The Beauval Zoo is the most visited zoo in France with more than 1.5 million visitors each year. Located in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, a few kilometres from Chenonceau castle in the Centre-Val-de-Loire region, this zoo was created in 1980 by Françoise Delord, a Parisian artist with a passion for birds. Today, the ZooParc de Beauval extends over nearly 44 hectares and is home to more than 35,000 animals from 800 species, including some of the most exceptional animals in the world! In this article, we will take a look at the history of the Beauval Zoo, its different territories, its exceptional animals and we will also give you some advice for organizing your stay in this exceptional place dedicated to wild animals, to their well-being. -being and their protection.
The history of Beauval Zoo
In the 1970s, Françoise Delord, an artist from the Bobino theater in Paris, won a couple of birds during a visit to the childhood fair. From there, she became passionate about birds and ended up building an aviary in her Parisian apartment in order to acquire new specimens. Up to 300 birds live together in this aviary which has become too small. Françoise and her family leave the capital to settle in a 5-hectare property located in the town of Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher. In 1980, Françoise Delord opened an ornithological park on her property, before transforming it into a zoo in 1989 with the acquisition of felines. The arrival of 2 white tigers in 1991 increases attendance at the park which, over the years, will continue to grow by presenting new animals. The Beauval Zoo then became the first French park to welcome leucistic big cats (white tigers and white lions). Today, Beauval remains the only zoo to host rare species, such as the okapi, the Indian rhinoceros, the manatee, the koala and more recently the giant panda, which has become the emblem of Beauval zoo. Deceased in 2021, the Beauval zoo is now run by the children of Françoise Delord, Rodolphe and Delphine.
The different territories of Zoo
The animals of the Beauval Zoo are spread over 20 territories which bring together the different species.
- The Equatorial Dome : this territory in the form of a tropical paradise is home to reptiles, such as anacondas and Komodo dragons, but also manatees, a pygmy hippopotamus or a giant otter.
- The Land of Lions : this territory immerses you in the heart of the savannah to discover lions, meerkats and mole rats.
- The Historical Alley : this universe brings together pink flamingos, penguins and ring-tailed lemurs.
- The Bois des Fauves : a space reserved for felines where you can admire the famous white tigers, but also panthers, pumas and jaguars.
- The Full Asian : a territory composed mainly of herbivores with Indian rhinos, Malay tapirs, cranes and deer.
- The Australian Greenhouse : it is home to animals from Australia, such as koalas, kangaroos and Tasmanian devils.
- The African Savannah : this territory which extends over 3 hectares is home to giraffes, white rhinos, zebras and ostriches.
- La Rotonde des Perroquets : parrots, macaws, cockatoos and other birds share this territory dedicated to ornithology.
- The Hippopotamus Reserve : pelicans and hippos live together in harmony in this aquatic space.
- The Plain of Elephants : elephants and okapi share this territory.
- The North American Territory : built in 2018, this territory includes brown bears and arctic wolves.
- The Heights of China : essential passage of the ZooParc de Beauval, this territory is home to the only couple of giant pandas in France and the three babies of Huan Huan. The first birth was in 2017, and Huan Huan gave birth to twin pandas on August 2, 2021.
- The South American Pampas : this territory is home to tapirs, Patagonian hares and Capybaras.
- The Territory of the Cheetahs : this universe is home to a sibling of 5 felines.
- Les Allées des Petits Singes : an area populated by agile primates.
- La Serre des Gorilles : this tropical space welcomes gorillas but also birds in the wild.
- Vivariums and Aquariums : space dedicated to reptiles, amphibians and insects.
- The Chimpanzee and Orangutan Greenhouse
- The Tropical Bird House
- The Masters of the Air: A Bird Show
- The Sea Lions’ Odyssey : an aquatic broom orchestrated by sea lions and sea lions.
Premium activities at Beauval
Beauval Zoo also offers a unique way to discover the zoo by taking part in the care of the animals accompanied by the technical teams and the staff of the zoo. Different formulas are thus made available to the public:
- One-day adult trainer: accessible from the age of 16, this formula allows you to accompany the scientific mediators and the park trainers for a morning in order to live a unique experience.
- Junior day caretaker : this activity reserved for children aged 10-17 allows them to accompany the park teams for 3 hours.
- Graine de soigneur : reserved for children aged 6 to 10, this activity allows you to discover the profession of animal caretaker.
- Zoo’Camp : Accessible from 8 to 12 years old, this activity allows children to discover the animal species present in the park and feed them for 3 half-days.
- Beauval behind the scenes : a 2-hour VIP guided tour for an exclusive immersion in the heart of the ZooParc de Beauval.
- Games and exploration notebooks: small notebooks dealing with different themes in the form of educational games and intended for children over 6 years old. The price of the book of 5 euros is entirely donated to the Beauval Nature association.
The Beauval Nature Association
Founded in 2009, the Beauval Nature association aims to raise visitors’ awareness of the conservation of global biodiversity in order to better understand animals and protect them more effectively. It accompanies the actors present in the field on a daily basis in their mission to protect animal species. The Beauval Nature association is also committed to numerous programs aimed at protecting endangered species. For example, since 2021, the association has been managing the Help Congo! from Africa, a chimpanzee conservation program in a national park in the Congo. On the spot, the members of the association take care of and welcome the animals before reintroducing them into their natural space.
A few tips for organizing your stay at Beauval Zoo
To take full advantage of the Beauval Zoo, we recommend that you visit the site over 2 days and stay in one of the 4 hotels located a few minutes from the park. And benefit from an advantageous rate by choosing the Pass Parc Hôtels when booking on the ZooParc website www.zoobeauval.com
- Les Jardins de Beauval : located 5 minutes walk from the park, this hotel welcomes you in an Indonesian atmosphere and in personalized pavilions. A spa and a heated outdoor swimming pool are accessible to hotel guests. A bar and a restaurant with an all-you-can-eat buffet complete the offer.
- Les Pagodes de Beauval : accessible in 7 minutes on foot from the park, this hotel immerses you in the fascinating world of China and also has a swimming pool, a bar and a restaurant.
- Les Hauts de Beauval : located near the village of Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, this African-themed hotel can be reached in 5 minutes by car.
- Les Hameaux de Beauval: in the heart of the village of Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, this hotel made up of apartments and duplexes can be reached in 7 minutes by car. Enclosed gardens and swimming pool complete the service.
The ZooParc de Beauval also offers the sale of a 1-day ticket, a 2-day ticket and even an annual Zoopass which allows you to visit the zoo throughout the year, for a price equivalent to the price of 2 or 3 entries. Opening hours, tickets, reservations, accommodation, itinerary, park map… all the information is available on the zoo’s website www.zoobeauval.com