West Palm Beach – On Thursday, December 16, 2021 at 10:30a.m., Lion Country Safari will celebrate its annual Christmas with the Chimps. During this event, Santa makes a special visit to the safari and his helpers deliver 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. 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.
For the 37th 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.
Chimpanzees, currently classified as endangered to critically endangered due to a population decrease across Africa, face a number of threats to their existence, including the deforestation and mining associated with coltan production. Coltan is a mineral mined by hand in the Democratic Republic of Congo and is used in phones, tablets, and other small electronics. In celebration of Christmas with the Chimps, Lion Country Safari has offered 4 complimentary event admissions to a member of the community who donated the most cell phones and small electronics. Lion Country Safari will see that these electronics are recycled so the coltan can be reused, thereby slowing the rate of deforestation of great ape habitat!
Lion Country Safari is Florida’s largest drive-through safari and is home to over 900 animals, including some of the world’s iconic species roaming wide open natural habitats in large herds. Lion Country Safari continuously strives to be a leader in animal care, conservation, and education to inspire people through connections with wildlife in a family-friendly environment. For more information, please call the main office at (561) 793-1084 or visit us online at www.lioncountrysafari.com.