Great Ape Getaway

Fall Means Pumpkins, Hayrides, Zydeco, and Chimps

At least it does at Louisiana's Chimp Haven, which opens its doors for its fall fest this weekend.

By John Nova Lomax October 16, 2013

Ah yes, it's fall. Leaves are changing (if you squint), a chill is in the air (kinda), and it's time to head into the wilds of north Louisiana and party with the rescue chimps.

Image: Chimp Haven

Seriously. You can do this.

This weekend Chimp Haven, America's foremost sanctuary for chimpanzees retired from biomedical research, saved from the entertainment industry or liberated from pet owners, is throwing open its doors for its annual Fall Festival. There will be the usual fall party attractions—hayrides, pumpkin patches, face-painting and the like—and a Louisiana twist in the zydeco band on stage, but there will also be the chance, if you arrive early to view one of two bands of these chimps, or shrewdnesses of apes, if you prefer, as they forage their custom-built loquat, fig, apple, pear and plum gardens. 

The fest starts at 9 p.m. with the first group of chimps released into their habitat 15 minutes later. The second group will be set free for the day at 9:30. Chimp Haven staff will also offer talks later in the day.

For Houston-area readers, a Friday overnight stay in the area (Chimp Haven is in Keithville, LA, about 25 miles south of Shreveport) is recommended, unless you are the type who likes to wake your whole family at four or five AM and pile them all in the car. (We recommend Jefferson and Uncertain, Texas, by the way. And pro tip! Drive slow in Corrigan, Texas.) 

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