Mimi at Monkey World

The Dorset-based Rescue Centre is a fantastic destination for groups from all over the country; here’s what visitors can see and do there. 

Monkey World Ape Rescue Centre is an internationally-acclaimed ape rescue centre, home to over 250 rescued and endangered monkeys and apes of 20 different species.

Opened in the eighties to provide abused Spanish beach chimpanzees with a permanent home, the site is now a sanctuary for primates from all over the world and some are now part of international breeding programmes for endangered species. Here you can see them enjoy the company of their own kind in a safe, natural environment.

Happy endings at Monkey World

Monkey World was set up in 1987 by Jim Cronin to provide a permanent, stable home for abused Spanish beach chimps. Today, his wife, Dr Alison Cronin, continues to work with foreign governments worldwide to stop the illegal smuggling of primates from the wild.

In 2017, the park welcomed no less than 19 new arrivals. There was little Mimi, an orangutan who was rejected by her mother at birth, and is now growing up with other youngsters in the orangutan nursery.

Simon and Thelma at Monkey World

Pictured: Simon and Thelma, two primates groups can see at Monkey World.

Also, Al the ring-tailed lemur was rescued from a dire life as a pet in the UK. He came to Monkey World in a sorry state, with a broken tail amongst other injuries. Now he is integrated into the group of lemurs in the Malagasy walk-through enclosure, and can be seen playing and roaming free through the walkways and trees.   

As the largest rescue centre of its kind in the world, visitors all flock to see the biggest group of chimpanzees outside of Africa, Europe’s only orangutan nursery, and the most numerous breeding population of woolly monkeys.

Talks and facilities

Combining fun with conservation and animal education, half-hourly talks by the dedicated Primate Care Staff explain all about man’s closest living relative. They love to share their knowledge of all the individuals in their care, so don’t hesitate to ask any questions when the talk is over. Pre-bookable guided tours are also available.

There are cafés serving a selection of hot and cold food and drink, or you can bring along a picnic to enjoy in the beautiful woodland setting. Once you’ve seen the stars of TV’s Monkey Life, your little monkeys can let off some steam in the Great Ape Play Area, the south’s largest adventure playground.

Pictured: 'Sally and the boys' - more of the centre's residents.

Group discounts, benefits and accessibility

Groups benefit from discounted rates, coach parking and free hot drinks for the driver. Although it is over 65 acres, the park is easily accessible for all ages, due to the range of mobility scooters available to hire for just a £10 refundable deposit.

Monkey World also provides a range of sensory statues, wheelchair swings and printed keeper talks to ensure everyone is able to enjoy their day at the park. Benches are situated around viewing windows so visitors can rest while they watch the primates play.

Visiting information

Monkey World is just minutes from the A31 near Wool, and is open every day (except Christmas Day) 10am to 5pm (July and August, 10am to 6pm). Last admission is one hour before closing.

To download a group booking form, visit www.monkeyworld.org, or call 01929 462537 for more information.