MELBOURNE, Fla. - The Brevard Zoo in Melbourne is expanding, and officials said it’s the biggest expansion in its 25-year history.
Channel 9 reporter Jeff Deal got a sneak peek inside the upcoming “Rainforest Revealed,” where crews are working to recreate the South American rain forest in Central Florida.
Zoo officials said Florida has the perfect climate for the recreation, which will include animals that haven't been featured at the zoo.
"Because of our climate, we can do something no one else can really do, and that is we can have a living breathing rain forest here," Brevard zoo executive director Keith Winsten said.
Large otters that can grow up to 6 feet long will be featured, and for the first time, the zoo will feature venomous snakes inside a venomous reptile building, officials said.
The zoo will also feature "River Monsters," which include large fish, as heavy as 400 lbs., caimans and freshwater stingrays.
The expansion will also include three new housing areas for the spider monkeys that have overhead connecting tunnels called “sky trails,” which allow the monkeys to move back and forth and hang in different social groups, just like they do in the wild.
“Spider monkeys are really social primates. They're the only monkey we know that lives in social groups, much like people,” Winsten said. “It’s called fission fusion: They get together for bigger groups and then break apart like we do for Thanksgiving.”
Zoo officials said they have been working on the $4.4 million project for four years.
“All of the environment is hand-carved and handcrafted to create an authentic and unique environment for this zoo and these animals,” Melissa Ruminot-Nassal, with the Brevard Zoo, said.
The expansion area is expected to open Nov. 16.
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