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A Picnic with Primates

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Polonnaruwa, the ancient capital of Sri Lanka is renowned for its evocative ruins that speak volumes about the island’s colorful history. However, it is a little-known fact that this lost city is home to a massive monkey population living among its millennia-old ruins. These primates of Polonnaruwa were featured in Disney’s intriguing documentary film ‘Monkey Kingdom’. Meet Dr. Wolfgang Dittus, a much-decorated American primatologist or one of his colleagues who have been conducting research activities about the monkey population in Polonnaruwa for over 50 years, and learn about the unseen behavioral aspects of monkeys and the conservation work carried out by the Monkey Camp.

Experience Overview

Meet your host, Dr Dittus or one of his fellow researchers from the Smithsonian Primate Research Center at the Primate Centre Lodge, sharp at noon. The Primate Centre Lodge is located in close proximity to one of the great tanks in Polonnaruwa that stands still with occasional ripples created by the soothing wind. Learn about the special behavioral aspects of Sri Lanka’s dry zone diurnal primates – grey langur, purple-faced leaf monkey and toque macaque – and the significance of conserving their natural habitats despite the emerging crisis of human-monkey conflict. As you enjoy your picnic lunch, your host will explain about the efforts of the Smithsonian Primate Research Center in conserving the monkey community in the island’s dry zone and promoting sustainable solutions for effective wildlife management.

Includes: - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style

A host from the Primate Research Center and a picnic lunch

Duration: - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style

1.5 hours

Difficulty: - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style


Suitable for children: - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style
Suitable for children:

Yes, children that love the outdoors and wildlife will love this experience.

Times: - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style


What to wear or bring along: - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style
What to wear or bring along:

Cool, light clothing, caps, sunscreen and a camera

Private or not? - Experience - Sri Lanka In Style
Private or not?

This experience is private, that said there may be other people at the site.




Managing Expectations

It is important to remember that, whilst they are experts in their field, the people who run or host our experiences are not necessarily used to working in the tourism industry and may not offer the level of service you would find at a five-star hotel. For example, instead of a formal lecture, you may get a relaxed conversation where open discussion is encouraged. All of our hosts are, however, extremely engaging, knowledgeable and passionate about educating visitors about their chosen subject and we have worked with them to ensure that they deliver worthwhile, fulfilling experiences. We welcome feedback, so please let us know what you thought and if you think any improvements could be made to the experiences we offer.

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