We’re exploring a home in north Georgia that I can almost promise is unlike any home you’ve been to before. It’s not a house – it’s not even a building – but it’s absolutely a sanctuary. Welcome to Project Chimps.
Located in the Blue Ridge Mountain town of Morganton, this 6-acre habitat is home to dozens of chimpanzees – all formerly used in laboratory research, and now enjoying a life of enrichment here at Project Chimps.
This place welcomed its first group of chimpanzees in 2016. Today they have more than 90 in residence and they’re gearing up for their next big effort to expand and ultimately house more than 200 of these amazing primates.
Project Chimps isn’t a zoo. They don’t welcome guests to see the chimps all day every day. But there are plenty of ways you can visit and support their mission. You can book private group tours. And the grounds themselves are indeed open and prime for great hiking opportunities – even if you’re not up close and personal with the residents. It’s a beautiful place to explore.
And guys, if you book your private tour, you can also upgrade to what they refer to as, “lunch launch”. You wear a mask and gloves for the safety of the chimps. And then, let ‘er rip!
We’re launching some amazing fresh produce and sending it down for discovery. Chimpanzees spend about 70% of their day in the wild foraging for food, so they try to mimic that in the sanctuary as best they can. And that’s not the only fun, interactive experience. You can also play music for the chimps.
All of this is designed to help these chimpanzees live their best life. The team here welcomes them in small groups and helps them form larger family groups. They provide toys and enrichments… a healthy diet – hey, I’m ready to move in.
And you can! Kind of. They have camping available here and even a 19th century cabin where you can fall asleep to the sounds of the jungle.