Vacation with the Chimps in Chimp Haven, Louisiana

Chimp Haven, the National Chimpanzee Sanctuary, is a non-profit facility in the U.S. providing a home for chimpanzees retired from laboratory research, formerly kept as pets, and used in entertainment.


If you love animals, you might try to squeeze in trips to local zoos when you travel. But another option to see and support the animals you love is to visit wildlife sanctuaries that emphasize education and conservation. While some sanctuaries aren’t open to the public, there are many others that welcome guests. These are some of the best animal sanctuaries that you can visit in the U.S.

Located just southwest of Shreveport, Louisiana, Chimp Haven is dedicated to the care of chimpanzees, many of which that have been used for research. The facility is located on 200 acres of forested land and has about 50 people on staff to help care for around 300 chimpanzees. The chimps have lots of room to make sleeping nests, climb trees, and play on large structures. You can visit Chimp Haven on Chimpanzee Discovery Days, which happen about three times per year.


The admission fee is $10 for adults, $5 for children ages six to 12, and free for kids under five years old. These events typically run from 9am to noon. Chip Chat & Chew Events give visitors a more intimate look into the chimps’ lives and includes breakfast or lunch. These popular events are $50 for adults and $25 for children.

Chimpanzee Discovery Day events are designed to offer the public an opportunity to visit the Chimp Haven sanctuary, which is not normally open to the public. 2015 Chimpanzee Discovery Days Dates are March 21, April 18, May 16, June 20, October 17 and November 21.

Discovery Days are held from 9 a.m. to noon except for festival events, which are held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Festivals will be held on April 18 and October 17. Admission prices are $6 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for children ages 5 and under.

“This year’s Discovery Day events and festivals promise to be exciting and fun for the entire family,” Chimp Haven President and CEO Cathy Willis Spraetz said. “As we celebrate the 20th year of our founding, we invite the public to visit the sanctuary to see its remarkable work and growth.”

Guests are encouraged to bring a contribution for the chimpanzees. Among the items needed are fresh or canned fruits and vegetables, unshelled nuts, peanut butter, sugar-free cereals, pretzels, sugar-free gelatin, pudding mixes, juice, syrup and Flintstones multivitamins.

Visitors, separated by a water moat from Chimp Haven’s residents, are able to view more than 50 chimpanzees, including seven youngsters, in natural wooded habitats.

Staff members are available as interpreters to help guests identify the chimpanzees and their behaviors as they forage for food and interact with one another. Other activities during Chimpanzee Discovery Days are:

Creative Station – Children are invited to make and take home a craft highlighting the theme for the event as a souvenir.

Enrichment Station – Discover what enrichment means for a chimpanzee. Enrichment could be in the form of a novel fruit or something more unique like the rhythms of an African drum group. Individuals can help staff and volunteers make the day’s enrichment.

Greenhouse Exhibit – Learn about Chimp Haven’s sustainability efforts and the chimpanzee diet by taking a tour of the sanctuary’s greenhouse.

Behind-the-Scenes Hayride – Explore Chimp Haven on a 30-minute, staff-led tour.

The tour offers two in-depth demonstrations and presentations and allows riders to see parts of the sanctuary that normally are not open to the public. Cost to take part in the tour is $10 for adults and $5 for children.

Following Chimpanzee Discovery Days, visitors are invited to attend Chimp Chat and Chew. This event includes lunch, a behind-the-scenes tour of the sanctuary and a presentation by a staff member.

The 2021 Chimp Chat and Chew dates are May 16, June 20, September 19 and November 21, beginning at noon. Prices are $50 for adults and $25 for children. Reservations are required.

To RSVP for Chimp Chat and Chew or for sanctuary directions, call (318) 925-9575. For more information on Chimp Haven, please visit For more information on things to do in Shreveport-Bossier, visit




Cherry Blossom

Birthday: 3/2/1993 | Member of Slim’s Family

We love a strong, bossy lady, and Cherry Blossom is one of the best. She uses her big, boisterous personality to live life to the fullest. Food is one of her great passions in life, and she always makes sure she gets the bananas she’s entitled to.

Jeff Lebowski

Birth Month: September

Jeff Lebowski is known around the sanctuary for his handsome good looks. Since arriving at Chimp Haven in 2014, he’s charmed staff and chimps alike with his funny, laid-back personality. He tends to move around friend groups, hanging out with whoever seems to need a pal that day.


