Monday, November 7, 2016

At the Zoo

Pages From Jan's Travel Journal: Friday, May 27 2016

For quite some time, Darcy had been eager to show us the ZooParc de Beauval. It's a world class zoo located about an hour and a half south of Orleans. We had heard many good things about the zoo and were looking forward to our visit.

The drive south was pleasant and uneventful. When we arrived at the zoo, the parking lot was beginning to fill up. People were streaming into the gates of the zoo; little ones excitedly jumping up and down in a frenzy to visit their favorite animals. 

The Beauval Zoo is built atop hilly terrain and is beautifully landscaped. It was definitely one of the prettiest zoos I have ever had the pleasure to visit. We wound up and around to the crest of a small hill to join a line for entry into the bird show. Darcy especially wanted us to view this exciting exhibition. She and Mathieu had seen the show several times and knew exactly where to sit for the best view. 

Waiting for the bird show to begin
 at the Beauval Zoo in France.

Bald eagles swoop down to feed from the pond.
We had no trouble finding our seats and enjoyed a beautiful view over the crowd to the small woods beyond. Darcy had told me that many of the birds would come flying straight at us out of the trees. That show simply took my breath away! It was so incredible that it alone was worth the price of admission to the zoo. The beautiful, ethereal music was a perfect background for the amazing antics of the birds. 

Coming in for a landing!

Many of the birds perched just behind us.
There were many varieties of feathered flyers swooping, banking, and performing right in front of us. Birds of all kinds, from vultures, to eagles, owls to parrots. All had something to contribute to the spectacle before us. Many of them landed on perches just behind our seats. The narrative was all in French, so we weren't really able to follow it, but I didn't feel as if Craig and I were missing much. 

After the show, we began to tour the grounds, viewing the animals that lived in these lovely surroundings. Naturally, the pandas were one of my favorite sights. It was the first time I had ever seen a panda in real life. The male was quite a ham. He seemed to be posing for pictures and enjoying all of the attention he received. 

The panda was hamming it up  after a snack of bamboo.
We had lunch at a restaurant in the center of the zoo, which served food cafeteria-style. It was reasonably priced and very tasty. We dined outside in the shade and had a view of the primates from where we sat. I read that the upper floor of the restaurant overlooked the sea lion exhibit.

The animal enclosures are nicely landscaped. 

Nap time for Kangaroos!

These two seemed to get along quite well
 by completely ignoring each other.
There were many sights to see, and as the day grew warm we stopped at a little stand and ordered ice cream. When it was time to leave, we were all pretty tired. The drive home refreshed us, however, and we enjoyed an evening with Arno, who had insisted that we stop by for supper. It was our last night in Orleans and Arno had made beef Bourguignon. It was delicious! It was hard to say goodbye to our friend as we headed out the door, knowing it would probably be at least a year before we returned.

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