We are 🐯 HUGE ANIMAL LOVERS here at MBFF . . . and we are lucky to share our home with a couple of affectionate (and fairly tolerant!) 🐱🐱 felines. But perhaps some of you don’t have the home set-up to accommodate animal friends, or perhaps allergies are preventing you from doing so . . .
Luckily – whether you live 🗻 au Pays du Mont-Blanc or you are visiting – you are very likely to spot some local wildlife (chamois, ibex, marmottes . . . eek, perhaps even a lynx these days?) when out hiking at altitude, away from the noise of humans, especially in the 🗻 Réserves Naturelles du Pays du Mont-Blanc!
We are also lucky enough to have the 🦌 Parc Animalier de Merlet in Les Houches on our doorstep, and some other animal parks not too far away too!
In this article, you will find information about:
- 🗻 Réserves Naturelles au Pays du Mont-Blanc;
- 🦌 animal parks au Pays du Mont-Blanc;
- 🐺 dog kennels to visit au Pays du Mont-Blanc;
- 🐖 farms to visit en famille au Pays du Mont-Blanc;
- 🇫🇷🦓 animal parks further afield;
- 🇨🇭🦎 aquariums, vivariums & tropicariums further afield;
There will be another follow-up article soon, exploring activities for families with animals: canirando, dog-sledding, donkey walks, horse-riding and more . . .
Colour code for listings:
Pays du Mont-Blanc
Chamonix Valley (Chamonix, Les Houches, Servoz, Argentière & environs (and Vallorcine)
Passy (Plateau d’Assy, Bay, Plaine-Joux, Marlioz, Chedde)
Saint-Gervais-les-Bains, Le Fayet, Saint Nicolas de Véroce and environs
Megeve & Praz-sur-Arly and environs
Les Contamines-Montjoie and environs
🇫🇷 Further France
NATURE RESERVES & WILDLIFE-SPOTTING IN NATURE
🗻 Au Pays du Mont-Blanc we have FIVE nature reserves:
- 🗻 CHAMONIX VALLEY – La Réserve Naturelles des Aiguilles Rouges, La Réserve Naturelle du Vallon de Bérard & La Réserve Naturelle de Carlaveyron;
- 🗻 PASSY – la Réserve Naturelle de Passy;
- 🗻 LES CONTAMINES-MONTJOIE – La Réserve Naturelle des Contamines-Montjoie;
Being protected reserves, these are super spots for wildlife-spotting, and over the school holidays there are workshops and other animations organised for families (🐾 animal tracks in the snow, 🦌 Le Brame du Cerf . . .).
For centuries, humans made very little impact on our valleys and mountains 🗻 Pays du Mont-Blanc . . . that all changed with the Romantics’ discovery of the beauty of mountains (remember that before the 18th century, mountains and glaciers were largely feared), and the summer and winter tourism that ensued:cable cars, chair-lifts, ski pistes, new roads, railways and big hotels. All this infrastructure of the last two hundred years has put increasing pressure on our ecosystem and has threatened many of our mountain species. With the creation of nature reserves, and the increasing sensitisation of us humans towards the environment and threatened species of flora and fauna, we are trying to redress the precarious balance.
Did you know that we even have a breeding centre for the gypaète barbu, here 🗻 Pays du Mont-Blanc? This now emblematic bird of prey was at one time feared and misunderstood (it actually largely feeds off bones, and NOT live animals as once thought) and it was wiped out by over-hunting at the beginning of the 20th century. See gypaète barbu website or MBFF post for more details about this fascinating bird.
Here are some of the animals you may spot in our open wildlife reserves (or just out and about in the mountains) of the 🗻 Pays du Mont-Blanc: chamois, bouquetins (ibexes), 🦌 deer, 🐗 sangliers, 🦊 foxes, lynx (rare), marmottes, 🦅 royal eagles (rare), gypaètes barbus (rare), 🐍 snakes, 🦎 lizards, 🦋 butterflies, dragon-flies, 🐸 tadpoles and frogs, 🐠 fish . . .
