On Saturday we had a trip to Trentham Monkey Forest in Staffordshire where we had kindly been given tickets. We’d been to Trentham gardens once before but never to the monkey forest. It is very easy to find with clear signposting and a large, free car park. Once we parked up we had our lunch in the car (no food or drink is allowed in the main area as you would expect) as it was too cold to eat in the outdoor picnic area.
After lunch, we headed into the attraction. We picked up a map and an Easter egg hunt leaflet at the ticket office and then we explored the first part of the attraction which is monkey free. There is an outdoor picnic area as already mentioned as well as a cafe. There are also two really good play area, one for under 6s and one for 6-12 year olds. My girls are 22 months and almost 5. They loved the under 6s area which is conveniently the closest to the cafe and toilets with baby changing facilities.
In this area, there is also a covered area showing a 16 minute feature film about the monkeys and the conservation work the forest is doing. We didn’t watch this as the girls were too keen to play or go see the monkeys. There were also large boards with photos and written information about Barbary macaques. Finally, the Easter egg hunt is in this area too. A series of egg signs are scattered around this area with monkey related words on them. Each word has to be written on the Easter egg hunt leaflet and a specified letter from each word or phrase is transferred to the bottom of the sheet to spell a mystery word. You leave your completed forms behind and once a month, one lucky winner will win a cuddly Barbary Macaques toy.
Once we had explored this area, it was time to head into the main area. We were asked to read a sign of rules and a member of staff also reminded us not to have any food or drink on view and to stick to the main paths. We were also told when the next feeding talk was. The feeding talk occurs in two different areas of the forest every hour from 11:15. The hourly talks alternate between the two areas. The feeding talks last about 15 minutes and are really informative and also fun to watch the monkeys eating and interacting.
At feeding time monkeys come from other areas of the forest and will walk very close to you to get into the feeding area. There are plenty of staff around to guide them and ask people to step aside to let them through. Once in the enclosure, they are fed a mixture of fruit and potatoes and there was definitely some evidence of their hierarchy showing. Yes, we witnessed monkeys fighting and being chased out of the feeding area by over more senior monkeys. My kids loved this.
There are 140 Barbary macaques monkeys in Trentham monkey forest and they are all free to move around the forest as they choose. The monkeys are not in cages or anything like that just simply living in the forest in two groups (that they have split themselves in to). This type of monkey originates from the mountains of Morocco. There are no indoor enclosures but the monkeys are perfectly adapted to our climate as it is similar to the mountains of Morroco. The oldest is 31 years old and the youngest 9 months. All Barbary macaques babies are born in the spring so they are expecting more monkeys in May/June.
There were also boards all around the forest with further information about these monkeys and their behaviour. There were some smaller ones with multichoice answer questions where you lift up a flap to find the answer. These were great for teaching my eldest a little more about these monkeys. I particularly liked the very last one “why can we not take a Barbary macaques home?”
There were also lots of friendly staff around the main areas where the monkeys tend to be (around the feeding areas mainly). They were more than happy to tell you more information or answer your questions.
The paths around the forest are clearly signposted and very suitable for pushchairs. The forest is in a valley though so there are a couple of steep hills. The forest walk is lovely and hunting for monkeys high in the trees in quieter areas kept my eldest entertained. In didn’t take us that long to walk around the forest, in fact, we did it twice and listened to one of the feeding talks in just over an hour.
We loved our visit to Trentham monkey forest and I’m sure you will too. Read on for our top tips for making the most of your visit.
Our top tips for visiting Trentham Monkey Forrest with children under 5
- Time your visit so that your children are not hungry when you are in the monkey enclosure. Food and drinks are not allowed for obvious reasons.
- Try and catch one of the feeding talks, you’ll learn more about these monkeys and enjoy watching them eating and interacting.
- Keep children close, especially at feeding time. There were a few children who were quite upset when the monkeys passed them by. My two thankfully were not bothered.
- The forest is suitable for pushchairs and I’d recommend taking one if your little one doesn’t walk lots as the hill is quite steep.
- The play areas are really great for children to let off steam before &/or after a visit to the monkey enclosure.
- Picnics are welcome (outside the monkey enclosure).
- Baby changing facilities and toilets are clean and well maintained and are situated by the play area for 3 – 6 year olds.
Disclosure – We receive 2 adult tickets for this attraction in exchange for an honest review. We paid for an extra ticket for our eldest (aged 4), All thought, opinions and photos are my own.
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