Just a Three-Hour Drive From Houston, in Keithville, Louisiana, resides Chimp Haven, the nation's preeminent, 200-acre forested sanctuary that's home to hundreds of chimps retired from biomedical research, the entertainment industry, or freed from the pet trade. And this Saturday, November 17, the nonprofit will open its doors to the public from 9 a.m. to noon for a glimpse inside the world of chimpanzees.
Chimpanzee Discovery Day allows guests to interact with chimps, observe them from afar, take a behind-the-scenes tour of the growing compound, and learn about chimps's personalities and preferences, like what they eat, how vets care for them, and maybe even what they want for Christmas—it looks like Santa stops off here every year.
Chimp Haven opened in 1995, and is considered the foremost chimp sanctuary within our Federal Sanctuary System. Since 2015, when the National Institutes of Health announced it would phase out invasive research on chimps, more than 200 chimpanzees have made their way here and more than 200 are now awaiting arrival. And with that comes expansion—new veterinary suites, forested habitats and open-air enclosures are on the way to accommodate the growing numbers of rescued chimps.
Want to visit? Discovery Day runs from 9 a.m to noon on November 17. Adults, $10; kids (6 to 12) $5; kids (5 and under) free. Behind-the-scenes tours are available for $10 per person ($5 for kids). More Discovery Days are on the way in 2019, too: March 16, April 13, October 19, and November 16.
Chimp Haven, 13600 Chimpanzee Place, Keithville (22 miles southwest of Shreveport). More info at chimphaven.org.