Where Can I Hold a Monkey in the U.S.?

Want to hold a monkey? If you are an animal lover and are looking to pet or hold a monkey there are a few places that let you get up and close and personal with one.

The following is a list of places where you can hold a monkey in the U.S.:

Myrtle Beach Safari:

Address: 851 Folly Ranch Ln, Myrtle Beach, SC

Website: myrtlebeachsafari.com

Founded in 1982, Myrtle Beach Safari is a 50-acre wildlife tropical preserve in South Myrtle Beach that features big cats, elephants, monkeys and more.

The facility offers five types of animal encounters during which you can hold or pet a monkey and other animals: Wildlife Encounter Day Tour, Night Safari, Photo Encounters, African Safari, and Private Encounters.

The Wildlife Encounter Day Tour is a three-hour safari during which guests meet a liger, feed an elephant, hold a baby tiger, meet an eagle, meet a cheetah and hold a monkey.

The Night Safari is a 2 to 3 hour nighttime safari during which guests enjoy a light dinner and then hand-feed big cats, meet an elephant, hold a monkey and roast marshmallows with chimpanzees.

The Photo Encounter is a photo opp at the Safari Lodge during which guests can hold a baby tiger, a baby chimpanzee, a capuchin monkey or a wolf pup while photographers take photos of the guests.

It is not known what the African Safari entails because the page describing the encounter on the park’s website is not loading properly due to technical issues.

The Private Encounters is a one-hour one-on-one experience where guests can play with baby chimpanzees, swim in a heated pool with a tiger, or swim in a river with an elephant and then enjoy a pizza party with the elephant.

Myrtle Beach Safari is owned by Doc Antle, an animal trainer who was featured on the Netflix documentary Tiger King and was the subject of a three-part true crime documentary spin-off of Tiger King, titled Tiger King: The Doc Antle Story.

A word of warning about the park, in 2020 and 2022, Antle was indicted on Federal charges of wildlife trafficking, animal cruelty, violation of the Endangered Species Act and money laundering and has also been accused of sexual misconduct and predatory behavior by several women employed at the park.

North Georgia Wildlife & Safari Park:

Address: 2912 Paradise Valley Rd, Cleveland, GA

Website: www.northgeorgiazoo.com

Founded in 2010, the North Georgia Wildlife & Safari Park is a wildlife and safari park in Georgia that is home to more than 400 animals.

The park also has one of the largest petting zoos in Georgia and offers many types of animal encounters such as a wolf pup experience or baby sloth experience.

The park also offers a Primate and Friends encounter which is a 30 to 45 minute experience during which guests can hold and interact with a variety of different primates and animals such as gibbon, bushbaby, capuchin and lemurs.

The North Georgia Wildlife & Safari Park is owned by husband and wife team Tom and Hope Bennett.

Zootastic Park:

Address: 448 Pilch Road, Troutman, NC 

Website: www.zootasticpark.com

Zootastic Park is a wildlife park, drive-thru safari and zoo in North Carolina that features exotic animals such as lions, leopards, tigers, giraffes, monkeys and more.

The park offers a variety of animal encounters, including monkey encounters. The monkey encounters offered at the park are the Super Safari, a Safari, and a 15-minute Encounter with a Baby Animal of your choosing.

The Super Safari encounter is a 60-minute adventure during which guests can play with lemurs, kangaroos, armadillos and two of the following: spider monkey, two-toed sloths, lynx kitten, Fennec fox, or a Howler monkey.

The Safari encounter is a 60-minute adventure during which guests can play with lemurs, kangaroos, armadillos and one of the following: two-toed sloth, spider monkey, Fennec fox, Lynx kitten or a Howler monkey.

The 15-minute Encounter with a Baby Animal includes an encounter with one of the following baby animals: armadillos, kangaroo, kinkajou, Fennec fox, black and white ruffed lemur, spider monkey, Howler monkey, two-toed sloth or a Lynx kitten.

A word of warning about the park, Zootastic Park was repeatedly cited by United States Department of Agriculture officials for animal welfare violations in 2016, 2020, 2021 and 2022.

In addition, in 2014, a visitor was gored by a wildebeest at the park and, in 2018, multiple visitors were injured when a 100-foot tree fell on a wagon carrying passengers through the drive-thru safari.

Zootastic Park is owned by North Carolina businessman Scottie Brown.

Tanganyika Wildlife Park:

Address: 1000 S Hawkins Ln, Goddard, KS

Website: twpark.com

Tanganyika Wildlife Park is an interactive wildlife park in Kansas that features over 500 animals.

The park provides a very hands-on experience with feeding stations where you can feed, and sometimes even pet, a variety of different animals as well as take part in a number of different animal encounters.

The park offers an Owl Monkey Meet & Greet which is a 20-minute experience during which guests meet an owl monkey, feed and help train the monkey and have their photo taken with it.

Tanganyika Wildlife Park is accredited by the Zoological Association of America and achieved humane certification for animal welfare by the American Humane organization in 2017.

Tanganyika Wildlife Park is owned and directed by Jim and Matt Fouts.