GOOGLE MAP of ANIMAL PARKS
Le Parc Animalier de Merlet (Les Houches)
This lovely animal park (located at an altitude of 1500m!) is a fantastic spring to early autumn destination for young walkers, where they can spot 🦌 deer, chamois, bouquetins (ibex), and even 🦙 llamas (!), wandering freely within the parameters of the park! You you can visit much of the park with a good buggy, but you’ll need a baby-carrier for the higher path. Also for families, you’ll find a sand-pit, a parcours ludique, and a restaurant on-site / there are special events over the summer months and some winter outings are also scheduled! / see for recommendations for a family visit & parking / 🗓 opening dates: 1st May until end of September;
[ ⇒ for more information, see for more information, see separate MBFF article ]
website address: 2495 chemin de Merlet, 74310, Les Houches; tel: +33 (0)4 50 53 47 89;
🦌 Domaine le Coulairon – élevage de rennes (Megève) – reindeer in the 🏔 Pays du Mont-Blanc, and here you can visit the élevage! / various formules available (you need to book in advance): formule découverte, visit + goûter, and visit and dinner (in a typical Finnish Kota!) / you can also visit the 🐐 bergerie / 🗓 opening dates: ❄️ winter season (SHUT over the summer!) / reservations;
You can also visit these 🐶 dog kennels au Pays du Mont-Blanc (and beyond):
Élevage de Saint-Bernards (Les Houches)
At this kennel (chenil) located between Servoz and Les Houches, you’ll learn about the beautiful and fascinating 🐶 Saint-Bernard breed (originally from Asia, they were introduced to Europe and the Alps by the Romans; the remoteness of alpine valleys explains the conservation of the breed!) on a guided tour by the owners / 🗓 opening hours: 10h to 11h30 and 14h to 18h in July and August and the rest of the year 10h to 11h30 and 14h to 17h (shut on Sundays and Monday morning and for a period in autumn) – do give them a call before visiting as they sometimes close in the event of bad weather!
website address: 223 chemin des Vorziers, La Fontaine, 74310, Les Houches (access: Aire de la Fontaine); tel: +33 (0)4 50 47 23 60;
Parc du Chien Polaire (Le Parc de Loisirs des Pontets, Les Contamines-Montjoie)
With over 20 years of experience in the Grand Nord Sibérien, les Voyageurs de l’Hiver will share their passion with you: huskies, the life of a pack, the equipment used . . .
🇫🇷🐺 Chenil 3D Nordic (Flumet) 🐺🇫🇷
3D Nordic has moved its winter dog-sledding to Swedish Lapland, but from 🗓 April until September, they are back near the 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, with canirando . . . you can also visit their kennels (with explanations about their 30+ chiens de traîneau – mainly Siberian and Alaskan huskies) in Flumet (just after Praz-sur-Arly) / price: 10€ per person and FREE for under 4s / Sandrine and Jonathon are passionate about their dogs and their work as mushers (Sandrine has won many prizes for her work as a musher – Championne du Monde, 4x Championne de France) / photos and cuddles welcome / you need to reserve to visit: +33 6 11 66 35 04 or firstname.lastname@example.org;
[ good to know: from late spring until September, you can do canirando with 3D Nordic! ]
website address: 387 impasse du Rocher, 73590, Flumet;
Barryland – Musée et Chiens du Saint Bernard (Martigny)
This museum is also a centre d’élevage de Saint-Bernards and a couple of times a year, you can see 🐶 a litter of puppies sensitising to the world. The museum itself is set across three floors, with the ground floor devoted to its Saint-Bernard dogs. Visitors can view the dogs in their kennels and there is a large outdoor space where they play. At various stages during the day, there are some “ meet and greet “ moments with the dogs. On the first floor, visitors can learn about the history of the Great Saint-Bernard Pass and on the second floor there is an interactive exhibition about Saint-Bernard dogs, perfect for children; the museum organises 🎨 family activities and workshops on this floor / good to know: there is an incredible Easter egg hunt here on Easter Monday (tried and tested and so, so, so enjoyed by the MBFF team!), and a visit from le Père Noël at Christmastime / 🗓 opening hours: every day (except 24th & 25th December) 10h to 18h / price: CHF12 and children 8+ years CHF7;
[ ⇒ for more information, see for more information, see separate MBFF article ]
website address: Fondation Barry - Barryland - Musée et chiens du Saint-Bernard, rue du Levant 34, 1920, Martigny, Switzerland; tel: +41 (0)27 720 49 20;
Musée de l’hospice du Grand-Saint-Bernard & kennels (Col du Saint-Bernard)
Meet 🐶 the famous dogs at the chenil, which is located opposite the museum . . . and then at the museum, learn about the history of the col! / open until October, when the dogs head back down to the warmer valley floor!
