more about her prehensile tail, rotating ankles, and pee that smells like snack food here.
3. Heads up in the aviary!
No, really, the birds will be flying over your head, so keep an eye out for four new fantastically feathered friends. The aviary received a mini-makeover, plus the addition of Baltimore orioles, Blue-headed doves , Gold crested mynahs and a Red crested turaco. You’ll notice a new “catch cage” as well, which makes it easier for veterinarians to check up on the birds. So many great photo opportunities in this popular space on the second floor.
4. In Otter News
Our female Asian small-clawed otter, Bitzy, gave birth to two female otter pups, Munti and Magana, last fall. Listen closely because this social and raucous species has at least 12 distinct vocalizations that can communicate greetings, alarm, summons, and stress. They’re playful and super cute too!
5.Grab and Go food court
In order to keep guests safe and provide a quick snack during your visit to The RainForest, the café is also offering “grab and go” food options. Facial coverings and social distancing guidelines will be in effect along with sanitizer station throughout. This is a great opportunity to get out of the house and revisit your favorite animals, plus see some of the wonderful improvements and additions!
Please note: Due to increased demand, guests visiting The RainForest may need to wait outside. Wait times vary.