Welcome to a weekly feature on my blog – Ben’s Zone. Written by husband… Ben. A foodie, coffee obsessed, ex-smoking, ex-drinking and Ridgeback loving Dad. Who is also seriously into his fitness. You can find him on the blog (most) Sundays. Enjoy 🙂
Les Sables d’Olonne Zoo Review
We’ve visited Les Sables d’Olonne in France three times now. Whenever we go, we always make a point of going to Les Sables d’Olonne Zoo. The zoo focuses on endangered species and, for a relatively small surface area, packs in rather a lot.
Pricing for the zoo is around 15 euros for adult entry which is reasonable. Due to the overhead of feeding animals and the staffing requirements, zoos are never cheap entertainment. For that, though we got a morning of entertainment ambling round, followed by lunch in the small but functional cafe. Watch out for the spider monkeys in the cafe, which much to our children’s delight roam freely.
A contrast to previous years is that there is now a path marked around the zoo, so that you can ensure that you’ve seen all of the animals. In previous years it was more freeform which made it more difficult to plan the route around.
The selection of animals is really excellent. My personal favourite was the leopard but I also enjoyed the various apes. The star of the show is always the red panda and during our last visit that was no exception. It had been sleeping when we first visited leading to a very disappointed daughter, however as we returned it was fully visible prowling around its enclosure. As my son is a 5-year-old boy his appreciation of animals has a direct correlation to how dangerous they are. To that end, he was very impressed with the crocodile but even more so with the pythons.
If there was one area of the zoo that left me wanting a bit more it was probably the dangerous, slimy, creepy crawly section. Though there is a small enclosure with the aforementioned crocodiles and snakes, this was not very large. I would expect that this is down to those animals not being under too much threat, certainly, a zoo that has lions and leopards is not afraid to handle dangerous animals. Perhaps the lesson here is not to be a cute animal.
As well as providing the kids with the fun of looking at the animals a nice point was the educational aspect. For all the enclosures the description of the creature contained within also included why that creature was under threat. This information was largely irrelevant to Aria but proved a nice start for Logan to environmental consciousness. It was not heavy handed but did give a good backdrop and theme to the zoo. This was in English as well as French.
If you’re in the area I would definitely recommend a visit. It’s easily good for a morning of child entertainment and it’s interesting for adults too. My favourite moment was in the aviary (which you can walk through) when a lorikeet landed on my head. Laura thought this was due to my hair product smelling similar to the nectar you can purchase to feed them, personally, I think it mistook my head for a large lump of wood and built a nest there.