There are several farms to visit 🏔 au Pays du Mont-Blanc, and farm products to buy directly from theire shops . . .
🐰 La Ferme les Montagnards (Ormaret, Combloux) – has FAMILY VISITS 🗓 scheduled on Tuesdays and Thursdays (with workshops for children over the holidays) / see FB page and be sure to book;
[ ⇒ read MBFF article here ]
🐮 Ferme Le Gaec Val Mont-Blanc (Combloux) – the Paget family farm / 🧀 cheese-making and tasting at this dairy farm / 🗓 visiting hours: every Wednesday from 16h to 17h;
address: 777 route de Saint-Gervais, Gemoëns, 74920, Combloux / tel (reservations): 06 16 33 71 74;
🐑 Chèvrerie Les Cabrettes (Sallanches) – FREE guided visit every Thursday 10h to 12h / this goat farm is located on the hillside at St Roch / flock: 100 chèvres alpines chamoisées, 45 chevrettes, 6 boucs, 2 ânesses / 🧀 cheese for sale every day (except Sunday morning) 10h to 12h and 16h30 to 18h30 / address: Ferme des Cabrettes, 74700, Sallanches / reservations: 04 50 47 87 87 or 06 30 01 80 73;
🐂 La Ferme de l’Aberieux (Cordon) – nestled at the start of a walking path, this farm has 25 milking cows from the Tarentaise breed / 🧀 sale of cheese: tomme de Savoie, bleu fermier, raclette de Savoie, fromage blanc, faisselle, l’abérieux (fromage à pâte molle), yogurts, confiture de lait and butter / 🗓 opening hours: every day except Sunday morning / Albert can show you how to make cheese in the morning (reservations required) / cow milking from 17h30 / participation: 3€ and free for under 12s;
website address: 490 chemin du Pont de la Flée, 74700, Cordon / tel: 06 76 12 41 67;
🐑 La Ferme des Roches Fleuries (Saint-Gervais) – you can visit this sheep farm and buy produce too;
FB page address: 1510 route D’Orsin, Saint-Gervais-Les-Bains;
🇫🇷🐂 La Chèvrerie de la Pierre à Laya (Arâches) – goats, rabbits, chickens, cats and dogs to visit, and yogurts and cheese to buy! / there are regular journées découvertes during the school holidays!
address: Lieu-dit Champs d'en Bas - route des Champs, 74300, Arâches
🇫🇷🐓 La Ferme de Chosal (Copponex) – an absolutely FABULOUS pedagogic farm, with animals, green-houses, land-art walk (Sentier Art et Nature), workshops, an ethical & social spirit . . . seedlings and plants to buy / Portes Ouvertes first weekend in May! (MBFF went last year – fabulous!);
website address: 98 route de l’Usine, Chosal, 74350, Copponex;
🇫🇷🐓 La Ferme Agricool (Saint-Paul-en-Chablais) – my boys have visited this farm a couple of times with garderie, school or their centre d’accueil / a ” mini ferme proposant la découverte d’animaux (18 espèces – 100 animaux) ainsi que des ateliers ludiques sur le thème de la nature. ” / 🗓 opening: April until November;
NOT TOO FAR FROM THE PAYS du MONT-BLANC . . .
Zoo des Marécottes (Marécottes, Switzerland)
The 🦌 Zoo des Marécottes is a super animal park (the highest in Europe at 1100m), nestled among🌲trees and located just over the border in Switzerland. April 2017 saw the birth of a 🐻 baby black bear (Mirus) . . . and 2019 has seen the arrival of a couple of wolves / you can buy food to feed the 🦌 deer and there is a cosy restaurant on-site (check opening hours) / good to know: known for its summer swimming pool set within the rocks, Les Marécottes also has picnic spots, and a small playground / 🗓 opening dates: all year! (though restaurant has separate opening hours) / getting there: you can take the train from the Chamonix Valley to Les Marécottes!
