So like, a few years ago, I was on this holiday in Wales.
And it was pretty nice, my family go there a lot, we stay in a caravan or sometimes like a little bed and breakfast and we just relax and have a nice time, like a week off from everything.
But this one year we were looking through this rack of leaflets about tourist destinations and we found this zoo, Folly Farm, which is really nice and you can see it at folly-farm.co.uk.
And they had orangutans at the time, but they don’t any more, as you can see on the list of animals they have on their website. My brother likes orangutans a LOT.
So we thought yeah great let’s take a trip to see some animals because the only other zoo any of us have been to is the one in Chester which is fine but we’ve seen it all, we wanna see some new fresh animal friends.
The way there was fun, we took a coach with lots of Welsh families on a day trip and we made a few friends and we still keep in contact with the driver.
Then we got there and that’s when the problems started. My little brother, who was eleven at the time, ran off by himself almost immediately. We couldn’t find him and so we had to split up to search multiple directions like we were in scooby doo or something.
After a couple of minutes, I found him by the orangutans. But he wasn’t just looking at him. He was fucking IN THERE with them, just chilling. I didn’t want to get him in trouble by calling an attendant so I just had to go in there myself and try to get him out. I say try because it was almost impossible. According to him, the orangutans were his friends, and they didn’t like the zoo, and they just wanted to go on a day out themselves. I asked what the fuck he was talking about but before I could drag him out of the enclosure he had run away with one of the orangutans.
I gave chase, of course, but they were incredibly fast. He barreled through the entire zoo with the orangutan in tow, and made it all the way back to the coach. He dived on, and shouted at the driver to GO, GO, GO.
In all my life I’ve never seen something so ridiculous. The moment the driver actually listened, and pulled away, actually driving down the fucking road with a kid and an orangutan just because he was told to and I guess he thought he was being helpful- that was the silliest fucking thing I’ve ever seen.
Thankfully, my stepdad saw it too, and a zoo employee ran over, red faced and panting and panicking. We got in the employee’s car and followed the coach. We wanted to call the police to help but none of us could get phone signal because, like, idk, large swathes of south Wales exist in a different era or dimension of time I guess.
We followed the coach for four hours. Across practically the entirety of Wales. All the way from Pembrokeshire to fucking Rhyl. From the south coast to the north. Honestly, if we’d just kept going it wouldn’t have taken us much longer to get home to Liverpool. We travelled so fucking far in chase of this orangutan, my brother and a recklessly helpful coach driver and every moment of the journey is burned into my mind forever.
This absurd journey finally resolved itself when we got to the white rose shopping centre in Rhyl. Apparently all the zoo animals are fitted with a tracking chip and as we approached Rhyl the zoo had finally managed to contact the police who pulled the coach over and sorted out the whole situation.
We weren’t even angry. Honestly, seeing my little brother again after all that time just made me laugh. We all did. Except the orangutan because I don’t think orangutans can laugh.
But, anyway, the resolution of the story is that folly farm can’t keep orangutans any more because of the lack of security around their enclosure. Nobody got in any legal trouble because the situation was so absurd nobody knew what to do. We left Wales together, and we reminisce on the story at least once a year. I’m just glad we left our mark, even if our legacy is totally bizarre and unbelievable.
Because the zoo, the police in North Wales and practically all of Pembrokeshire have a name for my brother and the coach driver now. A fitting nickname, one that truly captures the essence of what they did, and what they’ll always be remembered for.
They’re known as the Ape-Rhyl Fools.