|Small primates roam free in the park.|
I attribute this directly to a general lack of litigation lawyers and judges sympathetic to whining. The legal burden is directly on each individual to look out for his or her own personal safety. Like winners of the “Darwin Awards”, if you get hurt or killed doing something stupid in a public place, the Dutch legal system assumes you were not smart enough to stay in the gene pool.
This in mind, the owners of public attractions are not at the mercy of liability insurance policies or fear of litigation when they design their facilities. Things are allowed to be fun.
The Apenheul is a very special primate park. It was the first such park in the world to allow the animals to live in a forest-like setting and walk among the visitors. As an American, it was truly shocking to see these little guys in the bushes or trees right next to me.
I asked one of the zoo attendants if people ever get bitten. His response was, “Yes, of course, especially if they try to touch or pick-up the monkeys.” How long do you think this place would stay open back in the States?
The children were mesmerized. They stood in awe of these little creatures: fascinated by their speed, enamored by their play, terrified by their fights. Everything happened all around them, right where they could see it, sometimes even at their feet.
Did we get bitten? Yes, twice. Walt and I were both nipped when we let the squirrel monkeys get a little too close. (Walt would like me to place a disclaimer here that he was innocently repacking our bag when a monkey came up behind him and nipped him and was not being foolish in any way). I should also add that none of the children were nipped. This is most likely because they had enough sense to step back when the monkeys came in for a closer look, not shove a camera in their little faces like their mommy. I also had a ring-tailed lemur use my head as a springboard on his way to another location. Was it all worth it? You bet!
|This is the little stinker who nipped me.|
If you would like to plan a trip, more information can be found at http://www.apenheul.nl/. Since the park is set up in a circle, we avoided the large crowd by visiting the exhibits in reverse order. This worked out perfectly. We had the park to ourselves for half of our visit. We brought a picnic lunch which we carried through the park in a special "monkey proof bag" provided for free by the entry staff. There were many nice picnic areas along the way to choose for a lunch location. The day was not cheap. Tickets for the five of us were 88.00 euros. It was money well spent. Our time there was priceless.
More photos, taken by a fellow blogger with a wonderful eye, can be found at http://www.tigscreations.com/blog/2010/08/15/apenheuls-squirrel-monkeys-like-diamonds/