Monkeying Around

Last weekend Dan and I took a trip North to Stoke-on-Trent to visit MONKEY FOREST, part of Trentham Estate & Gardens. Full of the Barbary Macaques species of monkey that typically originate from the mountainous parts of Morocco and Algeria, Monkey Forest holds around 140 of the adorable creatures where you can observe them their habitat. If you're lucky too, you may be able to see some of the newborns climbing, jumping and interacting with you. They were possibly my favourite and I loved that at only a couple of months old they were speedier than any human at that age would be, although leading by example of some of their elders you can see why.

My first trip to the forest was two years ago now, when my family took my nephew to see some monkeys first hand and despite the day being a typical British day – with blustering wind, rain and making a duly needed hot drink the second best part of the day – I thoroughly enjoyed it and was sure I'd be back again. It's not a massive place by all means and it's somewhere you can probably spend a good hour walking round soaking up the behavioural patterns, but it is a lovely treat if you're after something a little more than your average Sunday afternoon stroll after a roast dinner (with all the trimmings).

I'm a sucker for a trip to the zoo or the aquarium, but it's rare to find places like this that allow you to be in such close proximity whilst still allowing the animals to roam freely within their habitat. (And just incase you didn't believe me, there's the photograph to prove it!)

Enough can't be said for the experience, which is made all the better by the friendly and informative staff who greet you at certain points along the path and ensure you don't miss any of the monkeys hiding up in the treetops as you enter the enclosure. This place is perfect if you want to test out your wildlife photography or like me, if you're still trying to figure out what settings on your camera do what.. I might have to actually read my manual at some point!

With children's play areas, picnic parks, a café and other attractions around the Trentham Estate & Gardens there is plenty to keep you busy, so even if you do complete the 3/4 mile path around the forest in an hour you are guaranteed to be kept busy. Although perhaps mostly targeted for a great day out with a family, myself and Dan really enjoyed the afternoon. It's well worth the journey, especially if you have little ones or just like the great outdoors.

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