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Great ape birthday was a smashing celebration!

Posted by: Kirsten Pisto, Communications

If you missed the Great Ape Senior Celebration on Saturday (or just want to relive the jubilee) check out a few of our favorite photos from the birthday festivities honoring orangutans, Chinta and Towan as well as gorillas, Pete and Nina.

Photo by Stan Milkowski/ Woodland Park Zoo

Twin orangutans Chinta and Towan celebrated their 47th birthday with special treats, birthday decorations and a whole lot of party guests! Born in 1968, the twins were the first born in a zoo. Towan is now the oldest male orangutan in North America.

Born at Woodland Park Zoo, the twin orangutans gained instant national celebrity status as the first-known twin orangutans born in a zoo. Photos of the pair in diapers appeared around the globe, including “Life” magazine. While other twins have since been born, twin orangutan births are still a rare occurrence.

A handful of fruit and a fistful of presents...what could be better? Photo by Stan Milkowski/ Woodland Park Zoo

Orangutans, Towan and Chinta, share their birth year with iconic gorillas, Pete and Nina, so we invited anyone born in 1968 to join the party free of admission.

The gorillas received some of their favorite treats, including forsythia flowers, boomer balls filled with peanuts and raisins, as well as brand new, cozy blankets.

Nina samples some birthday forsythia! Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.
Pete and Nina dive into a pile of boomer balls full of birthday treats such as raisins and peanuts. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.
Nina with her brand new blanket. Photo by Dennis Dow/Woodland Park Zoo.

The orangutans celebrated in style with not one, but two birthday cakes fit for orangutan twins! The cakes were specially made by the commissary staff and featured corn meal fruitcakes, frosted with yams and mashed potatoes. The feast didn't end there; lettuce, kale and all sorts of greens were hidden in wrapped boxes for the orangutans' big day. Party streamers decorated the Trail of Vines, Jell-O stars were stuck to the windows (and promptly licked off!), and party guests even sang "Happy Birthday" to the orangutans! People lined up from wall to wall to see the birthday twins unwrap their enrichment treats.

Streamers filled the Trail of Vines, photo by Stan Milkowski/Woodland Park Zoo.

Photo by Stan Milkowski/Woodland Park Zoo.

Partygoers signed giant birthday cards for the animals, chatted with keepers and learned all about the history of both gorillas and orangutans here at the zoo. A special drawing for a hand painted Towan original was won by a lucky guest from Redmond.

Like any good party, the majority of the activities were those of a gastronomical nature, but we don't think the birthday apes would have had it any other way!

Thank you for joining us at the Great Ape Senior Celebration, Seattle!

Guests of all ages signed the giant birthday cards, which now hang in the ape keepers' offices! Photo by Stan Milkowski/Woodland Park Zoo.
After a fruit and kale overload, Towan did what any good birthday boy would, and recovered under a blanket. Photo by Stan Milkowski/Woodland Park Zoo.
Pete and Nina Bronoske pose by their name twins! Photo courtesy of Nina Bronoske.
The Kirwan family even brought their own hand drawn cards! Photo courtesy of Kris Kirwan.


Ken Kirkpatrick said…
Made it to the party late, but saw the aftermath. Looked like they all had a blast and everyone was comfortably sleeping.
Beautiful day at the Zoo! Lots of happy people.

Thanks to all of the keepers who put the party on!

Ken and SaSa Kirkpatrick