Drew Carney

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Oregon Zoo challenges kids to live chimply party

by Drew Carney


Posted on November 11, 2009 at 6:21 PM

Kids can swing from vines, soar through treetops and "live chimply" in the Chimpanzee Challenge maze at the Oregon Zoo.  The zoo‘s newest seasonal exhibit opens this Saturday, April 25th and runs through Sunday, September 20th.

The maze, geared for ages 2-12, allows kids to perform feats of apelike strength and agility while discovering the surprising similarities between humans and chimps.  General admission to the maze is $2.00, plus the price of zoo admission.  Members and school groups receive a $1.00 discount.

"Kids will be able to get a feel for what it’s like to be a chimpanzee," said Oregon Zoo Guest Services Manager Jim Gilbert. "They’ll ‘transform’ into a newborn and attempt to survive in the wild through adulthood, coming face-to-face with the sights, sounds and threats of their everyday life. We also want them to understand the role humans play and discover how each of us can improve the lives of chimpanzees."

Maze interactive features include a Knuckle-Walk, where kids can slip their hands into a set of long wooden arms and imitate the preferred mode of chimp locomotion; a Communication Station, featuring chimp vocalizations and an opportunity for participants to record and play back their imitations; and opportunities to test their strength as they swing, fly and hang at Brachiation Station, Vine Swing and Hangin’ With the Homeys stations.

Developed in collaboration with world-renowned primatologist Jane Goodall and the Jane Goodall Institute, Chimpanzee Challenge brings the plight of the chimps closer to home, empowering visitors to make a difference by joining a Roots & Shoots group.  Roots & Shoots engages and inspires youth through community service and service learning.  Information on local Roots & Shoots groups is available in the maze.

Chimpanzee Challenge is a creation of Minotaur Mazes, a Seattle-based company that travels around the world to create interactive and educational exhibits for adults and children alike.  With each new exhibit, the goal is to foster curiosity, empathy, personal and global responsibility.

More information about the Chimpanzee Challenge maze and general information about the Oregon Zoo is available at www.oregonzoo.org.