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Visitors take a guided tour of Abenteuer Affenberg, or Adventure Monkey Mountain, on Aug. 20, 2013. Located in Villach, Austria, the park is home to 145 Japanese macaques that roam freely and interact with guides and guests Aug. 20, 2013.
Visitors take a guided tour of Abenteuer Affenberg, or Adventure Monkey Mountain, on Aug. 20, 2013. Located in Villach, Austria, the park is home to 145 Japanese macaques that roam freely and interact with guides and guests Aug. 20, 2013. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
Visitors take a guided tour of Abenteuer Affenberg, or Adventure Monkey Mountain, on Aug. 20, 2013. Located in Villach, Austria, the park is home to 145 Japanese macaques that roam freely and interact with guides and guests Aug. 20, 2013.
Visitors take a guided tour of Abenteuer Affenberg, or Adventure Monkey Mountain, on Aug. 20, 2013. Located in Villach, Austria, the park is home to 145 Japanese macaques that roam freely and interact with guides and guests Aug. 20, 2013. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
One of the inhabitants of Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, is curious to see what everyone is looking at during a tour of the nine-acre habitat on Aug. 20, 2013.
One of the inhabitants of Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, is curious to see what everyone is looking at during a tour of the nine-acre habitat on Aug. 20, 2013. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
A delighted visitor has a close encounter with a Japanese macaque at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, where 145 Japanese macaques roam freely and interact with guides and guests.
A delighted visitor has a close encounter with a Japanese macaque at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, where 145 Japanese macaques roam freely and interact with guides and guests. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
Japanese macaques gather around a tour guide at Adventure Monkey Mountain, home to 145 of the primates.
Japanese macaques gather around a tour guide at Adventure Monkey Mountain, home to 145 of the primates. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
A mother and her infant  listen to the tour guide, while Oskar, in the background, a 20-year-old male, watches visitors to Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria.
A mother and her infant listen to the tour guide, while Oskar, in the background, a 20-year-old male, watches visitors to Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
Japanese macaques hoping for pieces of fruit surround the tour guide at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, on Aug. 20, 2013.
Japanese macaques hoping for pieces of fruit surround the tour guide at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, on Aug. 20, 2013. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
A lone Japanese macaque sits patiently in a tree, while visitors pass below at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, where 145 Japanese macaques roam freely and interact with guides and guests.
A lone Japanese macaque sits patiently in a tree, while visitors pass below at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, where 145 Japanese macaques roam freely and interact with guides and guests. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
A view of Castle Landskron from Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria. The castle has a birds of prey show that, combined with a visit to the monkey habitat, provides a day of up-close and personal encounters with animals.
A view of Castle Landskron from Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria. The castle has a birds of prey show that, combined with a visit to the monkey habitat, provides a day of up-close and personal encounters with animals. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
One of six infant Japanese macaques born this year at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, rides on its mother's back. Adventure Monkey Mountain is home to 145 Japanese macaques that roam freely in a nine-acre habitat.
One of six infant Japanese macaques born this year at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, rides on its mother's back. Adventure Monkey Mountain is home to 145 Japanese macaques that roam freely in a nine-acre habitat. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
A child watches a Japanese macaque munch on an apple at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, on Aug. 20, 2013.
A child watches a Japanese macaque munch on an apple at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria, on Aug. 20, 2013. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
A Japanese macaque sits a few feet from visitors at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria.
A Japanese macaque sits a few feet from visitors at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
A Japanese macaque strikes the perfect pose for a photo at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria.
A Japanese macaque strikes the perfect pose for a photo at Adventure Monkey Mountain in Villach, Austria. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
Two Japanese macaques sit by a pond and watch fellow macaques swim on the nine-acre habitat.
Two Japanese macaques sit by a pond and watch fellow macaques swim on the nine-acre habitat. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)
It's a photogenic moment at Adventure Monkey Mountain when a Japanese macaque takes a swim while eating a banana. The nine-acre habitat, in Villach, Austria, is home to 145 Japanese macaques.
It's a photogenic moment at Adventure Monkey Mountain when a Japanese macaque takes a swim while eating a banana. The nine-acre habitat, in Villach, Austria, is home to 145 Japanese macaques. (Jason Duhr/Stars and Stripes)

As the gate opened and we waited to begin our guided tour in Villach, Austria, we did not notice the Japanese macaque that had joined our group.

But the animal was soon spotted when a delighted child began cheering and laughing at the tour-crasher.

The macaque is among the 145 monkeys roaming freely in the enclosed nine-acre habitat known as Abenteuer Affenberg, or Adventure Monkey Mountain.

The habitat is home to tailless primates that are said to have come from Old World monkeys native to Asia and Africa. Many macaque species are considered endangered, but they are making a rebound, thanks to the help of Landskron, a private organization that providing a place for the species to live without being harmed by poachers or taken for animal testing. This year, six macaques were born and can be seen riding around on the backs of their mothers.

Monkey Mountain operates solely on admission fees and private donations.

Tours are usually conducted in German, but they are occasionally given in English. On German-language tours, English speakers are provided an information sheet that translates important facts and safety concerns discussed before and during the tour.

If you find yourself waiting for the next tour to start, there are plenty of covered picnic tables to relax on or even a sand pit and play area for overly excited children to enjoy.

Expect to see dozens of monkeys interacting and roaming freely within the tour group in hopes of receiving a piece of fruit from the guide. Interactions can include monkeys chasing and playing with each other, climbing and jumping from tree to tree or showing their level of rank within their order. They pose for pictures or dive in the local pond for apples or bananas.

The guide also demonstrates the animals’ ability to think and solve puzzles.

Only half of the park is open for guided tours. The other half of the park allows the animals to roam undisturbed.

Castle Landskron, home to a birds of prey show from April until October, is visible from within the park. The show occurs a few times daily and lasts approximately 40 minutes.

Visits to both sites combine breathtaking views of birds in flight, and close encounters with the primates.

Don’t limit yourself to these two attractions, however. Austria has the Kärnten Card, which offers discounts to specific tourist attractions in the country. A Kärnten Card is sold specifically for each region in Austria. Villach is part of Carinthia and has 16 tourist destinations associated with it. Visit the Kärnten website to find prices, tourist destinations and places to buy the card.

duhr.jason@stripes.com

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