Celebrity well wishes poured in for the gorilla, born Dec. 22, 1956 at the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

By Amy Jamieson
Updated December 23, 2016 01:12 PM
Advertisement
Credit: Courtesy Columbus Zoo and Aquarium

What do you get a gorilla for its 60th birthday? Six cakes, an array of presents and well-wishes from a variety of celebrities are a very good start.

Thursday was an all-out party for Colo the gorilla, the oldest female gorilla in the world, who rang in her 60th birthday at the Columbus Zoo.

Colo was born there on Dec. 22, 1956, and became the first gorilla born in human care. The primate party planners were busy making things just right for this girl, who had a fully-decked out enclosure for the day.

Next came a birthday song, partially sung by visitors outside her exhibit.

The gorilla — who has three children, 16 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren — was presented with six specially-made cakes (one for every decade!), each prepared with 60 ingredients in a nod to the years she’s been at the zoo. Among the spread: a psychedelically-patterned 1960’s-era “dreamsicle cake,” covered with vanilla yogurt frosting, and an apple spice cake with a honey yogurt-based cream cheese frosting representing the ’90’s and the early days of computers. Each cake was supported by miniature tree stumps made up of edible birch, crabapple and pear branches.

But the most eye-opening aspect of the celebration — for the human contingent, at least — may have been the congratulations that poured in from zoos all over the country, along with celebrities like Betty White, Henry Winkler and Carol Burnett (who deemed a wild Tarzan call appropriate for the animal’s 60th).

“I just heard the news that it’s your birthday, you’re gonna be 60?” said Betty White in a video message. “Bless your heart, you kids are so cute. I’m in my 90s.”