When we went away for the October half-term last year I wanted to take advantage of our location to visit Paultons Park. I discovered that we would pass Monkey World in Dorset on our way there. Having heard many good things about Monkey World Dorset and how it is a lovely place to visit I contacted them. Asking if we could visit for the day in exchange for a written and video review of our visit. They accepted our offer and now I’m finally getting the chance to share with you our day at Monkey World.
The History of Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre
Monkey World was founded in 1987 by Jim Cronin. He wanted to provide a permanent, stable home for chimpanzees who were victims of the Spanish beach photography trade. Jim had witnessed the abuse suffered by the chimpanzees forced to work as beach photographer’s props for the tourist industry. Starting with a small financial loan and a long lease on a derelict Dorset pig farm Jim created one of the world’s first primate rescue centres.
Having been around for over 30 years Monkey World now finds itself working around the world. They help assist governments to stop the smuggling of many different species of primates from the wild. Whilst continuing to rehabilitate primates that have been used, abused, or neglected for any number of reasons.
Monkey World Dorset is spread over 65 acres. It has a dedicated team of over thirty Primate Care Staff. Between them, they look after more than 250 primates. There are many different species of primates from around the world at Monkey World. This includes chimpanzees, orang-utans, gibbons, macaques, woolly monkeys, squirrel monkeys, marmosets, tamarins and lemurs. Monkey World gives them a safe haven of care and a home for life. Letting them be free to be themselves and giving them the chance to enjoy the companionship of their own kind in a natural environment. Being nurtured and rehabilitated they learn how to be apes and monkeys again.
Visiting Monkey World Dorset
On the day we visited Monkey World rain threatened to pour down all day. The primates we saw that day knew it was coming so most of them decided to keep in the warm and dry. Who could blame them! This meant we didn’t see too much outside mischief at first but both the inside and outside viewing areas in Monkey World offer perfect views.
An Unexpected Guided Tour
When we arrived at Monkey World the lovely PR came to greet us and gave us a mini guided tour of the top part of the Rescue Centre. She told us so much information about the founder and the history of Monkey World.
Also introducing us to the different chimpanzee groups, as well as naming every primate we saw during our time with her. She really was a source of amazing information.
For an additional fee, you can book a guided tour of the Rescue Centre. If you can afford this extra I really would recommend adding it to your visit. We learnt so much and it was lovely to discover some personal information and stories about the different primates we were introduced to.
If a guided tour isn’t for you don’t worry as there are daily keeper talks available. The time table for these are
12:30 pm – Woolly Monkeys
1:00 pm – Chimpanzees
1:30 pm – Orang-utans
2:00 pm – Gibbons
2:30 pm – Lemurs & Small Monkeys
3:00 pm – Spider Monkeys, Capuchins & Stump-tailed Macaques
We got the chance to see the Orang-utans keeper talk. This was held at the Orang-utan nursery, we got to see baby Orang-utans! It was amazing to hear all about the amazing work that Monkey World does. Seeing the bond the keepers have with their animals is a fantastic sight.
Lunch At Monkey World
We knew that during our visit we would need to factor in a lunch break. Due to Ethan’s limited food intake, we have to make sure there is food and drink available that he will eat wherever we visit. The Treetops Cafe was recommended as the place for us to eat during our time at Monkey World. They offer hot and cold food options. They even cater to dairy-free, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free diets. There is a sample menu to view online which really helps with forward planning.
The children had hot meals and we opted for something cold. We found the Treetops Cafe reasonable in price and we were all able to easily find something we wanted to eat and drink.
You will also find a small soft play area in the cafe which is perfect for entertaining younger children.
Visiting The Primates At Monkey World
Even on a rainy day, we were able to see lots of the residents of Monkey World. We saw Chimpanzees, Orang-utans, Wolly Monkeys, Gibbons and so many more.
I loved seeing all of the Chimpanzees. It was amazing hearing how they all live in their groups and who is in charge of each group. They were all enjoying their lazy day in their warm homes.
I couldn’t wait to see the Orang-utan Nursery. I have a soft spot for Orang-utans but I have never seen a baby one. There were four at Monkey World, all different shapes and sizes but all looking like little old men. It was funny to see them walking about on two legs too.
The Great Ape Play Area
As soon as we arrived at Monkey World Ethan spotted the Great Ape Play Area. He kept pointing it out to us on the map whenever he could.
It is situated at the bottom of Monkey World which is perfect as you can visit after you have visited the primates. There are also picnic tables there as well as a place to purchase treats. This wasn’t open when we visited but this could have been because of the weather.
The Great Ape Play Area is the biggest play area I have ever seen. We have visited many play areas over the years! It started to rain heavily just as we arrived but that didn’t stop Ethan. He was ready to put this area to the test.
He did need a little help showing him how and where to climb. Darren was on hand and soon climbing with him.
Little E also wanted to try to climb but she was quite nervous and didn’t want to go down the slide to get down. I think there is actually an age limit for the play area and she was just a little under that.
There are actually three play areas in Monkey World so don’t worry if the Great Ape Play Area isn’t right for your child’s age or ability.
Is Monkey World Autism Friendly?
Monkey World is both autism aware and accessible for people with disabilities. They have an amazing visual accessibility guide that you can use to help plan your day before you visit. They also hold Autism Friendly Days. On the autism days, they are aware that they need to reduce any queues at the entrance. They also have a calm room for when and if anyone needs some downtime. There is also a sensory trail and three amazing sensory statures to touch and feel. There are also adult changing facilities but there isn’t a winch in place.
Our Day At Monkey World Dorset
We had a great day visiting Monkey World, even with the threat of rain. It is lovely to see how well the primates are cared for. They even gave them Halloween decorations to entertain them.
The areas the primates live in clearly meet their needs and the children loved all of the connecting tunnels. These let the different groups move freely around the areas as and when they need too.
You can watch our visit to Monkey World in the below video…
We loved our day at Monkey World and we hope we can get the chance to visit again in the future.
DISCLOSURE – We were gifted entrance to Monkey World Dorest for the purposes of this post and to create our YouTube video. We always share our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, and experiences.