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Last Wednesday was my birthday (a rip-roaring 28, thank you very much), but sadly, my hubby had to leave the country for a short business trip that day.  So, he promised to make it up to me this weekend with a surprise “date.”  Now, I love my husband’s surprises…they’re usually amazing and we have a blast!  So yesterday, when I woke up, Jamie informed me we were going to Apenheul…otherwise known as the Monkey Park!  Located in the northern section of the Netherlands, Apenheul is a monkey zoo where monkeys are allowed to roam about the park (only a few species are allowed to do this, the rest are separated from the visitors by moats or glass), and the entire place is devoted to monkeys, with a few other random animals here and there.  Let me just say, this place was AWESOME!!!  We went into the park and were immediately greeted by squirrel monkeys just hanging out, all over the place!  Jamie and I sat down on the stone ledge, and immediately monkeys jumped on us to say hi and hang out!  We didn’t manage to get a picture of the monkeys on me, but here is a great one of them on Jamie…so adorable!

Jamie and the Squirrel MonkeyAs you can see, the monkey has gone straight for the camera.  Those little guys are wily!  In the next few minutes, another one jumped on Jamie’s arm and wanted to play with the velcro on his jacket…open and close, open and close, open and close.  I think he liked the noise, but I’m pretty sure, after a while, he got angry that he couldn’t eat the velcro and ran off again.  Go figure.  Unfortunately, while the one squirrel monkey was playing with the velcro, another one was on his arm and BIT Jamie’s hand!  LOL.  Now Jamie has this tiny little bite mark on his knuckle from none other than a 2 pound squirrel monkey.  Jamie checked with the workers at Apenheul and they assured him that there was no worry, just to keep the bite mark clean so it wouldn’t get infected.  Since there are about 100 or so of these squirrel monkeys just running around, and kids are everywhere in that place, I imagine that they monkeys all have their shots and are VERY well taken care of.

Among the squirrel monkeys, there are also lemurs running around free, but those aren’t as friendly as the squirrel monkeys.  They were mostly interested in hanging out with playing with each other, and the humans were just getting in the way.  There were also orangutans, gorillas, Japanese macaques, and a bunch of other types of monkeys.  While the entrance fee was a bit steep (€18 per person), it was well worth it in my book!  The park also has a few cafe’s and places to get food and drink, plus a gift shop (of course), and is connected to a lovely park area with great flowers and landscaping.  The park is only open from March through October, so it is definitely a seasonal attraction.  Also, you can easily spend 3-4 hours in this park, just relaxing and walking, really taking in the atmosphere and the animals, so if you go, be sure to plan ahead and get there with plenty of time!

Once again, Jamie did an awesome job with the surprise, and now we have the pictures (and scars) to show for a great day!

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