Primal Instincts

Here’s why Animal Planet rocks: The perennially entertaining cable channel appeals equally to comedy lovers, crunchy granola types, and college stoners because it gives us humans a good look at real wildlife. Animals simply don’t act wild if they’re sleeping away their days in a small enclave of a zoo, or domesticated into submission for your personal look-at-my-crazy-pet benefit (hello, Paris Hilton’s kinkajou). They’re happiest (and therefore at their most entertaining) in the kind of setting they’d have enjoyed in their natural environs. If you want a taste of real wild animal action, switch off the telly and head straight to Monkey Jungle. At this only-in-Miami protected habitat, you’re the one in the zoo, my friend.

The howlers, squirrel monkeys, orangutans, gorillas, and capuchins that roam these 30 acres are in wildlife heaven. Tour the facility through the wire mesh tunnel, and watch our closest living relatives frolic. Throughout the day there are cool wildlife shows, wherein the monkeys exhibit natural behavior -- swimming and diving for fruit, making lots of noise, and generally whooping it up. The park is open every day from 9:30 to 5:00. Adult admission is $25.95, and kids ages three to nine get in for $19.95. Visit
Starts: Sept. 9. Daily; Mon., Feb. 2; Tue., Feb. 3, 2007
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Patrice Elizabeth Grell Yursik

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