Communing with the animal kingdom can be a welcome break from city life, social media and politics. Apes, in particular, can put us in touch with our primal ancestors and give us a much-needed reality check. The gibbon, native to Asia, is known as nature's greatest acrobat and is particularly fun to watch. The Gibbon Conservation Center was established in a dusty part of Santa Clarita in 1976 to study and conserve these small, endangered apes; it's open to the public on Saturday and Sunday mornings. While watching these social primates swing from branch to branch and do their tricks, visitors may be lucky enough to hear the gibbons sing to one another in a call-and-response manner. Their harmonizations can be heard up to two miles away. The GCC participates in gibbon rescue programs throughout Southeast Asia and has successfully bred seven different species. Public tours are available on weekends with no reservations, while private tours can be scheduled any day of the week.

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