Winding through a lush tropical landscape almost indistinguishable from true jungle, La Selva has remained a “must-see” for our guests since it opened with the Zoo in 1994. Its majestic jaguars, playful monkeys and chattering parrots represent the splendid diversity of life found within the rainforests of Latin America—and inspire Zoo visitors to protect this critical ecosystem.
After 25 years of faithful service, it’s time to give this treasured section of the Zoo the makeover it deserves. Using the latest science, conducted both at animal care facilities and in the wild, we can promise that Rainforest Revealed will forever transform the Zoo as you know it.
One of the first exhibits you’ll encounter is the venomous snake building. Home to beautiful bushmasters, eyelash vipers, dart frogs and more, this space features walls and a ceiling made of glass intended to (safely) immerse you and your family in the world of these oft-misunderstood creatures.
You’ll soon notice a complex network of overhead tunnels—called “sky trails”—similar to the jaguar bridge that was built in 2016, designed to give monkeys and other arboreal animals the opportunity to explore new spaces, see new sights and sniff new smells.
In the rainforest, spider monkeys live in fission-fusion societies—meaning smaller groups may split off from the larger troop for hours or days at a time. We’re adding two new living areas connected by sky trails that will accommodate the expression of this natural social dynamic.
Much of this particular design was informed by our research partnership with Dr. Darby Proctor and Florida Institute of Technology. This expanded habitat features a “cognition center” where Dr. Proctor and her students can demonstrate the voluntary behavioral research they conduct at the Zoo.
See the rainforest from above—and get eye-to-eye with tree-dwelling animals—by ascending to an elevated walkway. A lift ensures guests of all ages and abilities can enjoy this unique perspective.
The smallest animal of Rainforest Revealed may have the biggest impact on you. The red siskin is an endangered, strikingly plumaged finch native to Colombia and Venezuela currently displayed at no other zoo in the country—a fact we hope will change if our breeding efforts are successful. Learn about the threats facing the red siskin and how the choices you make at the grocery store could save their lives.
The climax of Rainforest Revealed is the Flooded Forest. This massive complex highlights the importance of water to Latin American ecosystems and draws parallels from the Amazon River to the Indian River Lagoon.
A family of giant otters—the largest otter species in the world—frolic in, above and around the water. Known for their tight social bonds, distinct throat markings and otter-ly adorable behavior, these cuties just might become your new favorites.
The Amazon River is renowned for its extreme variety of fishes, and new species are discovered there every year. Marvel at the mighty arapaima (capable of exceeding 400 pounds in weight), freshwater stingrays and dwarf caimans (small relatives of the crocodiles) in a 5,300-gallon tank complete with 26 horizontal feet of underwater viewing.
Across the way, peer into a 4,000-square-foot, 20-foot-tall, aviary-like structure housing free-flying macaws, roseate spoonbills, Orinoco geese and other colorful rainforest birds. Some of the monkeys will have access to this space via sky trail, and ground-level passages will connect to brand-new, open-air habitats for tapirs, capybaras and giant anteaters.
So when will you and your family be able to experience this amazing new exhibit? Sooner than you might think! La Selva will close completely in late summer and Rainforest Revealed will open its gates around Thanksgiving. Be sure to follow us on social media for the latest updates!
Construction is already well underway, but we still have a lot of work ahead of us. If you’d like to help make this project a reality, contact individual giving manager Tracy Steele at firstname.lastname@example.org or 321-254-9453, ext. 234.