Ditch the Zoo, visit a Sanctuary

We all love animals. They are cute, fun to watch and great for your Instagram pictures. The idea of a day out surrounded by them sounds great but if you really care about their welfare, you won’t necessarily enjoy seeing them in cages and in confined spaces. We have the ideal alternatives for you, and there are a few near Plymouth!!

The Monkey Sanctuary

Murrayton House | St Martins, Looe PL13 1NZ, England

Wild Futures Monkey Sanctuary offers a safe haven for monkeys. It is nestled into the side of the south Cornish coast between Looe and Seaton and it cares for a range of different species of rescued monkeys.

They have 37 monkeys at the moment and they have all been directly or indirectly rescued from the trade in primates as pets.

You can take a tour around the monkey enclosures and learn about these fascinating animals from the team of expert carers. It’s not just monkeys though! You can also take a walk around the beautiful Wildlife Gardens and check out the sea view. It is a great day out to forget about assessments and exams.

The entry is only 7 pounds for students and you can come back as many times as you want for the next year.

These are some of the reviews we found in TripAdvisor:


“You can’t fault this place and I struggle to see how you can’t give it 5 stars.

Everything has been set up for the benefit of the residents and when you hear some of the stories of what the individual monkeys have gone through you should understand.

It isn’t a typical zoo where it is focused around the visitors, but the knowledge and empathy of the staff and volunteers is amazing.”

A special place

“The Monkey Sanctuary is a gentle place and very much one of those special finds. Unspoilt and very simplistic. The work they achieve here through their commitment and dedication to the monkeys in their care is heart warming. We enjoyed some delicious vegetarian pasties and cups of tea. Ample seating/benches outside.”

Well worth it

“Initially we thought £9 each was a bit steep, but having spent a good couple of hours here we were wrong. Luckily we had checked the website as we had originally planned to go midweek, but in October they are only open at weekends.

The monkeys are so well cared for and their enclosures couldn’t be faulted. There was so much to see for adults and children alike. The staff are knowledgeable and helpful. It’s so sad that so many monkeys have had difficult starts but this place is certainly giving them all a happier life.

Of course no visit should end without a visit to the cafe and this didn’t disappoint either. The coffee was perfect, strong and hot. Would we recommend this for a visit? Most certainly.”


Buckfast Butterfly Farm and Dartmoor Otter Sanctuary

Dart Bridge Road, Buckfastleigh, Dartmoor National Park TQ11 0DZ, England

In this sanctuary, you can enjoy and learn about tropical butterflies as you become part of their specially designed habitat. You not only see the butterflies but feel the rainforest atmosphere that they enjoy as you see their amazing life cycle unfold.

In the Otter Sanctuary there are three species of otter to see, the native British otter, the playful Asian short clawed otters and the large North American river otters who love to show off. Their keeper is on hand to explain all about the otters, some are there for breeding, some for retirement, some just for fun and some because they are unsuitable to be returned to the wild.

The Butterfly Farm and Otter Sanctuary is just outside the southern border of Dartmoor National Park between Exeter and Plymouth and is easily reached just off the A38 Devon Expressway at the Dart Bridge junction. They have free parking, a cafe and picnic areas. If you’re looking for things to do in Dartmoor, Devon, this unique attraction is a hidden gem.

These are some of the reviews we found on TripAdvisor:

Surprising Gem of a find

“We booked to attend with our steam train ticket, and went in after, it was such a great treat to watch the otters feeding time, and a great informative talk from the staff who clearly knew so much and really cared for the otters, We learnt so much and really enjoyed it. The butterflies were amazing to watch too.”

Incredible day!!

“This place is just amazing! I did a meet and greet with the otters and it was just incredible! The staff were extremely helpful and friendly, all very clearly dedicated. I got to meet all the otters as well as feed them, some of them from inside their enclosures which was truly amazing! It was such a hands on experience, with one of the otters in particular venturing onto my lap! Truly magical day, such an original experience!!! Would highly recommend!!!”

Butterfly and Otters

“Lovely little place tucked away next to the Railway station at Buckfastleigh. Lovely to watch the otters being fed and to see the beautiful butterflies. Although the building is looking tired and a bit shabby its definitely worth a visit.”

Adults pay 8.50 for their entry to The Butterfly Farm and Otter Sanctuary. Make sure to bring your camera!


Ponderosa Pony Rescue

Military lane, PL3 6 Plymouth, United Kingdom

The Ponderosa Pony rescue is a non profit horse and pony rescue located at Colony farm, Efford, Plymouth. They are dedicated to the care and re-homing of horses and ponies that are abandoned, mistreated or going to slaughter. They try to adopt out as many animals as possible to loving knowledgeable homes. They are 100% volunteer run and with the help of donations they receive, they put to vets bills, the dentist or hay and feed.

If you love horses and fancy a day out in the field go and visit them. Don’t hold back on the carrots.

These are some reviews of the place that we found in facebook:

“Great place and freindly they love each and everyone of the horses and ponies they work brilliantly with the public in the community I have never felt at home as I do with the people and the horses that need us as much as we need them,its amazing to see how far they’ve come in such little time xjx ps this place is one in a million xoxo”

“Live up the road from this place and have just seen that they are being slatted we’ll Iv spoken to them and they are really friendly and all the ponies and horses are well looked after and I also see them being walked so they are not doing a bad job and in all fair ness I think they are doing a great job.”












Image by Hamish Irvine

One Comment

on “Ditch the Zoo, visit a Sanctuary
One Comment on “Ditch the Zoo, visit a Sanctuary
  1. Así, deberían estar todos los animales, protegidos. Me encantaría visitar “The Monkey Sanctuary” en mi próximo viaje a Plymouth. Buen trabajo.

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