If you follow our blog, you would know that we love our Family Days Out and have visited so many interesting places such as Knowsley Safari Park or Sea Life Manchester amongst others. This time we were invited to visit Trentham Monkey Forest situation in the beautiful Staffordshire woodlands. The park has about 140 Barbary Macaques monkeys living in freedom, with forest path, info boards and videos which makes it a perfect place to visit for both the young and old. Here’s a short 6 minute HD video slideshow which we did of the place.
This was not the first time we have visited Trentham, we did visit the Trentham Gardens recently and our kids totally loved it there. As parents we were a little worried heading to the Monkey Forest as we knew from past experience that monkeys can sometimes we quite cheeky, but when we spoke to friends they assured us that the monkeys are very friendly. We headed to the Forest in the morning. The park opens at 10am so there was ample of parking. We walked in to the counter, got our tickets, brochure and headed into the park area.
Now, Trentham Monkey Forest is quite unique as it is the only place in the UK where you can walk amongst endangered Barbary Macaques. The monkeys are native to the wooded mountains of Morocco and Algeria but the monkeys in the Forest are obtained from both two different parks from France and Germany. Hence there are two groups of Barbary Macaques in the forest as they don’t tend to mix with each other.
We entered the park and came upon the on-site information centre, video room, picnic, cafe areas anfd play area for kids. We were told to keep our tickets as they will check this upon entering the enclosure. We were told about the rules by the staff which included:
- Touching the monkeys is strickly prohibited
- Keep at lease one meter’s distance from the monkeys at all times
- Children must be strictly supervised throughout the park
- No Eating or Drinking inside the Monkey Enclosure
- No running or shouting
- Stay on the path
- No smoking
- Do not approach monkeys carrying small babies
We found it really facinating as we walking around the enclosure. There were lots of information boards around for kids to stop by and read as well as information boards about the monkeys. Some include:
- Did you know that the monkeys can live in the open all year around in the park as they originate from the mountains of Morocco and Algeria where winters are cold?
- Monkeys eats fruits, vegetables, cereals, insects and plants and they are omnivors
- Barbary Macaques spent the night perched in high trees where they are safe from predators
- They mate in Autumn / Winter and give birthdy during spring / early summer
- Language of the Barbary Macaques consists of vocalisations, facial expressions, gestures and attitudes
As we walked around the 3/4 of a mile of the visitor pathway, it was wonderful to see how these monkeys lived and how they behaved. The pathway was so serene with lots of other wildlife there too with benches to sit down if you are tired.
Although it was a forest area, there were lots of staff around so we never felt scared or alone. The staff was also very knowledgeable and we stopped at many areas asking them questions about the monkeys.
Hourly feeding talks take place at quarter past each hour and this must not be missed.
We got to the feeding area 10 minutes earlier. There are 2 feeding areas and they alternate between them. One area feeds the Barbary Macaques from France from the second feeding area feeds the ones from Germany.
The feeding session started with one of the staff talking about the monkeys and where they originate from, as well as what they eat and what the monkeys are like. Soon she started sharing the food out, a few monkeys came out to eat the food together with some birds as well as ducks. On the menu were fruits such as oranges and nuts and seeds.
The monkeys were tame and did not cause any problems at all to the visitors. Staff were quite vigilant and told us to stay still when a male monkey was passing through. Our kids totally loved how close they could get to the monkeys and also enjoyed watching the other wildlife that lived in the forest areas.
Soon as we finished the tour of the enclosure, we headed out to grab a bite at the Banana Cafe
If you prefer to bring a picnic you can sit at the outdoor or covered seating area. Food is allowed in here but not in the enclosure.
The Banana café serves a selection of both warm and cold meals and snacks for when you’re feeling a bit peckish. There is also a Jungle Souvenir Shop which is packed full with monkey memorabilia for you to buy a momento home.
Kids had a go at the play area, we only found out much later that there were 2 play areas. This one is closer to the cafe and picnic area.
Things to note:
- Feeding Time – Make sure you catch the hourly feeding talks which takes place atquarter past every hour from quarter past 11 between the 2 feeding areas.
- Visitors to Trentham Monkey Forest will receive a £1 off Trentham Gardens tickets when you show a valid Trentham Monkey Forest receipt. Trentham Gardens annual ticket holders also receive £1 off to the Monkey Forest tickets when showing your valid membership.
- Staff are weding bright yellow t-shirts and you can find them everywhere. Stop and speak to them as they are so full of knowledge and information.
Where is Trentham Monkey Forest?
Tel: 01782 659845
What are the Opening Hours of Trentham Monkey Forest?
They are open daily from 10am until 5pm (these are Summer Opening Times, do check their website for Winter times)
How much are the Entry Tickets?
Adults pay £8.50 while Children (aged 3 to 14) pay £6.50. Under 3s go free. There are concessions as well as group tickets available.
About Trentham Monkey Forest
There are 140 monkeys living in Stoke on Trent. This unique idea first started back in 1969 when the first park was opened in France. Due to the success of the park a second park was opened in Rocamadour, also in France. Later a third park opened in Germany in 1976. In 2004 two groups of Barbary macaques from the existing parks were re-homed here in Trentham, and the park opened to the public in July 2005. Unfortunately, Barbary macaques are listed as endangered by the IUCN Red List due to loss of habitat and the illegal pet trade. Trentham Monkey Forest aims to provide visitors with a unique, interesting and educational experience, whilst raising awareness and informing you of their involvement in conservation of the endangered wild Barbary macaques, and the research they do to help protect them. The monkeys live in total freedom which allows visitors to get an in depth insight into the lives of these fascinating monkeys. The woodland trail allows you to walk amongst the monkeys and immerse yourself in their everyday antics. You will be able to see them as they swing from the trees, lounge on the grass and even walk the path straight past you!
* We were invited to Trentham Monkey Forest for free in return for a feature. All opinions are our own.