Sunday, April 23, 2017

I found my thrill at Monkey Hill-- Affenberg Salem


Bill made friends with a monkey today!

Sometimes I see people suggesting fun activities for people with kids.  Then I feel sad because I don't have kids, even though I am a big kid myself.  I kept seeing people referring to a place called Monkey Hill down near the Bodensee and commenting on how much fun it is to visit there and feed monkeys.  It sounded like something I'd love, even though I don't have any wee ones.  Luckily, I have a very indulgent husband.

Although the weather was a little chilly this morning and there were clouds in the sky, we decided we were going to go see some primates come hell or high water.  We left the house at about 11:30am and headed down 81.  After driving past the lake and through a few quaint towns, we arrived at Affenberg Salem at a couple of minutes past one o'clock.  The parking lot was full of cars.  Some guy gave us a dirty look because Bill accidentally turned a way he wasn't supposed to.  I returned the dirty look and laughed hysterically when the guy saw me glaring at him and reacted with surprise.


You gotta finish your smokes, food, and drinks before you enter.

We found a parking spot and paid nine euros each for admission.  Then we set off into the park, where ducks, swans, fish, water bats, and other water fowl cavort in a large lake.  Not having been to Monkey Hill before, I wasn't sure when we'd be seeing the monkeys, but I had a good time feeding the huge fish with the free food provided.


One handful, please!


Loads of huge carp in this lake.



Feeding frenzy!


Stork nests are everywhere!



They have bats, too.



I was getting a kick out of the territorial swans.


Ever present rapeseed will soon turn my nose into a faucet.

As we approached the area where the monkeys were, a lady announced the rules in German.  Somehow she knew we weren't German and offered us a book with the rules translated in English.  It was good to read them, since the monkeys are smart and engaging with them improperly can lead to disaster.  She said her trusty book had the rules translated into about 30 languages.  I guess they get people from all over the place, although I didn't think the park was super commercial the way Apenheul in Apeldoorn, The Netherlands was.  Although Apenheul is larger and has more types of monkeys than Monkey Hill does, it's also more expensive and not as interactive.  Apenheul felt more like a theme park.


The signage in the park is translated into German, French, and English.  They also use a lot of illustrations.  


This dude was sitting at the beginning of the route.  I guess he was the boss.  He got a lot of attention.


These monkeys were all sitting on the route, waiting for people to hand them pieces of the free popcorn the handlers pass out.  When you give it to them, they take it very gently.  I felt like I was handing popcorn to a small child.  



Touching family portrait.


Spot the monkey in the photo!


It's not a bad life.


This was an interesting graphic showing everybody typical monkey behaviors.  Bill got a kick out of #9.

I had only one piece of popcorn left.  It was small and one of the employees told me in German, then English, that the monkeys don't like the small pieces.  Oh well.  If you visit, I recommend rationing your popcorn.  You will run into monkeys along the trail who will be hoping for a treat and aren't at the top of the pecking order.  Also, if you understand German, you can stop and listen to the keepers talk about the care and feeding of the monkeys.  I found myself understanding snippets of things I heard.  It reminded me of tuning in to a staticky radio station.  I'd catch bits and pieces of things and the rest was all distorted.



Welcome to the Monkey House.


I didn't see any snakes.  I'm glad.




There are deer here, living a nice lifestyle.


So many storks!



After you stroll around the monkey park, you can stop by the biergarten for lunch.  There are brats, schnitzels, pretzels, cakes, and all manner of beverages.  There's also a play area for kids aged 3 to 12.




I was intrigued by the trees.








Parking and bathrooms are free of charge, too!

We had a great time at Monkey Hill, though we didn't spend too long there.  They have a few indoor activities to include a film room.  There's also a large gift shop, though we skipped it.  Obviously, this activity is very popular with kids and we saw a lot of them today, although it's also fun for big kids.  I did see some people with strollers, too, though I don't think you're supposed to take them into the monkey enclosure.  This activity doesn't have to take long, either.  We were there for less than two hours, although we could have taken more time to enjoy the park.  Afterwards, if you're not ready to head back to Stuttgart, you can always go check out the lake.  Monkey Hill is very close to the Bodensee.   

It was fairly crowded today; I imagine it gets packed in warm weather.  The park is a great activity for Sundays and holidays.  Below is a video I took of some monkeys playing.  I could have stood there all day and filmed their antics.


These monkeys were a lot of fun!


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