Monkey Park (Israeli Primate Sanctuary Foundation) is an organization that rescues and rehabilitates monkeys. And you can take the kids for a visit. Let’s begin exploring!
- Do not confuse between Monkey Forest in Yodfat and Monkey Park in Ben Shemen (this place).
- If you want to find additional info about animals and wildlife, check out Zoos and Aquariums in Israel.
Monkey Park is located in Kfar Daniel, or more exactly in Ben Shemen forest (not far from Ramla).
To get to Monkey Park, take road #4314 towards Kfar Daniel, and before reaching Kfar Daniel, you will see a sign to Monkey Park. You will turn to the right to a dirt road, and after several hundred meters, you will reach the free parking in front of the entrance.
Map of the area:
Weekdays and Saturdays: 10:00 – 18:00 (box office is open till 16:00).
Friday: 10:00 – 16:00 (box office is open till 14:00).
Weekdays and Saturdays: 10:00 – 17:00 (box office is open till 15:00).
Friday: 10:00 – 16:00 (box office is open till 14:00).
The price is 48 NIS per person. Pensioners / disabled people – 24 NIS.
- Everyone aged 2 years old and above has to purchase a ticket.
- Opening hours and ticket prices were updated in February 2021. In any case, recheck the official site before visiting.
Most Israeli credit card firms offer discounts. For example, Leumi Card offers 1+1. And Visa Cal offers entrance tickets for 36 NIS. But different coupon sites also offer discounts. For instance, at cpnclub.co.il you can buy tickets for 37 NIS per person.
When Monkey park opened about two decades ago, it was quite promising. But over the years, the number of species decreased, and now there are only about ten different species (probably fewer) of monkeys. For some reason, the management decided to invest in a playground for children and not the monkeys or educational activities. So, now they are not the best at anything (there are better playgrounds and better animal-related attractions).
Moreover, it is overpriced. At 48 NIS per person (everybody aged 2 and above need a ticket), you can find better alternatives. For comparison, the entrance to Haifa Educational Zoo is cheaper, and Jerusalem zoo is not much more expensive. So shortly, you are not getting value for money.
So after such a harsh introduction, you might be asking why we revisited the Monkey Park. I had a chance to buy tickets at a very discounted price, so I did.
The Rescue and Education Center is an organization that rescues and rehabilitates monkeys. Since 1996, the center receives monkeys that the police and the authorities have seized after being held in violation of the law and under difficult conditions. They also host monkeys who left the research labs and any other monkeys in need of help.
Most of the monkey sanctuary is closed to visitors and allows monkeys to live their lives peacefully. In the open section, tours are conducted for private visitors, schools, kindergartens, and adult groups where visitors learn about the rescue center’s activities and meet some of the groups of monkeys. Children can also enjoy a large gym, an extreme sports area, a creative corner, and other seasonal activities.
The monkey shelter team works day and night to ensure that every monkey that comes to the rescue center has a good future and lives with other monkeys. As these intelligent animals with high cognitive abilities deserve, complex social life and developed emotions. We want you to know our monkeys as they behave. They pick up food that we prepared for them or the food they find in the area where they live and sometimes do nothing – like the rest of us! So in our monkey shelter, monkeys are not in a “petting zoo”! The visitors do not throw them food and do not touch them.
Source: official site
At Israeli Primate Sanctuary
This park is specializing in various monkeys. A unique feature of this park is that most monkeys in the park were saved (from hunters, diseases, experiments, and so on). Thus, one positive thing about this park (especially for photographers 😉 ) is that most animals are not behind bars (or you are allowed to enter their cages). Thus, there are no bars and fences between you and the monkeys.
One important note is that when you buy tickets, ask about tours. Usually, you can join a short tour at the beginning of the visit. And towards the end of your visit, you have to be accompanied by a guide to pass through the Squirrel monkeys area.
At our first stop, we fed the monkeys with olive tree leaves. The monkeys learned to pull the rope until they get the branch.
Here we are, just before the end, you enter a big territory with Squirrel monkeys. You are not allowed to go by yourself and wait for an instructor. Usually, a group leaves every half an hour.
While you wonder on the premises, the squirrel monkeys are jumping above you on the trees. They do not seem afraid of humans and can come quite close (as close as several meters). Thus, you do not need a big zoom lens 😉
How Big Is Monkey Park?
The park is not big, and a typical visit will take 1 – 2 hours. Maybe more if you come with kids and make a long stop at the playground.
You can find Squirrel Monkeys at Hay Park in Kiryat Motzkin and Monkey Forest. Another splendid animal-related attraction is Gan Garoo – an Australian Park in Nir David. And to see a full list check out Zoos and Aquariums in Israel. You can also browse the map at the top of this post for nearby attractions.
Having a place like the Israeli Primate Sanctuary Foundation is important. But from the touristic point of view, this place could be much better. Thus, you can either buy discounted tickets (see coupons section above), and this way, you will feel that you get adequate value for money. Or you can donate money on the official website for the cause and visit another place.
Have you ever visited Monkey Park in Ben Shemen Forest? Tell us about your experience in the comments below.
That’s all for today, and I’ll see you in future travels!
Additional ResourcesHere are several resources that I created to help travelers:
- Israel Trip Planner is the page that will help you to create your perfect travel route.
- National Parks And Nature Reserves page lists and put all national parks on the map. There is also a top list, information about ticket types and campsites.
- If you are looking for things to do, here are the pages for Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, Sea Of Galilee, and Makhtesh Ramon.
- Wondering what events are there in Israel? Here is the Events And Festivals By Season guide.