Monkeying Around at Barbados Wildlife Reserve
Imagine a place where diverse wildlife are allowed to roam freely, interacting not only with one another but also with the people visiting the reserve. You walk down a brick path lined with mahogany trees and a family of monkeys come jumping out in front of you. Red brocket deer walk past close enough to touch without a care in the world, completely unafraid of your presence. Tortoises saunter slowly down the path and rest in the cool dirt, peacocks show off their beautiful colors, and a giant python sleeps the day away.
These are just some of the things you will see when you visit the Barbados Wildlife Reserve, an open area where these animals and other animal species are able to live freely without a cage, with the exception of the snakes and exotic birds. Easily one of my favorite activities so far in Barbados, I fell in love with the rambunctious green monkeys and the peaceful tortoises. If you want to really see the monkeys in action, schedule your visit for around 2pm. This is feeding time for all of the animals on the reserve and you’ll get to see the park staff dump a mountain of raw food and watch as all the animals come out to eat and play. Before you step back to let a deer pass by, be sure you don’t run into this little guy that’s right behind you!
As a traveler that tries to be conscious of ethical, cruelty-free animal tourism options I was pleased with the set up of the wildlife reserve here in Barbados. While there were some things that I think could have been changed (the exotic birds and snakes were kept in small enclosures and the alligators in small ponds), this place is doing pretty well compared to most zoos. The majority of the animals are allowed to roam freely and are well fed, with the monkeys having the freedom to leave the reserve, coming and going as they please, at all times of day.
With your admission fee, you’re also able to take a short walk up to visit the Grenade Hall signal station and explore the surrounding forest.
While going to the zoos in Canada breaks my heart, this walk-through “zoo” left me feeling refreshed and happy that at least here in Barbados, some places are making an effort to be more humane. Watching all the animals come from around the reserve during feeding time was like watching all of the animals come out of the woods in a fairytale. Getting to be up close and personal with so many little creatures was a magical experience and one that I would recommend to anyone else visiting.