Our family day out to Howletts Wild Animal Park, Kent

With my own two monkeys in tow we decided to visit Howletts wild animal park.

We headed straight for the ­gorillas and found ourselves entranced.

Amber, eight, and Jacob, 20 months, loved watching dozens of these ­marvellous creatures loll about  in the summer sunshine.

Howletts is a great day out for families because there is so much to see. No matter how busy it gets, you still have plenty of space to walk around at your own pace.

To give you some idea of its size, it contains the largest herd of African elephants in Europe. There are 14 of them and the fact they breed indicates they are relaxed and happy in their surroundings.

We spent four hours on the site, near Canterbury in Kent, and saw all kinds of creatures from a grizzled leaf monkey to Barbary lions.

This big cat became extinct in the wild after the last one was shot in North Africa in 1922.

Like many zoos today, Howletts  concentrates on endangered species and breeding programmes.

It began in 1957 as a millionaire’s private ­menagerie but went public in the 70s and is now one of the sites of the Aspinall Wild Animal Park.

It is run as a charity by the group www.aspinallfoundation.org and aims to preserve wildlife.