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“A zoo to remember!”

Bioparc de Doue la Fontaine
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Carterton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“A zoo to remember!”
Reviewed March 1, 2013

We regularly visit the Loire and go to the zoo every couple of years - attractions change each time! We have been visiting since my son was about 5 - he is now 20 but still enjoys it (although my daughter, now age 14, insists on us going because she loves animals). This zoo can be "done" in a couple of hours but it takes about half a day to appreciate it - and you can easily spend the whole day there! The zoo is part of the endangered breeding programme so they often have young. They have tried to make all the enclosures as close to natural habitat as possible - but, as they are quite large it can sometimes be hard to spot the animals. The zoo is on two levels, linked by a flight of stairs but there is a lift for those of us with mobility problems - or with a pushchair! The walking, however, is flat - so easy with buggies, and the windows are low so children can easily see in, even if they are in buggies.

If you can, find out feeding times so you can see animals being fed (!) - but a warning if you are scared of vultures as they drag a carcass in to an arena with the visitors sitting around and the vultures jump over you to get to the meat! Although the talks are done in French, you do not need to understand to watch them at it! The guide book, however, is in English. There are also quizzes for youngsters to do, so they (might!) also learn something if they do it.

There are restaurants/snack bars on the site but there are also lots of picnic areas - and you can go in and out of the zoo so you can leave your lunch in the car and go back to get it, rather than lugging it round with you.

One small hint - you can buy popcorn to feed, for example, the goats - but your kids may be frightened by the goats' kids as they rather like it! It is also fun throwing it for the monkeys - or to feed to the fish while eating your picnic! However I suggest do not eat it yourself because, although it is safe to eat, it is totally plain - probably a little stale - and tastes of absolutely nothing!

So, to sum up, this is a visit that will be enjoyed by everyone (especially if they like animals) - no matter what their age. Although, obviously, you can visit any day, it is a brilliant "back up" if the weather is wet or overcast - and some areas are sun traps, so can get very hot when it is sunny!

Visited May 2012
Helpful?
Thank Creme-Bun
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Date | Rating
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English first
Northern Ireland
Level Contributor
10 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
“A must see Zoo”
Reviewed December 29, 2012

Great space for the animals, a well planned route to take you past all areas and give you an opportunity to see all animals. The South American Aviary is the best zoo feature I have ever seen. ours
Only negative was the cost relative to the fact you can see all in a couple of hours.

Visited August 2012
Helpful?
Thank NiceandCarmel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Henley-on-Thames, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
84 reviews
20 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Best zoo I have ever encountered”
Reviewed November 6, 2012

This zoo has changed my mind about zoos. I have never liked them and always felt sorry for the animals in their cages. THis is completely different and you feel like the animals are happy and in a natural environment. For example, the monkeys are not caged and are on their own islands a few metres away, the water keeping them from going anywhere. To all intents they seem to be free and that is just magic for children and adults alike. Their breeding programme for endangered species cannot be applauded enough. THe range of animals and the surroundings are great, partly in some tuffeau stone caves and using the landscape to creat natural feeling enclosures. Having a bite to eat at the cafe at the end is an experince in itself, with the giraffes in the enclosure below but able to take the hay from the feed bags at the same level as the cafe. The kids faces were priceless! Gotta visit it and I gaurantee you won't be disappointed!

Visited June 2012
Helpful?
Thank Jo V
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Birmingham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
46 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
“A brilliant day out”
Reviewed October 23, 2012

So many different animals to see and a well laid out route to guide you around the facility.The South American bird sanctury was well worth a visit

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank LandR86
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Saumur, France
Level Contributor
51 reviews
14 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 45 helpful votes
“If you like animals, you will love this”
Reviewed October 6, 2012

When we first visited the region we were always surprised by the number of people recommending a visit to this zoo. When we recommend it most people they say “but we don’t like to see animals caged”; nor do we.

This is a WWF breeding zoo, conservation is very high on the agenda, so mostly you see pairs of animals and their young off-spring. The zoo has been formed in a former stone quarry and so it set on two levels connected by a lift. The grounds themselves are quite spectacular with masses of flowing water and well planted. The animals live in very natural surroundings and you can look close-up through glass-fronted pens. If you want to take photos then you can be as close as 4 feet away from Leopards, or see Otters diving into their ponds through this glass. Monkeys live on islands and tend to look for an audience before they start their rope tricks. The tenderness towards their babies is breathtaking.

A recent aviary has been constructed to allow visitors to be close to the birds - a new area of quarry has been excavated and linked by a tunnel with high netting creating a huge space. There are all sorts of exotic birds as well as flowing water for penguins, they just love diving in and showing you how fast they can swim upstream.

Something that we have only recently realised is that the animals change year-on-year so you can make regular visits. Expect to spend at least 4 hours there, there is food, or you can have a pass-out to have lunch at the excellent Hotel Bienvenue nearby. Parking is free. There is a gift shop with carved African animals etc.

Visited September 2012
Helpful?
Thank Rodger J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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