website address: Zoo et Piscine des Marécottes, rue des Combasses 3, 1923, Les Marécottes, Switzerland; tel: +41 27 761 15 62;
Parc Animalier d’Introd (Aosta Valley, Italy)
The MBFF family visited this animal park on a return journey from Cogne one autumn, and we really enjoyed it! You’ll see: 🦌deer, 🐗 sangliers, 🦊 foxes, raccoons, badgers, 🦉owls and more . . . There is a playground on-site and plenty of picnic tables too (no restaurant) / 🗓 opening dates: it is open from April until November;
website address: Parc Animalier d'Introd, Fraz. Villes Dessus, 11010 , Introd, Aosta Valley, Italy;
Les Aigles du Léman (Sciez-sur-Léman)
My elder son visited this park dedicated to 🦅 birds of prey with his garderie, and he RAVED about it upon his return . . . we have yet to visit en famille, but it is on the list! / NEW for summer 2018: Terre des Aigles (the largest aviary for birds of prey in the world!) / lots of shows with the birds of prey / eating options: picnic spots, le bar-restaurant La Fauconnerie (self-service), a snack bar / playground and shop on-site / 🗓 opening dates: from early June until 1st September;
website address: route du Moulin de la Glacière, Domaine du Guidou, 74140, Sciez-sur-Léman; tel: +33 (0) 4 50 72 72 26;
[ good to know – some of the 🦉 owls from this park head over to perform at the fabulous Parc des Épouvantails in Andilly (see website here) over the summer months (and also at the Grandes Médiévales), where you can also see some 🐑 🐐 🐓 farm animals ]
[ also good to know: you can now spend a night within the park, surrounded by these fascinating birds, at the Lodge! ]
Parc d’Hiver des Aigles du Léman (Morzine)
You can now experience 🦅 Les Aigles du Léman in wintertime, in the mountains of Morzine! Le Parc d’Hiver des Aigles du Léman is located at 1500m . . . here, you can have some unique experiences:
- ski down a piste, with an eagle flying above you;
- a fauconenrie stage;
- a sentier pédagogique de découverte des oiseaux;
- enjoy a hot chocolate or vin chaud on the terrace, with a condor or eagle flying overhead!
- animations every day at 13h30 and 16h (depending on weather);
- stages available;
You can also enjoy a sledging run, a snowpark for skiers – l’Eagle Park, and an indoor play area for colder days! / location: above Morzine-Les Gets ski station, on the pointe de Nyon / access: via Téléphérique de Nyon (Morzine) or on skis! / restaurant: there is a restaurant in the cosy chalet and snacks available just opposite! / 🗓 opening hours: late December until late March, 9h until 17h;
website address: Les Aigles du Léman – Parc d’hiver, l: +33 (0) 4 50 72 72 26;
Tropicaland jungle aux dinosaures et aux kangourous
Located near Saint-Julien-en-Genevois, this jungle park has dinosaurs and some wildlife too (kangaroos and abandoned tropical birds) / the park recommends: that you come in the early afternoon as some of the animals like to nap early on, and that you where wellies! / easy access for buggies / 🗓 opening hours: open all year round, Wednesdays and weekends from 14h until 17h and every day during the school holidays / price: adults 9,50€ and children 6,50€ (3 to 11 years) and FREE for under 3s / easy access for buggies / snack bar on-site or bring a picnic (no restaurant);
website address: 50 Chemin de Cortenet, 74580, Viry (near Vitam); tel: +33 6 09 70 13 16;
Parc Animalier de la Grande Jeanne (Semnoz, near Annecy)
Annecy’s parc animalier, is located on the route du Semnoz and stretches over 10,500 m², in the forest. You’ll find there: deer, red deer, and mouflons (big-horned sheep). It is FREE to visit!
Annecy also has its own 🐦 volière (aviary) in the Parc Charles-Bosson (just behind the Impérial Palace, and next to a playground). You’ll find there: geese, turkeys, ducks, guinea fowl, pheasants, and peacocks.
Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de Genève (Geneva)
Open all year-round, we are regular visitors to the 🌷Conservatoire et Jardin Botaniques de Genève (CJBG) . . . as well as the beautiful trees, plants and greenhouses, this park has a wonderful wooden playground, a magical carrousel in the warmer months, plentiful grass for running around and picnics and a small FREE animal park with: 🦌 deer, flamingos, peacocks, 🦆 ducks . . . / there is also a restaurant & snack bar on-site / open all year-round!
