When Ellen DeGeneres was a kid, the only magazine she had in her house was National Geographic.
“I was reading it and saw this woman working with gorillas in Africa,” the comedian and talk show host said. “And I had never been out of New Orleans, so when I was a kid it was my dream coming (to Africa), Dian Fossey was my hero.”
Ellen never did become a gorilla researcher like Dian Fossey. But fast forward to 2018, and Ellen’s wife Portia de Rossi gave her a gift that got her close. During an episode of The Ellen DeGeneres Show, de Rossi announced the Ellen Fund would be building a new campus for the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund in Rwanda, creating a research and education center to continue Fossey’s work for generations.
Four years later, the center opened at the base of Volcanoes National Park this spring. The 45,000-square-foot campus is an awe-inspiring new nature center, and is a must-visit jumping off point for anyone planning a gorilla trek.