Written by Joel Feller and Erika Price
Several of us interns got together for an enrichment meeting after our weekly safety meeting on Monday and realized we had an exciting advanced enrichment day coming up: Prom Troglodytes! We decided on a ’80s theme – because everyone knows a good dance needs a good theme – and promptly got to work on making enrichment. Nichole and Erika painted a big “PROM 2013” banner while Lizz and Joel made a floral centerpiece out of cardboard, construction paper, and tissue paper. Other interns came together to help and made garlands, a photo backdrop, crowns, sashes, and more.
Throughout the week, Susie and Erika outfitted Tatu and Loulis’ Barbie, Ken, and baby dolls in handmade fancy prom clothes, complete with makeup and hairdos. Erika sought out all the high heels, fancy dresses, pretty fabric, and cute purses in the enrichment room. Joel even went to the dollar store to get a tiara, streamers, and little tuxedo-patterned gift boxes to fill with treats!
All of us came together on Thursday morning to help set up, and we had a lot of fun arranging everything just so. To add on to the special day, Erika filled buckets with water, dyed them pink, and garnished them with orange slices to create the extra-healthy chimpanzee version of punch! We could tell Loulis and Tatu were excited due to their eager food grunts during setup, and their support gave us confidence. Tatu was even noticed to sign “BLACK” to herself, which was a high compliment and great affirmation that she approved of our somewhat silly decorations and was excited to explore them.
Upon entering Prom Troglodytes, Tatu and Loulis both made their first stop at the punch. After drinking their fill, they moved on to explore the food puzzles and treats hidden throughout the room. Amidst all the excitement and fun in the mid-afternoon, Tatu and Loulis decided that a nap was in order. Afterwards, when they were both well rested, an afternoon Chimposium group came through to visit them! Tatu and Loulis were both excited to see the new strangers, who they continuously signed about. Loulis was interested in the group’s shoes, as usual. Tatu was especially fond of the black leather jacket a girl in the group was wearing, about which Tatu kept signing “BLACK YOU GIMME.” At the end, Loulis continued to rummage throughout the enrichment to see if any treats were passed over. Prom Troglodytes was proof that advanced enrichment days are an exciting and fun change of pace for interns and chimpanzees alike.
Prom Troglodytes right after the interns finished!
Tatu found a food puzzle, which only took her a moment to open and retrieve the treat inside!
Loulis using the ladle to enjoy some great chimpanzee punch!