I first visited the Monkey Park Zoo with my granddaughters in 2005. I had seen the garish painted entrance many times, as I had driven down the TF1 but did not know anything about it as at that time none of the excursion outlets offered it as an attraction.
I am not a lover of zoos as I hate the thought of animals being caged or having to perform for the public and it was only after stumbling across their website Monkey Park and reading ‘Our animals don’t do tricks’, that I decided to go.
At the time it looked as if the conservation group had taken over an old animal enclosure that had failed and been left to run down. They were obviously in need of funds and it appeared that everything they earned went on the upkeep of the animals rather than the surroundings. In comparison to Loro Parque or Jungle Park, this was like a smallholding that someone had set up in their backyard. Yet despite how poor the surroundings were it was easy to see that the people who were running this tiny preservation and breeding centre for endangered species cared about the animals. I was totally enthralled by what I saw and made it my mission to mention the Monkey Park and recommend it whenever a suitable occasion arose. Of course being a member of Tripadvisor helped, I not only added a review but whenever anyone wanted recommendations for things to do, I would sing the praises of the zoo.
Today the Monkey Park is one of the top attractions in the South, being listed as number 1 by Tripadvisor in Los Cristianos. This is hardly unexpected as I don´t know anywhere else where you can walk through cages and interact with tiny spider monkeys, lemurs, giant tortoise, and if you are brave enough the huge iguanas. Although all of the monkeys are well fed on fruit and cereals they love it when visitors take along goody bags, I have found they are particularly fond of bananas, dried apricots and surprise surprise, ‘Monkey Nuts’. They will climb all over you and go through your bags and pockets to find special treats even little children love them and are unafraid.
As the years have gone by and more visitors are attending, the zoo is updating the animal accommodation. New enclosure have been built and a huge aviary with some exotic breeds of birds has been erected. The monkeys that have to be caged, for safety reasons, are in clean enclosures however you can still lean across the barrier and feed them. Most seem gentle, even the Chimps who are huge will hold out their hands for your food, blow raspberries and give rude hand gestures if you don´t offer more. The black leopards, which were obviously from the previous project, are no longer there. I was told they died from old age.
At only €10 for an adult and €5 for a child over 5 years, this is probably one of the cheapest attractions in Tenerife and you will spend at least half a day here and want to return repeatedly. There is no gift shops, to part you from your money so if you haven´t brought any fresh fruit I would encourage you to buy a bag of food from the kiosk.
One of the first excursion shops to advertise the Monkey Park was Tenerife Sunshine, they probably got sick of hearing me going on about it, but it is now easy for any visitor to find their way there and should you need a taxi the attendant in the kiosk will call one for you.
I find it hard to recommend somewhere where animals are in captivity, however, at the Monkey Park Zoo they are there for a reason, either a poor start in life, some have limbs missing, or they are endangered. I can, therefore accept they are in the best place possible other than roaming freely in their natural habitat if this is what has to be, then so be it. It is a wonderful experience not just for adults but for young children to get so close to the monkeys and lemurs and I would encourage anyone with a love of animals to visit and can guarantee you will come away feeling uplifted.
You can check out some old videos I took when the grand-children were little. Monkey Park Zoo I must take new ones as it is always top of our list of must dos when they come on holiday.