Bee City Zoo:

Address: 1066 Holly Ridge Ln, Cottageville, SC

Website: www.beecityzoo.com

Founded over 30 years ago, Bee City Zoo is a bee farm and interactive zoo in South Carolina.

The zoo features a reptile center, bee farm and zoo where guests can hand-feed a number of different types of animals.

The zoo also features animal encounters which are 15, 45 or 60 minute private encounters with a few animals of your choosing, which include:

Kangaroo

Spider Monkey

Sloth

Armadillo

Raccoon

Cavy

Kinkajo

Reptiles

Ringtail Lemur

Bee City Zoo is owned by local beekeeper Scott Biering.

Exotic Animal Experience:

Address: Orlando, Florida

Website: www.exoticanimalexperience.net

Established in 2010, Exotic Animal Experience is a 7-acre private zoo in Florida that features exotic animals such as monkeys, kangaroos, lemurs, sloths and more.

The zoo offers a number of different types of animal encounters, such as sloth, kangaroo and lemur encounters, as well as an encounter with a spider monkey named Ella Bleu.

The Ella Bleu Tornado encounter is a 30-minute encounter with a spider monkey during which guests can play and cuddle with the monkey.

Exotic Animal Experience is owned by Leslie-Ann Rush.

Zoological Wildlife Foundation:

Address: 16225 SW 172nd Ave, Miami, FL

Website: zoologicalwildlifefoundation.com

Established in 2000, the Zoological Wildlife Foundation is a zoo in Florida that features rare and endangered animals such as leopards, alligators, monkeys, tigers, jaguars, lions and more.

The zoo offers a number of different animal encounters such as a serval encounter, a cougar cub encounter, a lion cub encounter, a sloth encounter as well as a primate experience and a primate encounter.

The Primate Experience is a one-hour experience with the zoo’s various primates. During the encounter, guests will enjoy a 30 minute play session with young primates and then a 30 minute tour of the primate’s enclosure where they will watch adult and baby primates in their natural habitat.

The Primate Encounter is a five minute interaction with a primate of your choosing.

Mario Tabraue is the co-founder and president of the Zoological Wildlife Foundation.

Tree Top Exotics:

Address: 6950 Cleary Pines Trail, West Palm Beach, FL

Website: treetopexotics.com

Established over 20 years ago, Tree Top Exotics is a supplier of exotic animals in Florida. The company allows visitors to tour their facility to view their animals, which include Fennec foxes, monkeys, tortoises and Kinajous.

Visitors are allowed to hold and feed the monkeys and also enter the Fennec fox enclosure to view the foxes up close.

Sources:
Exotic Animal Encounter.” Exotic Animal Experience, exoticanimalexperience.net/exotic-animal-encounter.html
About.” Bee City Zoo, beecityzoo.com/about
Owl Monkey Meet & Greet.” Tanganyika Wildlife Park, twpark.com/owl-monkey-meet-and-greet/
Tanganyika Wildlife Park Achieves Humane Certification for Animal Welfare.” American Humane, 31 Aug. 2017, americanhumane.org/press-release/tanganyika-wildlife-park-achieves-humane-certification-for-animal-welfare/
Animal Experience Booking.” North Georgia Wildlife & Safari Park, northgeorgiazoo.com/wildlife-park-experiences.html
Hunter, Lauren. “Small Business Spotlight: North Georgia Wildlife Park and Zoo.” Access WDUN, 27 May. 2020, accesswdun.com/article/2020/5/905926/small-business-spotlight-north-georgia-wildlife-park-and-zoo
Bouza, Kat. “Doc Antle, Zoo Owner from ‘Tiger King,’ Indicted for Alleged Wildlife Trafficking, Money Laundering.” Rolling Stone Magazine, 30 June. 2022, rollingstone.com/culture/culture-news/doc-antle-tiger-king-fbi-arrest-1363147/
Dellinger, Derek. “Federal Officials Cite ‘Critical’ Issues with Zootastic Park, But Owner Says There Is More to the Story.” Fox46.com, fox46.com/news/u-s/north-carolina/iredell-county/troutman/federal-officials-cite-critical-issues-with-zootastic-park-but-owner-says-there-is-more-to-the-story/
USDA Cites Zootastic After 3 Primates Suffered Frostbite.” WSOC-TV, 15 April. 2022, wsoctv.com/news/local/usda-cites-zootastic-after-3-primates-suffered-frostbite/Y7XW42LZLFFB7EOCE6XZ64JLQY/
Bell, Bria. “Multiple People Injured After Tree Falls on Wagon at Zootastic Park in Iredell County.” WBTV, 14 April. 2018, wbtv.com/story/37957665/multiple-people-injured-after-tree-falls-on-wagon-at-zootastic-park-in-iredell-county/
Rosario, Sarah. “Visitor Recalls Watching Wildebeest Gore Woman at Zoo.”
The Atlanta Journal Constitution, 10 Nov. 2014, ajc.com/news/national/visitor-recalls-watching-wildebeest-gore-woman-zoo/wGfzrtceDW6gGw1HDc381O/
Animal Encounters.” Zootastic Park, zootasticpark.com/animal-encounters.html#

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