Tarpon Springs, Florida: Suncoast Primate Sanctuary (Chimp Farm)
Formerly known as Noell's Ark and then Mae Noell's Chimp Farm, and still a retirement home for gorillas, orangutans and chimps. Roadsideamerica.com Report...
Visitor Tips and News About Suncoast Primate Sanctuary (Chimp Farm)
In the 1960s my best friend lived a block away from the Chimp Farm. Nights were full of chimp and gorilla sounds -- pretty cool for a kid who loved Tarzan. The Pinellas trail goes behind it and is a great way to bike there now.[Robert Seidler, 04/09/2011]
I started going to the Chimp Farm in the summer of 1978, and went there every Sunday for 2 years to feed the primates. I'd bring bananas to the chimps and gorillas; Otto was my favorite. I would stand and talk to him for an hour or so then say goodbye till next week. I moved away in 1980 and hadn't seen him in about 20 or so years when I went back to the Chimp Farm in 2002; I was wondering if he would recognize me.
I used to call Otto "Donut Nose" because his nose looked like a big donut. So when I returned in 2002 I called out "Hey Donut Nose." He heard me -- he came over to the front of cage and looked deep into my eyes, as if to say where have you been. One of the caretakers came over and asked me who I was because she had never seen Otto do that before.
I just heard that Otto passed away last year; I miss him.[Skip Carastro, 07/16/2009]
Suncoast Primate Sanctuary - This is the home of chimps, orangutans, exotic birds and other unwanted. They have done a great job in remodeling, and the tour is complete, and you can ask as many questions as you'd like. It is formerly known as Noah's Ark and that name is just about right. The visit was educational and they are trying to raise funds to build a museum.
Otto, the silver back Gorilla from the Samsonite commercials made this his home and just passed away recently. This tour is a "to do" again on my list as they constantly are receiving new primates to care for.[Netti, 03/01/2009]
Hooray Hooray . The Chimp Farm has reopened. I went to visit Tarpon Springs and went to the Chimp Farm to see if I could talk my way in. Out front there was a sign on just a piece of paper that said open. It was $10 to get in and $1 for a little bucket of food. The teenage volunteer said that Aug 30th, 2008 was their grand opening.
The Chimp Farm has changed a lot. Otto the big gorilla died of old age last year. They are concentrating on the Primate Sanctuary angle rather than the rest home for unemployable fighting gorillas and chimps.
Some of the old-timer Chimps are still there, in new, bright and shiny cages. The cell blocks are gone.
They have a baby chimp, Bobby, that is in Otto's old cage and he is always entertaining. They have added smaller primates also like capuccin and spider monkeys.
A solution for bad mannered Chimps was to put the ppitters and poop-flingers just out of range. The animals seem much happier and don't look like they want to trick you anymore.
This piece of Florida Roadside History breathes again.[Erick Erickson, 08/31/2008]