I took JACS to Monkey World on Friday. One Granny ‘against’ four very lively children isn’t the ideal ratio to work with. Apprehensive about the possibility of mislaying a child, I dressed in a cherry red fleece and took my mauve Van Gogh Irises umbrella which I said I would put up if a child went missing and needed to find its way back to its social group. Luckily the umbrella only went up twice; the first occasion was to humour a hiding child, the second occasion was at the end of the afternoon when we lingered a bit too long over a board telling us about the histories of the individual chimpanzees, and Charlie decided to climb to the top of one of the conical structures close by.
Monkey World is an Ape Rescue Centre. Their mission is to work with governments around the world to stop the smuggling of primates from the wild. At the Centre refugees of this illegal trade, as well as those that have suffered abuse or neglect, are rehabilitated into natural living groups. They have a choice of indoor or outdoor areas in which to play and explore. And this excellent child entertainment resource is only a ten minute drive from our house.
The children enjoyed watching the various animals at close quarters and were very amused at the antics of a young (3-year old) chimpanzee and the way that its mother and other adults tried to manage the wild child, and also play with him. As ‘Bart’, the young chimp, swung from limb to limb, and scampered round the indoor quarters picking up bundles of wood shavings and throwing it up into the air, my charges laughed to see such mischief. This was a perfect cue for a discussion about our human origins.
Amelie is very keen to check out the extra large climbing frame of which I have heard tell. It’s a super structure, built tall but safe with high-sided robust netting along walkways which link the ‘lookout’ towers. JACS love playing in this ‘Great Ape’ play area with its variety of swings, slides and sprawling framework to clamber over.
We took the woodland walk back up to the main concourse and finished our visit at the chimpanzee pavilions. We arrived in time to see the animals come out into their compound, and chase around screeching at each other before they raced to the upper level of their high frame. From here they would have had a view out across the 65 acre site, just as we had had from the human Great Ape recreation area on the other side of the park.