West Palm Beach – On Thursday, December 20, 2018 at 10:30a.m., Lion Country Safari will celebrate its annual Christmas with the Chimps. During this event, Santa delivers presents by boat to the park’s chimpanzees. It’s the only event of the year where guests are permitted out of their vehicles in the final section of the preserve to join in the festivities.
Now, for the 34th year, Santa Claus has taken a hiatus from the North Pole to deliver gifts including edible treats, stuffed animals, clothes and enrichment-themed activities to the chimps. “Our chimpanzee residents really look forward to our annual Christmas with the Chimps event. They know that Santa and our Lion Country Safari guests will be visiting them when they see us start to set up Observation Island the day prior to the event, and they get so excited! We know that they’re really happy because chimpanzees express their emotions in a variety of ways—happiness, for example, is often conveyed through smiles, enthusiastic hugs, and loud vocalizations called ‘pant hoots.’ You’ll see plenty of these natural chimpanzee behaviors during our annual Christmas with the Chimps event, so come out and visit us on safari!,” says Curator of Conservation, Research, and Chimpanzees Dr. Tina Cloutier Barbour. Over the 34 years, it has developed into a community event and will again feature the Cypress Trails Elementary School’s “Singing Lions” chorus.
The presents are provided and wrapped by ChimpanZoo volunteers, staff at Lion Country Safari as well as some local Palm Beach County Elementary School classes. ChimpanZoo is a program developed by renowned chimpanzee expert Jane Goodall for the research, enrichment and public education of chimpanzees in human care. More information here: http://www.janegoodall.org/.
Christmas with The Chimps is open to the public and is included with paid admission. Guests should arrive by 9:30a.m. to allow travel time to the chimp islands, located in the final section of the drive-through preserve.