Because I have no doubt that wild animals are at their happiest in their natural habitat I feel like a dreadful hypocrite for recommending an animal park of any kind. Even so, Monkey Park Tenerife is sort of a guilty pleasure and in my defence it does have a successful breeding programme for endangered primates. Whenever we have had visitors, we will take them for a morning or afternoon at Monkey Park and each time it has been a lovely day out which they have thoroughly enjoyed.
Monkey Park, which calls itself, the Biggest Little Zoo in the World”, collaborates in several European breeding programmes and has a very good track record with several of the species. In particular, their breeding collection of Mongoose Lemurs, which are classed as a “vulnerable” species is one of only two such successfully bred groups in Europe.
Some of the enclosed areas are walkthrough. One contains Ring-tailed Lemur which are quite tame and will interact with their visitors if they are feeling sociable. It’s possible to buy a bag of nuts and seeds to give out to any interested captives but generally all the animals are well fed already and are not given to begging too much. Take some cut up fruit with you to get a bit more attention from the lemurs and monkeys.
What is a bit worrying is the strange attitude we saw of one family who seemed so desperate to get the attention of a lemur or two that they were willing to reach up and tug on the tail of one who was resting up a tree. Much as I would have loved to see their expressions if the little creature had leapt down upon them teeth-bared, s/he just shuffled further up out of reach. Oh well.
A resident that we have seen several times over the years is a large tortoise. We always stop for a few moments to hang out with this old friend and as the kids have got older, they are now confident enough to go up and give him a bit of a scratch which he always seems to enjoy.
Other primates that you will see at Monkey Park which have been bred successfully at Monkey park include Golden Tamarind, Cotton Headed Tamarind and De Brazza’s Monkey. There is an other walk-thorough area where spider monkeys will either completely ignore you or be all over you depending on how recently they have been fed. They are funny little things and must be the inspiration for the term, ‘little monkey’ because they are into everything! They will cheerfully sit on your head and poo down your back while picking your pockets and rifling your bag. Very entertaining!
Not quite so amusing is the Drill. He is up at the back of the zoo and he is truly the most depressing animal exhibit I have ever seen. Of all the creatures at Monkey Park, he is by far the saddest. He seems certifiably insane. His time is divided between monotonous glass-pacing during which he bares his teeth in in unmistakable hatred at any watching humans and a pathetic and frantic masturbation. It may be best to avoid his cage if you are with inquisitive youngsters.
The Guinea pigs were a new addition since out last visit and there were lots of them. They had one enclosure to themselves plus could be seen scampering about the bottom of various primate cages. Other non-primate species include exotic birds, crocodiles, lizards and snakes. So altogether a good day out for the kids – if you focus on the good breeding programme and do your best to avoid the poor Drill.
Entrance fee for Monkey Park Tenerife : $10 for adults and $5 for kids
How to get to Monkey Park
The Monkey Park in Tenerife is more than a tourist attraction. It’s also a successful breeding centre for endangered primates.
Phone: 922 79 07 20