Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, will host public their Fall Festival event featuring live music, educational programs and more on Saturday, Oct. 11th. And, of course, the chimps will be there.
During the normal Discovery Days visitors have the chance to watch the chimpanzees in their natural, forested habitats; talk to staff about their unique personalities and natural behavior; and discover the wonders hidden on the nature trail. But for their fall festival, even more is going on.
The festival will have a carnival flare with games and foods, local band, Cajun-Dixon Line, cake walks, a string maze, face painting, chimpanzee story time, behind-the-scenes tours and opportunities to observe the resident chimpanzees. In addition to fun activities, children are invited to come dressed in their best Halloween costume to enter the Chimp Haven Halloween costume contest for a fantastic prize.
Sanctuary visitors are also encouraged to bring jars of peanut butter for the chimpanzees. The individual who brings the most peanut butter will win a prize package that includes a behind-the-scenes tour.
“We are excited to offer Fall Festival 2014 to the Caddo Parish community and surrounding areas,” Chimp Haven President and CEO Cathy Willis Spraetz said. “We thank our generous sponsors and volunteers for making this event possible; and we invite all to attend to not only have fun, but more importantly, to see this great sanctuary and learn the importance of its mission.”
Come early for the best chance to see the release of the chimpanzees. The Festival takes place rain or shine, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Admission prices are: Adults – $6, Children (6-12) – $3 and Children (5 and under) – free.
Founded in 1995, Chimp Haven is a sanctuary for chimps retired from federally funded research programs. Genetically, chimpanzees are more closely related to humans than any other species. Because of their physiological and behavioral similarities, chimpanzees have been an attractive animal model for many researchers. With new research models and technologies, the use of chimpanzees in human disease research declined in the 1990s. A large number of chimpanzees specifically bred for research or already exposed to infectious diseases are no longer wanted, resulting in a surplus of chimpanzees. Further, changes in public opinion began to question the need to use this intelligent species for medical and psychological studies, created more support for Chimp Haven as a home.
Located just outside of Shreveport Louisiana the mission of Chimp Haven is to provide humane care for chimpanzees that have been used for biomedical research, or other purposes in a large, enriched environment. As part of that mission, Chimp Haven educates the public about the needs of these nonhuman primates, and the needs for conservation in the wild and protection in captivity.