GIBBON GLORY: The small apes of Southeast Asia are known for many fascinating traits and tendencies, but its the "song" they sing to each other that often gets the most notice. It's a profound and not-so-subtle form of communication, a way to let other members of their family group what's what (and staying abreast of "what's what" is everything in the animal world). It's that distinct song that often greets visitors at the Gibbon Conservation Center in Santa Clarita. Nope, the primates aren't necessarily welcoming tour groups -- they're hobnobbing with each other, not us humans -- but "(s)ome of the songs can be heard up to 2 miles away!" says the center site. So, yep: You'll hear some great gibbon vocalizing before you even see the first sweet face. Want to visit the center, which will mark its 35th anniversary next year? You can: The center is a sanctuary devoted to the "conservation, study, and care of gibbons through public education and habitat preservation." Meaning that tours are available, including a private tour with Obscura Society LA, which is set for Saturday, Aug. 10.
HABITS, FOOD, LIFE, LOVE: You'll get all of your gibbon-based inquiries answered in a Q&A with center volunteers, but first you'll take a private 90-minute tour at 11 a.m. There are over forty primates who call the center home. And this is interesting: They represent nearly a third of the "17 existing species" of the world. So you'll see a wide 'n wonderful representation of gibbonry.
TOUR COST: A ticket is $16.
SELF-GUIDED TOURS: The Gibbon Conservation Center offers self-guided tours from 9:30 a.m to noon on weekend days, with one guided tour at 10 a.m. Cost is ten bucks for adults. Fun fact: There is a place on the grounds for birthday parties, meaning that the gibbons' famous song could be your next celebratory serenade. Call it a marvelous weekend morning out and call it a way to help gibbons thrive. Oh, and on that last point, there are multiple ways to help the center out, from donations to volunteer time.