Monkey World review

Our rating 
4.1 out of 5 star rating 4.1
User rating
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In a nutshell

A family-friendly rescue centre for monkeys in Dorset, where children of all ages will be fascinated by the wide range of monkeys. It’s no fancy theme park, but don’t be surprised if the kids ask to return long after your first visit
Fun for kids
4.5 out of 5 rating 4.5
Fun for parents
3.5 out of 5 rating 3.5
Worth the money
4.5 out of 5 rating 4.5
Facilities
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Family friendliness
4.0 out of 5 rating 4.0
Pros: Lots of monkeys to see, fun playgrounds, good cafés, soft play in the main café, good value for money
Cons: Needs more toddler swings and baby-changing tables, signposting could be improved

When we visited:

We visited on a sunny weekday during term-time. It was quite busy with school trips but not overcrowded.

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What age Monkey World best for:

Best for: Children aged 2-10 years

Still good fun for: Children aged 11-14 years

How much does it cost?

  • Gate prices: Adults £14, children aged 3-15 £10, under 3s free
  • Family saver tickets: Family of 4 (2 adults, 2 children) £42
  • Tickets cannot be purchased in advance (apart from groups of 10+)

Are there discounts or cheap tickets available for Monkey World?

Check discount website Picniq for special offers.

Any extra charges once I’m there?

You don’t have to walk through the gift shop to exit (phew!) but you might want to make a special trip there as the amount of monkey paraphernalia they have on offer is a sight to behold. Monkey oven gloves, monkey teapot, monkey cushion cover or monkey jam, anyone? You can spend as little as 55p on a pencil or as much as £345 on a hand-carved wooden coat hook.

You can pay for a personal guided tour (which lasts about 1 hour 15 minutes) of the wildlife sanctuary. They start at £35 for up to 4 people. You can also choose to adopt a monkey, which starts at £25 and includes free admission to the park for a year. 100% of this adoption money goes into the rescue and rehabilitation of the monkeys.

How long will we spend at Monkey World?

We arrived when the park opened and left when it closed. A full day’s fun was had by all! And this was our third visit, so it’s definitely an attraction that can be enjoyed again and again. In fact, it was top of the list of attractions that my American nieces wanted to go to, despite having been last year when they were previously in the UK.

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What does Monkey World offer for families?

Monkey World is a rescue centre for monkeys in Dorset, housing more than 250 primates. As well as the monkeys, there are playgrounds are dotted around the park and keeper talks run throughout the day. The centre and works with governments around the world to stop the smuggling of monkeys from the wild. Many of the animals at the centre have been poorly treated in the past, and Monkey World is a safe haven for them.

What shouldn’t be missed?

Highlights for us were:

  • The chance to see more than 250 monkeys of varying species – from gorillas to gibbons, chimpanzees to capuchin monkeys
  • From 12.30pm onwards, there are different keeper talks every 30 minutes on the different monkeys that live there
  • The Great Ape Play Area is a bit of a schlep and you’ll miss it if you don’t make a conscious effort to go there. But it’s worth the hike and there’s plenty of fun apparatus for the kids to enjoy
  • There’s a soft play area in the Treetops Cafe, which meant I could enjoy my lunch without my children demanding things/crawling all over me/squirting ketchup in my face. Bliss!

Is it easy to navigate?

We got a printed map when we arrived and worked our way around the various enclosures, stopping to swing/jump/climb at the playgrounds dotted around. The entire centre comprises 65 acres, so wear your walking shoes. If you’re visiting with toddlers, I’d suggest bringing a buggy. There’s a lot of walking, and a fair few hills.

We got lost a few times and walked in circles more times than I’d care to admit. The signposts could definitely be clearer and more plentiful.

Is it the same Monkey World sanctuary that was on TV?

Yes! We weren’t the only ones to find these animals fascinating: Monkey World was the backdrop for the TV documentary Monkey Life, which followed a team of experts as they rescued and rehabilitated its inhabitants. There were 174 episodes and it aired in over 140 countries.

What you need to know before you go:

My two-year-old loves swings but, unfortunately, there was only one in the entire park that was designed for toddlers (located in the playground closest to the entrance). There were loads of nest swings for bigger kids but a few more for smaller kids would have been nice

We attended the lemur keeper talk and, although it was interesting, it was too long to hold my boys’ attention. They got bored after about 10 minutes and wandered off. Apparently, the talks last about 25 minutes.

