There are few days outs that have mass appeal to all age groups, but Monkey World sits in that category. Where else can you get within feet of our closest living relatives? There’s no experience with primates in the south of England that has quite this kind of ambiance, where great apes almost feel within touching distance.
My mum and I have been venturing to zoos for as long as I can remember – wherever we go, we google to find the nearest. It’s borne out of our mutual interest in wildlife – a fascination, awe, curiosity, and more than anything, fun! Watching animals and their weird and wonderful behaviour is a great conversation starter.
So Monkey World, near Wareham, in Dorset, was on our bucket list and certainly didn’t disappoint. Situated close to A35, it’s easy to reach by car from any direction.
The 65-acre park provides sanctuary for rescued and endangered primates from around the world.
Prices are reasonable considering the offer and the amount of care these rescued primates require – £12 per ticket for adults, £9 for children three-15 years, and free for children under three.
We started our day off with lunch in the café – it was a cold February day and we wanted to make sure we were well-fuelled when walking round the park! The café is fairly basic in terms of the food offer – think pasties, chips, sandwiches, jacket potatoes – but perfectly adequate and the service was excellent.
The real stars of the show are of course, the orangutans and chimpanzees. Prepare yourself for wonderment as you first set eyes upon one of these majestic cousins – and they stare right back at you. These apes exude intelligence and human-like qualities that will make you question whether it is indeed them or you who is on display!
Getting to within inches of an orangutan male and female, seeing their expressions and interacting with them, will be an experience my mum and I will never forget. One can’t help but be moved by the heart-wrenching stories of survival of these apes.
Make sure you try to go to one of the keepers’ talks, which provide a captivating insight into life at the park and its inhabitants.
Prepare to set aside a good two or three hours to walk round the park and to walk away with a glow of contentment.
W: Monkey World