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Monkeying Around on National Monkey Day

National Monkey Day

National Monkey Day

We suppose you can chalk up what we celebrate on December 14 as the result of two students at Michigan State University “monkeying around.” In fact, Casey Sorrow and Eric Milliken, both art students at Michigan State, originated National Monkey Day when one wrote “Monkey Day” on the other’s calendar way back in 2000. And here we are 23 years later paying homage to “all things simian.” If you’re camping with us near these primate party places, aka, the zoo, check them out.  

The Dallas Zoo

The Dallas Zoo in Texas is notable for its primate residents, and most notably, the Chimpanzee Forest, a 19,000 square-foot habitat that is complete with a waterfall, stream, climbing structures, rocks, and trees. Other monkeys found here include white-cheeked gibbons, gorillas, and mona monkeys. The Dallas Zoo is open 364 days a year (closed on Christmas) and is a little over an hour’s drive from our Dallas area campgrounds which include Bay Landing, Lake Tawakoni, Lake Texoma, and Lake Whitney.  

Lake Tawakoni
Lake Texoma

More monkey fun with chimpanzees can be found at the Oakland Zoo in California. Book a camping stay at San Francisco RV and swing on over to the zoo which is a bit over 30 miles from the campground. Check out the Tropical Rainforest at the zoo, which separates mankind from monkeykind by river – no walls, wires, or windows, but instead visitors can view the chimps in a naturalistic habitat. The Tropical Rainforest also includes siamangs, cotton-top tamarins, and white-handed gibbons, which welcomed a new baby to the crew last May. 

San Francisco RV

To check out the largest living primates, gorillas, head to Zoo Miami and see a pair of western lowland gorillas, who happen to be brothers named Barney and Shango. Other species of primates found here are the Bornean orangutan, black howlers, and black-handed spider monkeys. Book a stay at Miami Everglades and a Zoo Miami adventure is less than 20 miles away. On select nights through December 30, the zoo will celebrate Zoo Lights, which will feature a million dazzling lights and other holiday fun. For info, check out

The chimpanzees and orangutans at the Oregon Zoo got a new home a few years back and it’s a big hit. The Primate Forest opened in 2021 and the inhabitants are finding it to be a swinging good time. Boulders, logs, a waterfall and a stream are popular in the space and there’s even a simulated termite mound to encourage the primates’ natural behavior of foraging. Two floor-to-ceiling climbing structures also get plenty of attention. The Oregon Zoo is less than 20 miles from Portland-Fairview RV. For details and information on the zoo’s hours and the special Zoo Lights event that runs through January 7, visit 

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