[ ⇒ see here to read MBFF article ]
Parc aux Animaux du Bois-de-la-Bâtie (Geneva)
Set over an area of 2,5 hectares, there are about 300 species of indigenous fauna here, including some endangered species and conservation projects! You’ll find explanatory panels about the animals on your route around the park / good to know: if you head there in spring, you are likely to meet some baby animals! / also nearby: a playground, a pataugeoire in summer, football fields / a little history: this animal park was created by a gardener named Maréchal, who had been looking after injured animals from the area since 1945 . . . La Ville de Genève then created a park for animals in 1982, so that locals could get to know their local fauna / 🗓 opening hours: every day (November to March: 8h to 18h and April to October: 8h to 20h) / FREE to visit!
website address: Le Bois-de-la-Bâtie, chemin de la Bâtie, Geneva, Switzerland;
Bioparc Genève (Thonex)
Le Bioparc Genève est le seul endroit du canton où vous pouvez observer de près plus de 250 animaux d’environ 85 espèces différentes, européennes et exotiques, et participer à agir pour leur préservation. Le Bioparc Genève œuvre pour la biodiversité à travers 4 missions clés : la conservation, la recherche, la sensibilisation et l’éducation à l’environnement et la zoothérapie.
🦌 🦌 🦌
🇫🇷🇨🇭 EVEN FURTHER AFIELD . . . (2+ hours away)
The following animal parks are all in 🇫🇷 Auvergne-Rhone-Alpes or 🇨🇭 Switzerland or Italy – perfect for a stop on a weekend visit . . .
Parc Zoologique & « Plaine Africaine » (Parc de la Tête d’Or, LYON)
The Parc de la Tête d’Or in Lyon is fabulous, and you can spend hours here (we did!)! If you have little ones, be sure to pack the draisienne, as it is HUGE! / attractions include: the Parc Zoologique (with about 400 animals) and the « Plaine Africaine » (around 3 hectares, with 🦒 giraffes, 🦓 zebras,🦔 lions and more. . . ), a deer park, lots of grass for running about, landscaped sections, a lake with boats to rent, a playground with a carrousel . . . / the zoo and animal park is FREE to visit and you can have special behind-the-scenes tours too (paying) / 🗓 opening dates: all year round;
website for Parc de la Tête d'Or & website for zoo address: Parc de la Tête d'Or, Place du Général Leclerc, 69006, Lyon;
Safari de Peaugres (PEAUGRES)
The 🦔 Safari de Peaugres is the only safari located in the region of Auvergne Rhône-Alpes, located between Valence and St-Etienne / with animals from Africa and North America / activities: a car safari, a walking safari, an aquatic safari, an interactive farm . . . / on-site playgrounds: there are several, including the immersive Gitaki, where children get to jump like squirrels and crawl into beaver homes . . . and a water park! / 🍏 eating options: self-service restaurant and snack bars and picnic spots / plenty of animations and special events / 🗓 opening dates: the safari takes a winter hibernation, re-opening in February / new births 2018: 🦏 Malabar (white rhino), 3 baby cheetahs, 🐻 🐻 two baby bears, a baby anteater, baby meerkats . . . and more! / plan of park / accommodation deals nearby here;
website address: Safari de Peaugres, 07340, Peaugres; tel: 04 75 33 00 32;
Parc des Oiseaux (Villars-les-Dombes, L’AIN)
Spread across 35 hectares, the 🐦 Parc des Oiseaux is located in Villars-les-Dombes (in l’Ain), halfway between Lyon and Bourg-en-Bresse, in the heart of les Dombes (an area of water pools) / 300 different species of colourful birds, from all over the world / spectacles, animations 🐧 / picnic spots, restaurant and shops and a NEW 27m panoramic tower! / there is a music festival here in the summer: Musicales du Parc / NEW in 2018: l’Afrique en Mosaïque – a new space dedicated to avifaune from Africa: 3ha, 3 waterfalls and rocky zones, 300 birds / NEW children’s activity: le goûter des Lémuriens (children from 6 to 12 years can see what it is like to be a feeder and feed the Maki Catta themselves! / 🗓 opening dates: shuts for winter hibernation, opening again in late March / price: adults 19€, children (3 to 12 years) 14€, free for under 3s;
website address: Le Parc des Oiseaux, 01330, Villars-Les-Dombes; tel: +33 (0)4 74 98 05 54;
La Ferme aux Crocodiles (Pierrelatte, LA DRÔME PROVENCALE)
With not just 🐊 crocodiles, but plenty of other reptiles too (🐢 tortoises,🦎 lizards, 🐍 snakes,🐦 birds and 🐟 fish) and a botanical garden with exotic plants . . . this animal park is quite far from the Pays du Mont-Blanc, but worth a mention! There is also a lab and hatchery on-site for the purpose of scientific study and animal conservation. There are plenty of animations and a playground, picnic areas and snack bars / family price: 50€ / good to know: cheaper to by tickets on-line . . .
