Whether you are holidaying in Tenerife as a family with kids, in the company of friends, or wandering solo, a trip to a zoo is always a great idea when you want to take a break from the bustle of tourist towns. Monkey Park, located in Arona, is one of the best wildlife parks on the island. As the name indicates, it’s home to a good variety of primates, a distinctive feature that sets it apart from other zoos in the entire Canary archipelago. This hidden gem is also dedicated to the conservation of endangered animal species, including the species-appropriate propagation of the primates, so a visit promotes the cause. If you are interested in monkeys or animals in general, this place is a must-see.
Why Visit Monkey Park
Monkey Park was established in 1991 and is touted as the smallest zoo in the world. Despite its modest size, guests spend an average of one to two hours here, admiring a great variety of animal species, including lemurs, monkey squirrels, iguanas, titis, and parrots. There’s also an area where visitors can mingle with some residents of the wildlife park, take souvenir photos, and admire a garden full of cactus.
There are similar yet much bigger attractions in Tenerife, but there are several reasons why a visit to Monkey Park provides a more enriching experience than regular zoos.
Meet Its Interesting Residents
Monkey Park is home to many varieties of species with interesting demeanor. From bold ring-tailed lemurs jumping on to you for some corn off the cob and Guinea pigs coming out of holes for food to exotic lizards minding their own business, you’ll learn a lot about the residents of this wildlife habitat by interacting with them or admiring from a short distance. Visitors will also find posters with relevant information on each display.
Without further ado, here are some of Monkey Park’s most exciting residents.
Drill Monkey. The drill grows up to 70 cm long and has a short tail. It looks similar to mandrills but without the eye-catching red and blue hues on the face.
Gibbons. The gibbon is a small ape found in rain forests of South, Southeast, and East Asia. It can grow up to 90 cm long and typically weighs around 7 kg.
Golden Lion Tamarin. Also known as the golden marmoset, the golden lion tamarin is only found in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. It’s a small primate that grows around 15 to 25 cm with a tail up to 32 to 40 cm long. The monkey earned its name from its striking reddish-gold hair, which conceals the ears and frames its face.
Lemurs. Hailing from the island of Madagascar, lemurs are perhaps the most popular residents at the Monkey Park. These stunning creatures sit upright with their arms stretched out and bellies exposed as if doing yoga in a lotus pose.
Macaw Parrots. Macaws are a type of parrot natively found in Central America, South America, Mexico, and, previously, the Caribbean. Macaws boast large heads with a hooked beak and spectacularly colorful and vibrant long tails.
Squirrel Monkey. The New World squirrel monkey is a small primate endemic to the tropical rainforests of Central and South America. It only grows between 26 to 36 cm in length, with around 35 to 42 cm long tail, and weighs about 0.75 kg to 1.1 kg.
Toco Toucan. The toco is the largest and best-known member of the toucan family. It’s found in the tropical forests of South America, particularly in some parts of Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay. Apart from its huge beak, the toco’s streamlined black body, white throat, and orange skin around the eyes are its other identifiable traits. This bird measures between 55 and 65 cm long and weighs around 18 to 31 ounces.
Walk Through (Not Past) Cages
Monkey Park may look like any run-of-the-mill zoo, except that it has cages where you can stroll through as you please. Visitors can walk among all sorts of animals, such as ring-tailed lemurs, large lizards, guinea pigs, and chickens, making them feel closer to nature and somehow a part of the animals’ lives. Further on, you will see the viewing areas for a variety of birds and other animals you cannot (and would not want to) pet, such as larger primates and black leopards.
No Animal Show
In Monkey Park, you will not see any rehearsed shows or animals doing fun tricks. The only performance you will witness are animals demonstrating their natural behavior and movement. You can walk through their domain, feed and stroke them, and let them sit on your shoulder. The primates’ antics are especially amusing to watch.
Feed The Animals
The residents of Monkey Park are a voracious bunch, and visitors are allowed to feed them. If you stay long enough, you’ll quickly figure out which animal prefers what food. Some like bread or seeds, while others want biscuits.
Please do not bring any food for the animals. One of the first things you’ll find as you walk into Monkey Park is a basket full of animal snacks for sale. We recommend buying as many as you can because no matter how much you bring inside, you’ll wish you brought more. Plus, the park has no souvenir shop, so all the earnings from the food go back to the park and its animals.
Help And Understand Conservation Efforts
Because Monkey Park uses its earnings to sustain the animals and fund conservation projects, a visit helps support these undertakings. The process of breeding is one pursuit that is especially costly and complicated. It’s not as simple as putting opposite genders of the same species in an enclosure. Behind the scenes, a breeding program takes a lot of planning and effort.
In addition, a family trip to Monkey Park is a great way to expose both adults and kids to the vast variety of animals on the planet. It’s also an excellent teaching moment about the story of each animal living in the park, their habits, current status, and diet. You’ll also learn the importance of animal care and conservation, and the impact humans have on nature.
Moreover, this zoo allows guests, especially kids, to immerse themselves in the animals’ lives. It’s a fun learning environment where children can absorb an incredible amount of knowledge, as all their senses will be engaged in the surroundings. They will see what the animals look like, as well as learn their scents, sounds, and how they feel to touch. A genuinely multi-sensory way to learn and one they won’t forget.
Large, more commercial animal parks like Loro Parque receive hoards of tourists every day, which may be overwhelming to some. If you’d rather avoid the crowds, the much smaller Monkey Park is a more suitable attraction to visit. Here, guests can connect with nature better, as there’s a lot less bustle and there’s no need to rush. You can take as much time as you want admiring the animals and being around them.
Entrance Fees and Opening Hours
Monkey Park is open from 9:30 AM to 4:00 PM every day, all year round. Adult visitors ages 13 and up can enjoy the wildlife park for €10, while children between 5 to 12 years old need only pay €5. On the other hand, kids from 0 to 4 get in free.
How to Reach Monkey Park
The Monkey Park is located in the south of Tenerife, with GPS Coordinates: 28°03’37.5″N 16°41’34.0″W. By car or taxi, it’s only about 6 minutes away from the center of Los Cristianos and 10 minutes from Playa Las Americas and Costa Adeje. You must get on the TF1 motorway, take exit 69 for TF-66 going to Valle San Lorenzo, and drive along TF-662 until you reach the destination.
If you’re coming from the mentioned major tourist towns, you can also take bus line 467 to Avenida San Francisco, then walk along TF-655 and TF-662 for 12 to 20 minutes to reach the Monkey Park.
More Than Just a Monkey Park
While the main attractions in the Monkey Park are the primates, it is also home to many different interesting animals worth getting to know—some you can touch, others you can admire from a safe distance. Unlike other zoos, this wildlife center does not do any shows and will not tempt you to buy cute souvenirs. Rather, it gives a more authentic and unforgettable experience by allowing visitors to interact with some animals, such as the ring-tailed lemurs, iguanas, and guinea pigs.