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Did it cater well for different aged children?

Really well! I went with my two boys (aged 4 and 2), plus my sister and her three girls (aged 9, 6 and 3). All of them loved it. Show me a kid who doesn’t love a monkey!

I think older children would also enjoy seeing the monkeys, plus a lot of the equipment in the playgrounds is set up for older kids (high climbing equipment, large nest swings, etc).

Is it a good rainy day option?

Not really. Almost everything is outdoors, so try to avoid visiting on a rainy day

What are the food and drink facilities like at Monkey World?

There are 3 cafes, 3 kiosks and 2 picnic areas within Monkey World

  • The Malagasy Café serves sandwiches and baguettes (all under £4), plus snacks, cakes, ice creams and drinks (a caffeine hit is a reasonable £1.65)
  • Treetops Café has all of the above, plus hot food, serving filling fare such as pasta Bolognese, burgers, jacket potatoes and hot dogs. Most hot food is around £4 or £5
  • Salads are on offer, too, if you’re looking for something healthier. There’s also vegan and gluten-free menus
  • The food portions are a good size, the ingredients are fresh, and the food is made to order – all in all, it’s good-quality and tasty
  • I noticed that there were plenty of highchairs at the Treetops cafe, as well as plenty of tables and chairs

Can you bring a picnic?

Yes, and there are various benches throughout the park where you can sit and have a picnic.

What are the toilets like?

There are 3 blocks of loos, 2 of which have baby-changing facilities. One is located by the entrance/exit, which was handy before the car ride home.

There was only 1 baby-changing table in the main toilets, which meant that I changed my son’s nappy on the floor of the disabled toilets (he was in no mood to be patient and wait for the other mum and baby to finish up. *Eye roll*).

How well does it cater for disabled visitors?

  • In the playgrounds, there are wheelchair swings and most of the paths are paved smoothly, making pushing a wheelchair/buggy easier
  • Unfortunately, the route to the Woodland Walk isn’t suitable for wheelchairs or electric scooters
  • They have a ‘sensory statue’ of an orangutan’s head, stating: “This sculpture has been designed for our visually-impaired visitors to give them an indication of the size and shape of a male orangutan’s face.”
  • For more information visit Monkey World’s website

Opening dates and times:

Monkey World is open every day (apart from Christmas Day) from 10am to 5pm. However, in July and August, it closes at 6pm

How to get to Monkey World:

Monkey World is on the A31 between Bere Regis and Wool in Dorset

  • Tip for drivers: don’t blindly follow your satnav. I punched in the postcode from the Monkey World website and it took me beyond the entrance
  • But the attraction is well signposted as you get closer, so you’re unlikely to get lost
  • If you want to use public transport, you can get the train to Wool, which is about 1.5 miles away from Monkey World. Buses run from the station to near Monkey World every hour, and only take about 6 minutes.

Do you have to pay for parking?

Parking was free and there were plenty of spaces.

Worth a long car journey?

It depends how much you like monkeys! My family and I only travelled 30 minutes, but I think Monkey World is worth an hour’s drive. It’s not a ‘wow’ attraction with rides and shows, but it’s a fun day out that’s worth a visit.

Which hotels or holiday accommodation are near Monkey World?

Dorset is a lovely holiday hotspot for families, so there are plenty of accommodation options nearby, including:

Nearby attractions for a longer day out:

The Bovington Tank Museum is a 4-minute drive away, or head to the coast to visit beautiful Lulworth Cove, 15 minutes away. Just 25 minutes away is Weymouth, where you can make a sandcastle on the award-winning beach or visit the Weymouth Sea Life Adventure Park and Tower

MFM verdict:

I love that this is a philanthropic attraction. It’s not just a collection of monkeys trapped in a zoo for gawping tourists; Monkey World has rescued these monkeys and is now giving them a happy home. The set-up is lovely, walking amongst trees to the various enclosures. There’s a good mix of monkeys to look at, keeper talks to listen to and playgrounds to play in. It’s not a razzmatazz theme park, and nor does it try to be. A fun family day out for you and your own little monkeys.

Visit the Monkey World website

See more reviews of Monkey World on TripAdvisor

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About me:

I went to Monkey World with my two boys (aged 4 and 2), plus my sister and her three girls (aged 9, 6 and 3)