Connect With the Past

statue of bill the chimp at sequoia park zoo

Bill’s Garden

Visit Bill’s Garden where the chimpanzee exhibit was formerly located and pay tribute to the zoo’s most famous and beloved residents, Bill & Ziggy. You’ll enjoy their story told in photos, and learn about the zoo’s history and future as well. Read messages on the brick walkway and take your family’s photo in front of Bill’s statue. It’s a great place to relax and share memories of Bill and zoo visits of years past.

Bill the Chimp, 1946-2007

Resident at the Sequoia Park Zoo for fifty years and one of the oldest chimpanzees in captivity, Bill was at least 62 years old when he passed away quietly in the company of his zookeepers and veterinarian just before 7pm on Tuesday, June 26th, 2007.

Bill the Chimp painting at the Sequoia Park Zoo
Bill the Chimp painting

Bill arrived at the zoo in 1957 when a group of Eureka schoolchildren purchased him from a traveling circus. He was pretty rambunctious in those days and better known for his poop-throwing than his painting. He had a companion, Ziggy, for some time; the two were more competitive rivals than friends. After Ziggy’s death in 1996, Bill showed no signs of depression, but instead responded enthusiastically to the added space and attention.

He clearly preferred the companionship of his human keepers and his many visitors. Over the years he had been a loyal friend to many, finding time in his day to share his thoughts through hoots and raspberries, or send visitors scattering with a toss of his affections. As he grew older, like his human counterparts, he mellowed, took up hobbies (painting and lounging in front of the TV) and continued to enjoy his favorite foods – in Bill’s case, ripe bananas.

Bill’s keepers lovingly engaged with him in daily enrichment activities to keep his mind and body active, and Bill always enjoyed the regular fun days at the zoo. During Snow Days he tossed snowballs at his fans and hooted with pleasure as they all cheered. At Egg-stravaganza he watched the children searching for eggs from his favored viewing platform, and at Boo at the Zoo he always seemed interested in what people would be wearing next.

Bill the Chimp with companion Ziggy at Sequoia Park Zoo

Most of all, Bill enjoyed interacting with his visitors, and always acknowledged his old friends with a wave or a nod of his wise old head.

A memorial brick inscribed to Bill the Chimp with text that reads 'We miss you, friend. Kate & Kenny Sullivan'

This page is dedicated to Bill and the fond memories we all have of him. Learn more about Bill’s Legacy League and the importance of planned giving.