Apes are Great Activities

Go Ape! with these pages
The Orangutan Learning Tree Project
Primate Research
The Great Ape Heart Project
Cell recycling program
Gorilla Field Conservationin Central Africa
Orangutan Conservation Education Center
As the home of the nation’s largest collections of gorillas and orangutans, Zoo Atlanta supports great apes by conducting scientific research at Zoo Atlanta and in the wild; spearheading the Great Ape Heart Project nationwide; and housing the headquarters of Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International.

In 2013, we are celebrating the 25th anniversary of the opening of The Ford African Rain Forest and Willie B.’s first foray into a naturalistic habitat. Zoo Atlanta has evolved tremendously since its founding more than 120 years ago, and we’re celebrating our success in creating healthy, safe and engaging homes for our animals. Engage children in learning more about great apes and joining us in protecting them by utilizing the activities and resources below.

Year of the Ape activities (PDFs)

Reading list

Early Learning: Me… Jane by Patrick McDonnell
K-1: Little Bobo by Serena Romanelli and Hans de Beer
2-3: Koko’s Kitten by Dr. Francine Patterson
4-5: The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
6-8: Search for the Mountain Gorillas (Choose Your Own Adventure Series #25) by Jim Wallace
9-12: A Dark Place in the Jungle: Following Leakey's Last Angel into Borneo by Linda Spalding

Class Contest — Action Prevents Extinction (A.P.E.)
Get involved in the A.P.E Contest to raise awareness about critically endangered orangutans. These amazing great apes are found only in the rainforests of Indonesia, and the production of palm oil is currently the largest threat to their survival.

Your assignment: Research how the harvesting of palm oil is affecting wild orangutan populations and develop a public awareness campaign to change people’s consumer behaviors to reduce the impact of this threat. Include at least one specific conservation action. Submissions will be judged upon clarity of message and creativity. Entries must be postmarked by December 31, 2012 and all submissions become property of Zoo Atlanta.

Possible formats are a display board, skit or play, class poster, story board, game, mural, short video (up to 2 minutes) or public service announcement (PSA). Post videos to and email link to

Congratulations to our winners!

1st place - Brandon Hall Middle School

2nd place - Glennwood Elementary School

3rd place - Brandon Hall Middle School


  • 1st place - ZooMobile visit to your school (up to 30 people, within 65 mile radius of the Zoo)
  • 2rd place – Private Google Hangout with a Zoo Atlanta orangutan expert (technical requirements)
  • 3rd place - Rare Care Advocate orangutan sponsorship (school group benefits apply)