Birth Month: October

If Mason had a nickname, it would probably be “squirrel.” He’s always on the move but is easily distracted by the opportunity to prank someone – human or chimp. His most distinguishing feature (his solid light brown face) has darkened with age, but it doesn’t take too long to recognize him: he’s the guy who’s always looking for a good time.


Birth Month: November

Flora was named “Chimp You’d Most like to Have as a Mom” and it’s no mystery why: She’s a wonderful, nurturing mother and group mate. She’s very in-tune with her daughter, Valentina Rose, and never likes to be too far away from her. She’s attentive, smart, and a great teacher during enrichment, but she’s also quick to discipline when Rosie gets out of line!


Birth Month: May

Flora was named “Chimp You’d Most like to Have as a Mom” and it’s no mystery why: She’s a wonderful, nurturing mother and group mate. She’s very in-tune with her daughter, Valentina Rose, and never likes to be too far away from her. She’s attentive, smart, and a great teacher during enrichment, but she’s also quick to discipline when Rosie gets out of line!

Cherry Blossom

Birth Month: March

We love a strong, bossy lady, and Cherry Blossom is one of the best. She uses her big, boisterous personality to live life to the fullest. Food is one of her great passions in life, and she always makes sure she gets the bananas she’s entitled to.

Visiting Chimp Haven

As a sanctuary, Chimp Haven is primarily focused on providing an enriching life at sanctuary for the chimps, therefore we are not open to the public year-round. However, throughout the year, Chimp Haven holds special events and opportunities for visitors to experience the sanctuary.

Learn more below and plan your visit today!


Chimpanzee Discovery Days


Chimpanzee Discovery Days take place four Saturdays each year from 9 a.m. – noon

No need to RSVP in advance, but tickets may be purchased online

Accessible and fun for all ages!



Chimp Chat & Chew

Chimp Chat & Chew is a special tour for an exclusive group of chimp lovers, with a behind-the-scenes look at life at the sanctuary and in-depth conversation with the experts on the Chimp Haven staff.

Exclusive behind-the-scenes experience for ages 8+

Spots are limited and fill quickly, RSVP in advance!



Sanctuary Tours

Chimp Haven offers exclusive opportunities for private sanctuary tours on a limited basis throughout the year.

Tours are booked by request only

Brunch in the Wild

New for 2020, Brunch in the Wild is an unforgettable way to experience life at Chimp Haven.


In addition to behind-the-scenes sanctuary access, guests will enjoy a beautiful seated brunch with views of Chimp Haven’s forested habitats and the chimps who call them home.

Chimp Life Photography Experience

Join us for a one-of-a-kind photography experience at Chimp Haven’s beautiful 200-acre sanctuary!

This experience, led by Chimp Haven’s resident photographer, is open to professional and amateur photographers interested in photographing the chimps.


Birth Month: July

TJ is a sweet boy who loves a good game of chase. He’s also a master nest-builder, and especially likes using plastic toys to make himself a nice nest. He’s very fond of his caregivers, specifically the ones he knows well. If you’re new, TJ needs a little time to feel you out, and if you try to get familiar too quickly he’s been known to throw a little poo to let you know he’s not feeling it. (However, he’s very careful with his aim so as not to accidentally get anything on his friends!)


Birth Month: July

Rambunctious adolescent Onyx likes to act rough-and-tumble, but she’s also a total mama’s girl. She loves to play out in the rain (which makes her hair curl, so cute!), and likes even more to play pranks on her group (she once grabbed up a whole stack of fresh, dry blankets and took them all out in the rain!). Her brow ridge makes her look mischievous, but really she’s just a funny little sweetheart.


Birth Month: January

As Chimp Haven’s youngest resident, Carlee brings the fun wherever she goes. Her growing independence has her climbing up high in the trees and getting into new adventures every day. She has plenty of adolescent cousins to play with, but she still loves to spend lots of time with mom, Passion, and her favorite auntie, Sara Soda.


Birth Month: January

Ladybird retired to Chimp Haven in 2011 and is well-known for her sweet face and compassionate personality. A goofy smile from Ladybird could brighten anyone’s day! She and the other “golden oldies” in her group can often be found patrolling their habitat or exploring the forest.


Birth Month: January

Chimp Haven’s only former pet, Henry was found inside a garage where he had lived in deplorable conditions for 15 years, severely underweight and almost completely bald due to malnutrition. Today, he’s healthy and has overcome many of the struggles that came with transitioning from life as a pet to greater freedoms that Chimp Haven can provide. Not only has Henry adjusted well to living among other chimps, he’s flourished in his group with Donovan and other friends. He loves interacting with care staff, attempting (unsuccessfully) to gain Barbara’s affections, and rough-and-tumble play sessions with his boy pals.


