I meant to tell you about the monkeys at Apenheul ages ago! However, I visited Apenheul right after my USA summertime holiday, and the monkeys ended up getting put on the back burner in lieu of more exciting, warm weather content (re: beaches, sunshine, friendship fun-times). However, last night I was doing a little clean-up of my computer, and I stumbled across the monkey folder. In the dead of winter, I thought some sunshine and chimps might be appreciated on the blog :)
So here’s a little look at one of Holland’s coolest attractions – the first and only zoo in the world where the monkeys live free in the forest, and roam around at will with the visitors.
Our visit to Apenheul started with some drinks right outside the park. The sky was blue and we were all hungry, so before we ventured into the park, we stopped for some bitterballen, beer, and coffee (a winning combination if you ask me!)After basking in the sun for a bit, we ventured into the shady park where we were greeted by hundreds of chatting squirrel monkeys.Squirrel monkeys are super social and love to interact with the visitors in the park. They will often hop on your shoulder, tug at your hair, or try to steal your iPhone (told you they were social!)The lemurs are my personal favorite, with their long striped tails and chic grey coats. Total fashion icons ;)At one point in the afternoon it started to sprinkle, and so we retreated inside the orangutan house for cover. Everyone else had the same idea, and a crowed packed in around the glass orangutan enclosure. I couldn’t help but feel somewhat claustrophobic stuffed inside, surrounded by so many people who were also trying to escape the rain. This made me think about the lonely orangutan, housed in such a small space, surrounded by hundreds of wet onlookers. Despite the many fingers tapping hello on the glass, the orangutan remained huddled in the back corner of his cage. Then, by chance the orangutan made eye contact with me. And so I did what any empathetic friend would do, and blew him a kiss. Excitedly, he hopped up from his spot, swung from rope to rope across the cage, and stopped directly in front of me. He then slowly pressed his palm up to the glass wall separating us. I swear, it was the most surreal, King Kong moment of my life. I pressed my palm up to the glass against his, and we made friendly, inquisitive eye contact. Being a devout blogger, I then took out my camera and snapped a photo as he dangled from the ropes in front of me. I gave him a shy smile, and after a minute he slowly retreated back to his corner in the cage. Soon, the rain subsided, and so we said goodbye to my new friend, and headed back outside under the blue skies.v v Do you see the baby monkey?! :)We made our way through the remainder of the primate park, especially struck by how many species of monkeys there were! We made a special point to say hello to all of them, before saying goodbye to the expansive park and driving back to Amsterdam.
If you’re interested in checking out Apenheul, you can go to the park again starting on March 30th (so less than a month away!) The park entrance fees for 2015 aren’t yet listed on the site, but you can keep an eye out here. The zoo is located in Apeldoorn, which is about an hour’s car ride from Amsterdam. The address of the park is: J.C. Wilslaan 21 7313 HK Apeldoorn, The Netherlands.