One last chance to see Chimp Haven for year

The public has one more chance this year to visit Chimp Haven, the chimpanzee retirement sanctuary in Keithville, near Shreveport.

The final Chimpanzee Discovery Day for 2013 is 9 a.m. to noon Saturday.

The family-friendly event allows visitors inside the facility to safely see the chimps up-close, including recently acquired animals from the New Iberia Research Center. Within the chimps’ natural, forested habitats, visitors will also be able to talk to staff about the primates’ personalities and natural behavior, and walk the nature trail.

Admission is 13 years and above, $6; children 6-12 years, $3; and children 5 and under, free.

For details and directions, visit chimphaven.org.

Minden to celebrate Fasching

Call it Mardi Gras, Minden style.

The town will celebrate all things German on Saturday at its Fasching Fifth Season Celebration.

“Fasching” or the “Fifth Season” is the German equivalent of Mardi Gras.

The original brick-paved streets of the historic downtown will feature German food, a beer garden and brew pub, customs and costumes. There will be live music from two stages throughout the day as well as inside the beer garden.

The band EuroFest from San Antonio will provide a little “Oom Pah Pah,” and there will also be local acoustic performers and the swamp blues of Professor Pork Chop and the Dirty Dishes.

Local and regional artists and artisans will be selling their work, as will merchants in a section just for specialty boutiques.

Weihnachtsmann, whom many know as Santa Claus, will be there, along with clowns, a carnival, and special events throughout the weekend designed especially for children.

At the end of the day, the celebration concludes with a grand fireworks finale and kicks off Louisiana’s Holiday Trail of Lights when the city flips the switch to illuminate thousands of Christmas lights and more than 100 life size nutcrackers.

In 1835, Charles Veeder built an inn on a hilltop a few miles from Bayou Dorcheat. By 1837, he had laid out a town and named the settlement Minden, after the home of his ancestors in Germany, a news release said.

A year before Veeder arrived, a group of German Utopians, who had followed the mystic “Count Leon” to North America, established a settlement seven miles northeast of Minden.

Minden is 28 miles east of Shreveport on I-20, exit 47. For more details, go to mindenfasching.com.

Carnival partners with Saints

Carnival Cruise Lines, which operates several ships out of New Orleans, is now an o fficial cruise partner of the New Orleans Saints and its first-ever partnership with an NFL franchise.

Carnival, which has a nearly 20-year relationship with the city, will create in-stadium festivities, social media activities, prize promotions and more for Saints fans, a news release said.

Through Wednesday, the Carnival Cruise to the Game with Your Krewe Sweepstakes will offer fans the chance to win prizes including game tickets and autographed New Orleans Saints merchandise through its Facebook page, facebook.com/carnival.

Coinciding with the Nov. 17 arrival of New Orleans’ newest ship, Carnival Sunshine, Carnival will also serve as the presenting partner of the “American All-Star Tribute Show” during halftime of that day’s home game against the San Francisco 49ers. The game will also include an induction ceremony for the newest members of the Saints Hall of Fame.

To celebrate its relationship with the New Orleans Saints and Carnival Sunshine’s U.S. debut, during the game, Carnival will also engage the crowd through a special contest. The company will award one fan at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome a free cruise aboard the totally transformed Carnival Sunshine, which sails on its inaugural voyage from New Orleans the following day.

Carnival Sunshine recently underwent a $155 million makeover that added a variety of on-board dining, bar and entertainment innovations.

The 3,006-passenger vessel will sail from New Orleans on seven-day voyages to the Caribbean through April 2014.

Chimp Haven, the Webster Parish Convention and Visitors Bureau and Carnival Cruise Lines provided information for this column. Louisiana Travels is a column about travel destinations and events in Louisiana. Email items for Louisiana Travels to travel@theadvocate.com or jbergeron@theadvocate.com or mail to Judy Bergeron, The Advocate, 7290 Bluebonnet Blvd., Baton Rouge, LA 70810.