Birth Month: January

Jacob is like the wise-cracking elder in his group of friends, and these days he’s soaking in all that life has to offer. He doesn’t get caught up in the latest batch of bananas. A nice warm bed, his favorite foods, and plenty of winks at the ladies next door are all he needs to be happy. He loves to climb up to the top of the play structures to enjoy grooming sessions and nice views with his groupmates, and he’s all all-around easygoing and loyal friend.

Valentina Rose

Birth Month: February

Valentina Rose brings a fun, playful personality to her group. She loves a good game of chase with Mason or Jimmy, and she’s a great tree climber. She usually grabs her morning produce and takes it straight up into the trees to eat. As she grows, her mom (Flora) still remains close by to keep a watchful eye.

Chimp Haven was founded in 1995 in order to respond to the need for long term chimpanzee care. The need for care extended to those chimpanzees no longer used in biomedical research, the entertainment industry or the pet trade.

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. In the 1980s the U.S. government launched an intensive breeding program. The resulting offspring were the intended research subjects for hepatitis and HIV studies; however, with new research models and developing technologies, the use of chimpanzees in human disease research declined in the 1990s.

In 2000, the CHIMP Act (Chimpanzee Health Improvement Maintenance Protection Act) was signed into law, establishing the Federal Sanctuary System. In that same year, The Parish of Caddo, Louisiana provided 200 acres of forested land, nestled in the Eddie D. Jones Nature Park, in which to build the sanctuary. Chimp Haven was awarded the federal contract to create a sanctuary where its residents could live in large social groups in spacious, outdoor habitats and where they could live out their lives in a setting that afforded them greater freedoms and self-determination.

In 2005, the first two chimpanzee residents, Rita and Teresa, came to live at Chimp Haven. In 2007, the Chimp Haven is Home Act was passed. This law closed a loophole in the CHIMP Act and prohibited chimpanzees retired from biomedical research to be returned to laboratories.

In a landmark decision on June 22, 2013, the National Institutes of Health announced that all but 50 federally owned chimpanzees were officially retired, paving the way for more than 300 additional chimpanzees to make their way to Chimp Haven in the future.


Currently there are 60 employees who are responsible for the overall care of the chimpanzees. The organization includes administrative support; husbandry and veterinary care; chimpanzee behavior, observational research and enrichment; education and facilities and grounds maintenance.

Since our inception, we have cared for more than 400 chimpanzees and are currently home to more than 300.


Birth Month: February

Shortly after boisterous Hugo was introduced to his social group, he began rising in the ranks. Despite being younger than the more established males, his confidence and poise helped him reach alpha status. Sometimes he likes to cause a ruckus, but his sheepish grin always gives away his playful intentions.


Birth Month: December

Akeem might look like a tough guy, but he’s really an easy going soul with a cool, collected temperament. He’s always there for your friends, and knows how to enjoy the little things in life: like a fresh delivery of his favorite fruits and his prized outdoor napping spot.


Birth Month: August

Taffy is a strong girl who’s not afraid to stand her ground around rough-and-tumble boys. She’s a great friend to her groupmates, but she can rival any chimp in the sass department. If a groupmate decides to show off with a loud display a little too closely? She might toss a plastic toy shovel at their head. But then she’ll invite some pals to go on a nice patrol walk.

Queenie B

Birth Month: August

Queenie B is known as the sanctuary’s “nosy neighbor.” She always knows what’s going on with everyone in her group. She’s a master at catching fruit, and often demands rather than ask when she sees a caregiver with goodies. She extends her arm high in the air, signaling she’s ready for them to throw her a treat. If she receives something she doesn’t like, she’ll let it sail right past her, or even catch it and throw it back!


Birth Month: April

The first time Hope was introduced to her new pals, it was clear she was going to be Miss Popularity, making friends quickly and putting the whole crew at ease. She’s also a bit of a ham and loves fishing for attention from the care staff. On a nice day, you can find Hope sunbathing on her favorite platform, forever “working on her tan.”


Birth Month: April

Sweet Marie is a loyal friend to the end – her caring nature has been known to win over chimps with a tough exterior. While she’s naturally a bit reserved, if someone is messing with her buddies they better watch out! When she’s not showering her besties with affection, Marie enjoys spending quiet time outside.


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