Originally, Tinki had wanted to see Pirates of the Caribbean and go bowling on her birthday, but that got shot down really quick when we found out that there wasn’t a cinema around playing “Pirates” in VO (version originale). I am all for watching movies in French, but come on, I need to hear Johnny Deep’s real voice. Nothing else will work for me and, apparently, Tinki felt the same way.
Choice number two for the day, drumroll please, the zoo in La Barben. We checked their website out and it looked really nice. The zoo is nothing too fancy, but there seem to be plenty of animals (they said around 600) and it was not far away from where we live.
We packed our lunches and headed out for the day. The drive took a little over an hour. Surprisingly, for a summer day, the zoo not crowded at all. The cost for admission is 14€ for adults, 8€ for children ages 3-12 and children under 3 are free.
The zoo is open every day of the year with slightly longer hours during the months of July and August and slightly shorter hours during the months of December and January.
I would recommend going in the spring or fall. The heat and humidity are intense during the summer months, and we found ourselves taking long breaks and finding shelter under any tree that would give us some.
As for the animals, they tend to come out later in the day for food and because it starts to cool down in the later afternoon. We found that most of the activity started to occur around 3pm or 4pm. All the animals that were sleeping (and or hiding) when we arrived really started to come alive at that time.
The zoo is the perfect size, not too big and not too small. It is great for all ages to enjoy. After going to much larger zoos in the states, like the L.A. Zoo or the San Diego Zoo where it is easy to get overwhelmed and fatigued (and possibly not see everything there is), this zoo managed to pack a lot in without tiring its guests. It took us about 2-3 hours to roam the whole zoo. This was at a leisurely stroll with plenty of time to take photos and watch the animals eat and wander around.
It is well laid out with signs telling you were all the animals are located and they give you a nice, pocket sized map of the park when buying your entrance tickets.
I also have to mention that the zoo is kept in an impeccable state. All the cages and animals were clean and there was no trash. Each animal seemed to have enough space to roam around and all the trails were well laid out.
At the end of the visit you can walk over to the small boutique that is located next to the ticket booth. They have the usual fun goodies like stuffed animals and T-shirts. Tinki felt like she was 5 years old that day so she wanted a stuff giraffe to commemorate it. She said that the giraffe was her favorite animal at the zoo that day (they were actually quite awesome) and second were the meerkats. The little scout was so adorable.
We had a terrific day and Tinki said she really enjoyed herself. That’s what every parent wants to hear!
If you want more information on the zoo. Check out there website at http://www.zoolabarben.com/2009/
If you want to see a more photos of our day at the zoo, they appear on Flickr. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Recent Pictures.