Patti's 32nd Birthday Bash!

My favorite thing to see on the Chimps Inc’s Facebook page before my internship started was the chimps’ birthdays. I thought it was wonderful that the sanctuary put so much effort into making it a special day for all of the animals. Before I arrived here, I checked to see if any of the chimps had a birthday during my six week stay and sure enough, Patti would be celebrating hers, but it was also just a week before my own birthday! At that moment, I knew I had to sponsor her birthday party, so I asked friends and family if they would help me raise the $100 as a birthday present for myself, and within just a few days, I had reached my goal.

A few days before Patti’s party, I was able to go shopping with the sanctuary’s director for the chimps’ presents. We picked out items that we thought each chimp would enjoy. Herbie, for example, would have to get at least a few hats since he loves to show them off to everybody, and Emma, being the tidy chimp that she is, needed some stylish cleaning supplies (she loves using sponges on the playhouse’s windows!).

On Thursday, the birthday girl slept in which gave us some extra time to make the enclosures extra exciting. Herbie, Jackson, and CJ were the first to enjoy all of the stuff we had put out including gift bags, streamers, a bunch of toys, and a TON of decorations, including an adorable blue dinosaur piñata. As soon as the chimps came out, Jackson swung up to the rope that the piñata was hanging on and ripped it off and sat down. He immediately decapitated the poor dinosaur in order to find the yummy treats inside: popcorn, peanuts, teddy grams, and liquorice pieces. Even with the head missing, he continued to struggle to get the candy so he ended up ripping two of the legs off and part of the stomach. Herbie showed no interest in the treats but he did seem to enjoy hitting the dinosaur head around. All the while, CJ just laid on one of the platforms peacefully enjoying the presents she had found.

Next up, it was Patti’s group (Patti, Topo, Thiele, and Emma). Emma scurried through the tunnels, excited to see what the big outdoor enclosure had to offer, Thiele followed (although quite slower), and then the birthday girl made her first appearance of the day; and as soon as she was half way through the tunnel she began loudly pant hooting since she could tell it was a special day. Patti headed straight towards the outdoor area that had several picnic areas set up, which is one of Patti’s favorite spots to hang out. Emma joined her, while Thiele stayed inside the holding pen, waiting to open up all of the gifts. Once Patti had had some time to explore, we decided that it was present-opening time! Each of the chimps was given a gift bag full of their favorite toys. Patti’s bag had a flute, princess gear, teddy grams, fruit juice, a stuffed horse, and a baby bottle inside. As Patti often does, she went straight towards the food.

Back in Herbie’s group, I decided to give Jackson his last gift which was banana-scented bubbles. He loved them, and soon CJ wandered over to see what all the excitement was about. Jackson would randomly interrupt our bubble-blowing to engage in a game of chase. He would smile widely and start wiggling his head, signaling that he was ready for the game to start. We’d run back and forth but eventually he’d sit back down in the same spot to commence the bubbles again. By 1:00 it was nap time. I have never seen all of the chimps so tired before, especially so early in the day – obviously this morning was very fun for them.

After dinner, they were just starting to be their rowdy selves again, just in time for treats! And what birthday would be complete, without birthday cake? Her “chow cake”, which I had baked, was made with oatmeal, applesauce, and “primate chow”, with raspberry banana frosting, and grapes put on the top for decorations. And since it was her special day, Patti had some of her favorite candies, liquorice pieces, put on top. She gobbled it down almost immediately and proceeded to ask for another slice… which of course she got.

I can easily say that this was by far the best birthday gift I could have asked for, and I’m so happy that I was able to be a part of Patti’s big day!

Check out photos of Patti’s birthday party!

Find out how YOU can sponsor a chimp’s birthday party!


Kyra L., Intern