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Last weekend Michael and I took Brooklyn to Parc Animalier in Ardes. We were told it is like a zoo, but it ended up being much, much better! They basically built a zoo on the mountain so the animals all have huge enclosures with natural habitats of grass and trees and some animals (goats and monkeys) have areas built so they can climb the rocky areas on the side of the mountain. The Greenville Zoo makes me want to cry when I see how small the cages are so Parc Animalier was a nice surprise. (I know I must sound like a traitor sometimes, but dang the French do lots of things right!) However, I did feel sorry for the “prey animals” that were in the cages next to the tigers and the lions. I can’t help but wonder if they can ever truly relax when they know a ferocious lion of tiger is nearby.

The zoo is set on 61 acres and they have about 50 animal species, about 300 animals, and animals from five continents. You are able to get really close to the fence lines, there were lots of dangerous fun toys that were for kids and adults, and lots of places to fall of the mountain. I guess the French figure if you can walk and talk, you should be smart enough to keep your kids from doing stupid things. And the French don’t sue everyone if they get their feelings hurt or do something stupid.

The day we went was supposed to be a nice day, so it rained of course, but we didn’t let that stop us from having fun! We walked around and got to see all the animals up close. They had a petting zoo, but it wasn’t open that day because one of the ponies recently had a baby. They also have an area where you hike up through the rocks where all the mountain goats live so you were really able to get up close and personal with them. They had a bat cave that Brooklyn refused to go in (smart girl), we pet the llamas, and we found a porcupine quill outside the cage, which was neat. We also played on the adult toys. Yes, you read that correctly. They were toys for adults ages 16 and up. Brooklyn had a blast playing on the ropes course for kids, especially the one where she got to zip line while sitting on the ball.

Parc Animalier was huge and it was quite a hike up the mountain, but it was so much fun and definitely worth the $13,50 Euro per person admission. I can’t wait to go back on a warm day. If summer time ever comes to France.

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