Zoos aren’t normally my kind of thing.
In fact, seeing animals in captivity just makes me feel really sad, so, for the most part, a trip to an animal park wouldn’t be high on my agenda. Someone recommended Tenerife Monkey Park to us years ago, though, and we enjoyed it so much we’ve gone back every time we’ve visited the island. The park is primarily a breeding centre for endangered species, but they also have a section which is open to the public, where you can walk through large, open enclosures and interact with squirrel monkeys, lemurs, guinea pigs and the like, and although the park isn’t remotely glossy (If you’re expecting a Disney-style experience, you’d probably be disappointed), the enclosures are large and well-kept, and there are always tons of staff on hand, who seem to genuinely care about the place… which is why we keep returning, despite our initial reservations.
As I said, there are lots of different species to see, but my favourites are the squirrel monkeys, who I could seriously sit and watch all day. They’re just so lively and fun to watch, and although I’ve visited the park a few times now, the novelty of being able to actually interact with these awesome little creatures just never wears off for me. We bought a couple of packs of food for them at the park entrance (you can take in some fruit and veg, but they’re very careful about what the animals eat, and there are lots of restrictions, which makes it best just to stick to the food provided), and were hugely entertained by the squirrel monkeys searching for sweetcorn, and rejecting everything else!
My reaction to the monkeys is a bit like my reaction to my friends’ babies… Er, I should just clarify here that I’m in no way comparing babies to monkeys, other than that they’re both cute, and I spend all my time with them going, “Look! He moved his hand! Look! He blinked!” Basically everything they do is totally fascinating to me, and that’s why as soon as we landed in Tenerife, I was all, “When can we see the monkeys? D’you want to just stop off on the way to the hotel? No?”
We also spent time with the guinea pigs (Yeah, I did ask Terry if we could get one: he said no…) and lemurs, before having a wander around the rest of the park, but then it was back to the squirrel monkeys: there’s one enclosure in particular which is right at the entrance, and which always seems to get overlooked by other visitors as it’s tucked off to one side, so Terry and I were able to have it all to ourselves for a while. Fortunately for me, the footage we filmed here was on the memory card which DIDN’T get lost, so I’ve put together a little video, which you can see below, or over on my You Tube channel!
And here’s my favourite photo of the day…