It’s Monday, so I know you are already itching for a weekend adventure. For our June issue, we came up with 10 unique options within a short drive from Dallas. One is the incredible Center for Animal Research and Education in Bridgeport, where you can sleep in a safari-themed suite while listening to the soothing sounds of lions, tigers, and lemurs below. The only downside is that the price of a stay—a worthwhile donation of $1,000 to support the organization’s rescue mission—may place it beyond reach for some. A more affordable option is only a 3-hour drive away. Chimp Haven in Keithville, Louisiana, which recently became the world’s largest chimpanzee sanctuary, is opening to the public for a few select days this fall.
From the press release:
On Oct. 20 and Nov. 17, 2018, visitors are invited to observe the chimpanzees as they interact and play in lush outdoor habitats, discover the natural wonders nestled in the forested oasis, and take a behind-the-scenes tour of the growing facility. Staff members will be there to lead educational talks and answer questions about the chimpanzees, their personalities and preferences, what they eat and how the veterinarians provide each individual personalized veterinary care.
Chimpanzees were once widely used for biomedical research studies. In 2000, President Bill Clinton signed the Chimpanzee Health Improvement Maintenance Protection Act into law to create a pathway to sanctuary retirement for government-owned chimps. The nonprofit chimpanzee sanctuary Chimp Haven was selected as the national sanctuary for retired research chimps. In 2015, the National Institutes of Health announced a landmark decision to phase out invasive research on chimpanzees. Since that time, more than 200 chimpanzees have made their way to sanctuary, with more than 200 awaiting transition.
Today, the sanctuary, located 30 miles southwest of Shreveport, Louisiana, is in the process of moving chimpanzees from research facilities in New Mexico and Texas to their new home at Chimp Haven. The sanctuary is expanding, building more veterinary suites and forested habitats and open-air enclosures to comfortably accommodate more retiring chimpanzees in the years ahead.
Fall 2018 Chimpanzee Discovery Days are Oct. 20 and Nov. 17 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Entrance fees for Chimpanzee Discovery Days are $10 for adults; $5 for children ages 6 to 12; and free for children 5 years and younger. Guests can also purchase tickets for behind-the-scenes tours, which are priced at $10 for adults and $5 for children. To learn more about Chimpanzee Discovery Days and plan your visit, please go here.