Lincoln Park Zoo Regenstein Macaque Forest

Chicago, Illinois

The state-of-the-art home for snow monkeys, the Regenstein Macaque Forest, replicates the animals’ Japanese natural, forested, mountainside habitat. The 7,372 square-foot outdoor exhibit features an 850-gallon hot spring, 1,250 gallon flowing stream; three large climbing trees and several other live and artificial trees. The draped, stainless-steel, woven-wire, mesh enclosure is secured to the surrounding structures and provides additional space for the animals as well as transparency for viewing. To enhance the visitor experience, two sheltered viewing areas with glass windows measuring 48 feet across give the illusion of being in the exhibit with the monkeys.

In addition to the exhibit space, a 3,742-square-foot concrete holding facility to the west of the outdoor exhibit is buried under the exhibit landscape contours. An 800-square-foot event building is linked to the exhibit with public restrooms and a large glass wall in the multi-purpose meeting room to allow a separate close-up view of the Macaques. Green roofs are installed on compatible behind-the-scenes and event areas. These spaces also include recycled flooring in the meeting space and energy efficient LED lights throughout.

Adjacent to the exhibit, a new West Gate entrance to the zoo was designed and additional dining space providing tables and seating under a canopy of trees around Eadie Levy Café. In addition, the new Lionel Train Adventure includes a 28-passenger train that crosses over a country bridge, continuing onto a canyon and passes through a birch forest before returning to the red brick station.

Relationships That Last

With the completion of this project and two others lined up in the next year, Pepper will have completed nearly 600,000 square feet of work at Lincoln Park Zoo over our 20+ year relationship — almost 40 percent of the entire campus. Our staff on this project has been working with the zoo since 2002, a testament to our team’s commitment to being an extension of the zoo’s team.

Details Matter

When building an artificial habitat for a foreign animal, every detail matters. The team worked to create an environment similar to the Macaque’s native habitat in Japan, including artificial wood, sloped terrain and hot springs.

End-User in Mind

In addition to creating a habitat for the monkeys, the team constructed several structures that will be used by scientists and zoo patrons. A research area includes an indoor holding area and several observation points for scientists to document animal activity, and a special events area provides entertainment for large groups and features close-up views of the animals. Equipped with webcams, the exhibit combines cutting edge behavioral and cognitive research with educational interpretive learning programs, providing visitors a unique opportunity to observe primatologists interacting with the monkeys. It also features a researcher’s tunnel, nicknamed the “hobbit hole,” where researchers will conduct voluntary cognitive studies with the monkeys and observe the population as a whole.