This half term we have been scouring our local magazines for things to do with the children when we spotted an offer for Monkey World near Wareham, Dorset which saw kids getting in for £1 on the donation of old pairs of socks, vitamins or dried fruit.
If you have not heard of Monkey World before, it is a Charitable centre that assists Governments around the world to stop smuggling primates from the wild. It was set up by Jim Cronin in 1987 and currently has over 250 primates in 19 different species and features in the popular programs Monkey Business and Monkey Life.
Although we have visited several times before I was quite surprised to discover Eliza had never been and Isaac was very small when we last went, so they were both very excited.
The first port of call were the Chimpanzees, who despite having a large outdoor play area, were hiding indoors. The kids enjoyed watching them for ages as they were pulling faces, playing and just chilling out.
We headed back outside to see a crowd gathering by another enclosure. Intrigued by what was happening we headed over to see a Gibbon putting on a spectacular show of swinging through the trees.
The boys then demanded they see the “Orange O Tans” so we went off to find them – they were just around the corner alongside a rather vocal Mueller’s Gibbon who decided to put on quite a show to get our attention.
My own monkey’s then decided it was time to re-fuel so we stopped for a bite to eat, but not before Isaac found the stash of sour sweets in Daddy’s pocket. I took a packed lunch, although there is a restaurant and a small food point where Abbey bought herself a hot sausage roll.
Monkey World is positioned very close to Bovington Army Camp and the Tank Museum, so we were very lucky to be treated to a fly past by an army helicopter and witness some large tanks rumbling past as we ate. Then it was time for the Lemurs!
Previous visits have seen a Lemur on top of Kian’s buggy – which he promptly pushed off and one which took a fancy to something in Isaac’s buggy, but this time they decided to ignore us, so Abbey provided the entertainment. King Julien has a lot to answer for!
There were lots more Primates to see on the way to the huge play area that the kids were itching to find, although it all got a bit much for Sebastian who decided a snooze was in order.
And then we found the park, which the teens were more excited by than the little ones!
The swung, climbed, crawled and span on the various apparatus.
Isaac was very brave and insisted on climbing to the top, but he soon realised he was out of his depth. Thankfully his big brothers were on hand to help him across. There were two huge curly metal slides like he goes on at Moors Valley, but he point-blank refused to go down them, so we had to mount a rescue operation with Abbey to get him down.
It didn’t phase him though and as soon as he was on terra firma he shot off to play on some slightly smaller play equipment, whilst the older troops hit the Dragon Boat.
We spent about an hour in the park, before heading back to see what other Primates we could find. Heading back up the hill, we found the stunning bronze bust of Jim Cronin and Charlie, who was one of the first Chimps he rescued after he set up Monkey World. This was commissioned after his death in March 2007.
The boys were intent on finding the Orangutan’s again, and a few hours of training had them finally pronouncing it correctly – we found one sat right at the highest point of the enclosure, surveying his surroundings.
They boys then wanted a view to rival that of the Orangutan so we headed for the treehouse, where we bumped into hubby’s Aunt.
I would definitely recommend Monkey World as a great day out as there is lots to do for the kids, plus plenty of picnic areas. I loved having all the kids with me too, and the biggest ones enjoyed it as much as the littlies – and took over the baby carrier which saved my back too!
Driving home, we saw a lot of tanks on manoeuvres and I had the kids waving manically out the windows at them – I am pleased to report that all the soldiers waved back which made their day!
I am entering this post onto the #countrykids linky run by CoombeMill. Why not head over and see what other Half Term adventures have been happening this week!