❤️ coup de cœur ❤️ we have a little boy who has loved 🐊 crocodiles for a couple of years . . . so we treated ourselves to a weekend in the Drôme with Grandpa and headed to la Ferme aux Crocodile . . . everybody loved the visit, and as we went in early December, we had the site practically to ourselves and were able to ask the animateurs plenty of questions. There is a fabulous indoor playground on-site, overlooked by 🐍 the pythons 😉!
website address: 395 allée de Beauplan, 26700, Pierrelatte;
Zoo la Garenne (Le Vaud, NYON)
The 🐿 Garenne zoo started as a hospital for local animals in need in 1965, opened by the passionate Erwin Meier . . . in 2016, a new zoo opened, over an area of 3 hectares: mainly Swiss fauna, both wild and domestic, with the idea that “ l’on respecte mieux ce que l’on connait ” / there is a Centre de Soins on-site for wild animals / on-site: there is a playground and restaurant, serving largely local and bio products; see here / 🗓 opening dates: the zoo is open year-round;
website address: route du Bois Laurent 3, 1261, Le Vaud;
Signal de Bougy Parc Pré Vert
Over on the other side of 💦 Lac Léman, there is a wonderful parc de loisirs, Le Parc Pré Vert at Signal de Bougy: 110 hectares, 🌳 with woodland, 🌈 a large playground, buggy-friendly walks, 🦆a small animal park, ☕️ a spacious family-friendly restaurant, 🍏 picnic areas, 🎨 workshops for children, 🎭 an outdoor theatre, a parc aventure, ⛳️ mini-golf and more . . . all with 🏔 a splendid view of Lac Léman and snowy peaks!
website address: route du Signal, 1172, Bougy-Villars, Switzerland (1h30 to 2h drive from Pays du Mont-Blanc) tel: +41 58 568 31 50;
Zoo & Tropicarium de Servion (LAUSANNE)
There are all sorts of animals at this large zoo: local animals, 🦔 big cats, bears, birds and fish . . . / a little history: in 1974, three brothers, united in their passion for animals – Charles, Gilbert and Max Bulliard – collaborated to open a small zoo . . . over the years, the small zoo grew to its current expanse of 6 hectares and now has 60 species / on-site: playground, picnic areas, self-service restaurant / 🗓 opening dates: the zoo is open every day of the year from 9h to 19h (summer) and 9h to 18h (winter) / price: adults CHF 10 and children CHF 5,50 / for more information about the tropicarium, see aquarium section below;
website address: chemin du zoo 1, CH-1077, Servion, Switzerland / tel: +41 21 903 16 71;
Papiliorama butterfly park (Kerzers, near BERN)
🦋 Papiliorama is an animal park dedicated to butterflies, with over 1000 exotic butterflies flying freely around the visitors in a tropical garden (with around 120 species) contained within a dome. Visitors can also learn about: the hatching of a butterfly in the emerging chamber and see the eggs and caterpillars in the terrariums. There are also some bird species and the in the water stingrays and other tropical fish species from Asia and America / Nocturama is a unique space: the translucent roof of the dome filters the natural daylight and creates a full moon night atmosphere, and the reversed day and night rhythm allows you to take a nocturnal walk in the middle of the day, and hence see nocturnal animals of the tropical forests: sloths, tree porcupines, night monkeys, armadillos, bats . . . / Jungle Trek – a small copy of the nature reserve run by Papilorama in Belize, here visitors can hike through a tropical forest, seeing toucans, iguanas, coati and more from the 7m high panormama bridge / Wild Seeland – the outdoor area, with native flora and fauna / Zoë Zoo – the petting zoo, with dwarf donkeys and goats, rabbits, ducks and chickens / there is also a nature playground, with water features for the warmer months! / Jungle Restaurant on-site and picnics allowed in designated areas / 🗓 opening hours: summertime 9h until 18h and wintertime 10h until 17h / price: adults CHF 19 and children (4 to 15 years) CHF 9,50 (uner 3s FREE!);
good to know: if visiting Bern, you can also visit the city’s famous. 🐻 bears!
