The Center for Great Apes is not open to the general public as an attraction or zoo. However, we do offer educational group tours for students and adults.
We also offer guided tours for our members at certain membership levels, as well as host periodic members-only events. People who join as a member of the Great Ape Hero Level (gift of $250 or more) can set up a private, guided tour for up to four family members.
All tours are limited to select days and times each week. Please call a member of the Donor Relations Team to inquire about tour availability.
Click Here for membership information.
Click Here for educational group tours.
There are educational tours available for school groups (middle school through college). College-level groups are asked to donate $15 per person. Junior high and high school students may tour the sanctuary for a donation of $10 per student or chaperone. Educational tours are limited to select days and times each week. Please schedule your tour with our office at least one month in advance.
In Wauchula, Florida just southwest of Orlando.
No, visitors are not allowed to touch the apes. Chimpanzees and orangutans are many times stronger than a human and could potentially be dangerous. The sanctuary’s trained caregivers never go into the habitats or night houses with the apes.* The orangutans and chimpanzees are shifted into another area on a daily basis for staff to clean their habitats, night houses, and chute systems.
* The sanctuary is home to several handicapped apes who need special care: Knuckles the chimpanzee and Allie the orangutan. Knuckles has cerebral palsy as well as a seizure disorder and he requires physical therapy and hands-on care. Allie has Chronic Inflammatory Demyelinating Polyneuropathy (CIDP) which has left her with the inability to use her legs or feet. Experienced caregivers help her to perform physical therapy exercises with the goal of improving her mobility.
We do not breed apes at the sanctuary. With a life expectancy of over 50 years in captivity, it would be irresponsible to intentionally breed great apes and add more individuals to a life of captivity when there are already so many in need of rescue.
None of the apes at the sanctuary are able to be released into the wild. They were all raised in captivity by humans and lack the basic survival skills that would have been taught to them by their chimpanzee or orangutan mothers in the wild. And unfortunately, the rainforests and wild habitats are rapidly disappearing due to the palm oil trade, logging, and mining. Therefore, we provide permanent lifetime care to all of the residents at the sanctuary.
The Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, receives no government funding, and relies solely on the generosity of its members, private donors, and grants from animal welfare foundations. Donations made to the sanctuary are tax deductible as provided by law.
You can help the sanctuary in many ways! It is expensive to care for over 50 orangutan and chimpanzee residents so monetary donations are always needed and appreciated. You could also support the sanctuary by volunteering, collecting wish list items, setting up and manning informational booths at local festivals or events. In addition, you could help by holding a fundraiser or spreading the word about the sanctuary and the important work we do.