I admire the work undertaken here, and I am always really inspired by what has been achieved by the vision and dedication of an exceptional man - Jim Cronin. As this is a place close to my own heart, I decided to follow up on this class visit and take my own two little monkeys to visit the primates!
With the Mountain Buggy terrain loaded up with enough food and snacks for an army of monkeys (I am so thankful for the large zip covered gear tray), we head into the centre to explore. There really is so much to do here that we didn’t know where to start. The children were definitely drawn towards the fantastic play areas, and I did get the feeling that at times they were more interested in acting like monkeys, than seeing the monkeys!
Sitting watching the children play, I soaked up the atmosphere and took a moment to fully appreciate the blood, sweat and no doubt tears that had gone into what has been accomplished here. This is such a clear example of someone making a decision that they want to make a difference and then having the passion to see it through. Unfortunately Jim passed away in 2007, but his presence is definitely still felt at the centre, and his legacy lives on as his team now continue on this valuable work.
Jim and his amazing team have created a stable, safe and permanent home, free of neglect and abuse for over 240 primates. Each enclosure has been created to allow the primates to move in the way they would in the wild. It really is such a joy to watch them play and interact and in moments like this it is very easy to forget how hard life must once have been for them.
After several hours of playing and exploring my two little monkeys are worn out. With Hannah skipping alongside the terrain and Joshua fast asleep we head back to the car. Thank you Jim for creating such a wonderful space for us to enjoy and for demonstrating that one man really can make a difference and change the world!