website address: Moosmatte 1, 3210, Kerzers / tel: +41 31 756 04 61;
Il Parco Villa Pallavicino (Stresa, Lago Maggiore, ITALY)
A couple of years ago, quite by chance, we discovered 🦌 Il Parco Villa Pallavicino, near Stresa on the western side of Lago Maggiore . . . perfect for a family outing, the huge park and stunning gardens (set across 20 hectares) boast an animal park and 🐇🐐 petting farm , a great playground, views of Lago Maggiore, picnic areas and a great restaurant, and an on-site! / 🗓 opening dates: from late March;
website address: via Sempione Sud 8, 28838 Stresa VB, Italy;
There are no 🦎 aquariums, tropicariums or vivariums to visit au Pays du Mont-Blanc, but there are a few options around 🇨🇭 Lac Léman . . .
Elapsoïdea Vivarium de Meyrin
MBFF decided to visit the Vivarium de Meyrin one rainy day this springtime . . . it is small, but a very special place where we got up close and personal with snakes, tortoises and lizards (and even got to touch a python!) / a little history: back in 1979,three herpetologists decided to found Elapsoïdea (the name of an African snake), and soon started to organise school visits and managed to reproduce snakes in the lab! / price: adults CHF 10, children (6 to 16 years) CHF 6 / 🗓 opening hours: Monday to Friday 14h until 17h and weekends 10h until 17h;
website & FB page address: 32a rue Cardinal-Journet, 1217, Meyrin, Switzerland; tel: +41(0)22 785 60 60;
AQUATIS Aquarium & Vivarium (LAUSANNE)
We’ve not yet visited 💦🐟 AQUATIS Aquarium & Vivarium in Lausanne; it has been open to the public since October 2017 / restaurant on-site: Piranha, with a view on the piranha pool! / 🗓 opening hours: November until March, every day 10h to 18h; April until October, every day 9h to 19h / price: CHF 29, children (5 to 15) CHF 19, under 5s FREE;
[ ⇒ read about MBFF’s experience here ]
website address: route de Berne 144, 1010, Lausanne, Switzerland; tel: +41 (0)21 654 23 23;
Musée du Léman et Aquarium (NYON)
A museum dedicated to the history of 💦 Lac Léman and an aquarium too! / aquarium – 5 basins with 300 fish and crustaceans, representing the 31 species living in Lac Léman and the rivers / 🖼 new permanent exhibition at museum: « Petite Nature? » (36 questions to decode the the secrets of the lake!) / 🎨 l’atelier Créa’lac – every 3rd Sunday of month, a workshop for children at 15h30; CHF7 per child 🗓 opening hours: Tuesday to Sunday, April until October, 10h to 17h and November to March 14h to 17h / price: CHF8 and free for children under 16 years;
good to know: FREE every first Sunday of the month and 1 x entrance = free access to the Musée Romain and the Château de Nyon (valid 12 months) / super playground right next door and picnic spots!
website & FB page address: quai Louis-Bonnard 8, 1260, Nyon, Switzerland / tel:+41 (0) 22 316 42 50;
Tropicarium de Servion (nr LAUSANNE)
Tropical flora and fauna all year round in this animal park: Komodo dragaons, a Galapagos giant turtle, a Siam crocodile, penguins from South Africa, pink flamingos and more (see animal liste here) / restaurant on-site, picnic area and playground / 🗓 opening hours: open all year-round, 9h until 18h / price: adults CHF 12 and children CHF 7;
And, further afield in Lyon, is the 🐟 l’Aquarium de Lyon, which we visited en famille in October 2019.
[ ⇒ to read about our experience, see separate article here ]