Best Toddler Moment of our Germany Trip – Affenberg Salem

Feeding the Apes in Affenburg

The weather in Germany, with rain showers daily, hasn’t been ideal for touring. Try standing at a bus station with a soaking wet toddler and explaining that the bus still won’t be here for 20 minutes and you’ll understand. When I saw Affenburg Salem, a trail that leads through the home area of about 200 monkeys, on our schedule, I almost skipped it. I wasn’t sure if the train and bus ride would be worth the zoo-like experience, especially in the heavy rain that we were getting that morning. How naive was I? Affenburg is nothing like a zoo and more like being in the Planet of the Apes. It was the best toddler, and mommy, experience of the trip. Having hands-on opportunities like this one give more meaning to travel and are well-worth a few uncomfortable minutes in the rain. 

The Barbary apes live freely in a 20 acre wooded area called Monkey Mountain in Affenburg Salem. The home of the Barbary apes is Morocco and Algeria where they live in mountainous areas at altitudes of 2000 meters. The climatic conditions on Monkey Mountain are very similar so that the Barbary apes are able to live outdoors all year round.

We were not only able to see the apes in their natural environment, but we could also observe their natural behavior. We even witnessed mommy apes carrying babies on their backs and caring for them. I reflected on our journey through Germany and felt a lot like the mommy ape. I was carrying Athena along our path and showing her the way.

Athena Feeding the Apes in Affenburg

The most unbelievable part of the experience was hand feeding the apes. Athena stood a few feet away from apes and reached out without fear to feed them. I watched her put the specially-brewed popcorn in her hand and place it before the ape to eat. When the ape, about the same size as Athena, reached out and picked up the popcorn, Athena watched without flinching. She smiled and asked for more.

Athena Feeding the Apes in Affenburg

We are teaching Athena that there is more to life than video games and cell phones or even classrooms. While I respect what she’ll learn from teachers at pre-school and eventually school, first-hand experiences like this have a way of shaping a child’s memory and life. She is gaining both education and experience and reaching out eagerly for it. I too am growing in leaps and bounds just watching life through her eyes.


****Our trip to Germany is sponsored by the German National Tourist Board but all thoughts, ideas, and options are my own.***

26 thoughts on “Best Toddler Moment of our Germany Trip – Affenberg Salem

  1. At two she may not remember the experiences, but as you said, they will help shape her life and and her future encounters with different cultures, different animals and the joys of adventure in the great outdoors.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Very cool experience, Lesley! Our German exchange student returned to Munich in June; Germany is now on my Bucket list. 😉 We booked our trip to Fiji, with the tickets I won here… we are going Oct. 10th. Right now we’re going crazy figuring out which islands and where to stay… Can’t wait!


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