Center for Great Apes Commemorates 30th Anniversary of Rescuing and Rehabilitating Orangutans and Chimpanzees

September 2023 – The Center for Great Apes, a sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees in need, celebrates a significant milestone as it observes its 30th anniversary. To mark the occasion, the Center for Great Apes will be hosting a series of educational programs, fundraising activities and art exhibits featuring portraits of and paintings by several of the great apes living at the sanctuary throughout October to December at Miami-based businesses including Books & Books, Tripping Animals Brewing Co., the Wirtz Gallery at the First National Bank of South Miami and Ghee Indian Kitchen.

To commemorate the 30th anniversary, the Center for Great Apes and Miami-based brewery, Tripping Animals Brewing Co., have come together to create three custom brews featuring artistically designed labels. The one-of-a-kind labels will showcase paintings created by the great apes living at the sanctuary, including chimpanzee Bubbles, once kept as a pet by “King of Pop” Michael Jackson, and orangutan Sandra, the first orangutan in the world to receive legal “non-human personhood” status in a Buenos Aires court of law. Each of the beers will be served at the events as well as being available for retail purchase in more than 20 states nationwide.

“We are thrilled to be celebrating our 30th anniversary. Over the years, we have witnessed the transformation of so many great apes who have come to our facility in dire need of care and rehabilitation,” said Patti Ragan, Founder and Director, Center for Great Apes. “There’s a story behind every one of these great apes and it’s our hope the portraits and paintings tell the story of the hard work, humanity and hope we’ve been able to provide these wonderful animals, while raising awareness about the exploitation and neglect many have experienced, and our efforts to protect them.”

Since its founding in 1993, the Center for Great Apes has been a sanctuary for more than 85 great apes rescued from laboratory research, the entertainment industry and the commercial pet trade so that they may live out their lives in a natural, peaceful and enriched environment. The Center for Great Apes is the only accredited orangutan sanctuary in the Americas and one of the few accredited true sanctuaries that provides a permanent home for chimpanzees.

Residents and visitors of Miami are welcome to attend one of the art exhibits and receptions and the fundraising dinner being held from October to December.

Art Exhibits and Receptions

  • October 6, 2023: 7:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m. at Books & Books in Coral Gables (265 Aragon Avenue)
  • November 10, 2023: 5:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Tripping Animals Brewing Co. in Doral (2685 NW105th Avenue)
  • December 7, 2023: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at Wirtz Gallery at First National Bank in South Miami(5750 Sunset Drive)

Fundraising Dinner

October 20, 2023: 6:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m. at Ghee Indian Kitchen in Miami (8965 SW 72nd Pl). The fundraising dinner will feature a tasting menu of more than 16 dishes served family style. Cost is $65 per person with a minimum of two participants, and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Center for Great Apes

Member Day

December 9, 2023: Members-only tour of the sanctuary in Wauchula, FL. Member Day is for all membership levels $75 and up. Great Ape Hero level ($350) may schedule a private tour in addition to Member Day. For more information on membership, visit

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About the Center for Great Apes

The Center for Great Apes is a sanctuary for orangutans and chimpanzees in need, providing a safe and enriching environment for apes who have been rescued from laboratory research, the entertainment industry, and the commercial pet trade. The facility’s mission is to rescue and rehabilitate these animals and to ensure that they are treated with respect and compassion. The center is located in Wauchula, Florida, and is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. For more information or to donate, visit

Center for Orangutan and Chimpanzee Conservation, Inc. dba Center for Great Apes is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, FEID 65-0444725.

© 2020 Center for Great Apes. All Rights Reserved.

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