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Welcome to the Valencia Bioparc
Within minutes of entering the Madagascar habitat at the Valencia Bioparc, any sense of adult inhibitions disappeared into child-like excitement and awe. We truly felt like we had stepped into another world all together; a world where perhaps we were the ones being observed rather than the other way around. The idea of zoos hadn’t really appealed to us before, yet after our first recent visit to the Valencia Bioparc, we could not have been more pleasantly surprised and impressed. It immersed us into the environments of amazing creatures. But rather than tell it with just words, we thought we would let our pictures speak for themselves about the Valencia Bioparc.
The Valencia Bioparc (also referred to as Bioparc Valencia) is African-themed and organized into four different types of habitats or environments: Madagascar, Equatorial Forest (Bosque Ecuatorial), Wetlands (Humedales), and Savannah (Sabana). Since the park is laid out in a circular fashion, you can go either to the left (following a clockwise route) or to the right, as we did (following a counter-clockwise route). This took us to the first habitat we experienced, Madagascar.
The Animal Kingdom of Madagascar
Upon entering the Madagascar habitat, the colorfully painted red sign had a jungle feel to it and as we stepped onto the path, we literally walked into an actual jungle. Following the paths, we walked right alongside bright-pink Flamencos standing in a fresh water pond and then gazed in adoration from a wood hut at Pigme Hippos, various other birds, and an incredible cat-like creature we had never seen before, a Fossa.
Meet the Lemurs of Madagascar
From there we arrived at where the Lemurs live. What animals with personality, and they probably think the same of us! Their particular habitat had an entry door and exit door, with a Bioparc Employee there at all times to manage how many people went in at one time and based on people coming out. This was also where strollers were parked, since they were not allowed into the home of the Lemurs.
The Lemur habitat is the closest you can get to animals in the park, with no walls or separators between you and them. We soon discovered that the rest of the habitats afforded great proximity to the animals as well. Each one is appropriate and ideal for the well-being of the animals and, of course, us humans in all our excited, ogling state of observation.
But our favorites were those we like to call the ‘lounger’ Lemurs. These guys are all about taking it easy and ‘zening out’. First there was just one that was in this hilarious sitting position, up on his butt, legs out in front of him, and both arms held out wide to their sides. Then others came jumping along and sat down to do the same. With their unusually bright red eyes, it’s easy to imagine that they were thinking one of two things – ‘Om…’ or ‘Man, I could go for some coffee right now’.
This Way to the Equatorial Forest Habitat
Venturing into the Equatorial Forest, it was easy to follow the paths alongside flowing creeks and through massive tree-trunk tunnels. There were numerous viewing points all along the way and many times we were higher up off the ground, so it was easy for people any height to see the animals.
One of the Leopards in Action
We loved seeing the Leopards. There were two of them that we could see. We were thrilled that the closer one showed off his agility as he leapt from one set of rock outcropping to another. Wonder what he’s thinking with that look in his eyes once he landed…?
The Chimpanzees, Gorillas and various other kinds of monkeys, were hanging out on large tree trunks. Their environments were green and lush, with creeks full of fish and bushes. Some of them were hanging out together and others were grazing on leaves and looked super relaxed.
The Talapoin & De Brazza's Monkeys
Exploring the Wetlands
Within the Wetlands Habitat is the Kitum Cave. It was very impressive with a large, cavernous interior that gave views of various fish, West Nile Crocodiles and even the great Nile Hippos.
The West Nile Crocodile
Kitum Cave in the Wetlands
Venturing into the Savannah Habitat
The re-creation of the Savannah environment is incredible! It’s expansive and has a well organized path that gives great viewing spots of the many different kinds of creatures. Even two of several restaurants in the park, the Kidepo Cafeteria and Samburu Restaurant, have seating right along the main Savannah area, providing gorgeous views of the landscape and various kinds of animals in their element.
Some of the Little Guys
The Oh-So-Cute Meerkats
Who else can you spot in the Savannah!?!
Lions, elephants…oh my! When else can you watch such strong, powerful creatures and be oohing and awing!?! Another of our favorites were definitely these two. The Elephants were so great to see, especially how they interacted with each other.
The Lion and his Lionesses were particularly funny to watch – from scratching an itch on the nose to coming in for a kiss, it seemed like the Lion is quite the spoiled male, with how all the Lionesses were taking turns loving on him.
Coming in for a Kiss
Can't miss the Giraffes.
The 3 Main Principles of Valencia Bioparc
A park such as this could not be created without a great foundation of values and principles. The Valencia Bioparc is committed to three main principles that guide their park:
- Scientific Conservation
- Recreational and Educational
Opportunities for Improvement
We love the Valencia Bioparc and had a fantastic visit. The various learning stations throughout the park provide creative educational opportunities and the staff are attentive to the interaction of the visitors with the animals and the care of the animals. There were two things we think provide opportunities for improvement, based on our experience:
- Cigarette smoking is allowed within the park, which is a great disappointment to us and surprising – many of the best zoos in the world are smoke-free. While one would think that people would perhaps not smoke as much in the park or make sure to use ash trays, we saw several people smoking who simply dropped their butts on the ground.
- A customer service experience – When leaving the park, the exit goes through the gift shop, but as we walked out the door a staff-member was standing there (it seems a staff member always stands there) and asked us in Spanish if we had picked up our picture taken when we first arrived. We answered in Spanish ‘no thank you, we’re not interested,’ but she went on insisting and we came to understand that we had to go to the picture desk and identify our picture so they could then take it off their wall…? Long story short, she wasn’t accepting our ‘no’s’ and got loud and everyone in the store stopped to watch. It was a bit embarrassing, but even worse, when we went to the counter and pointed out the pics, one of the two women behind the counter (taller, with long dark hair) rolled her eyes and smirked at us. It was really rude and childish. But also sad – we had such a great day and it was too bad that there are staff who are not helpful, friendly or kind to the visitors. More than anything though, perhaps the park can ease up on their ‘sales tactics’ regarding these pictures.
Overall, we had a great experience. There are many staff members at the park who were friendly and very helpful and kind. The recreation of the environments are incredible and the way the park is organized is easy to enjoy. There is so much to the park that we haven’t been able to touch on here, so make sure to learn more by visiting their site at http://www.bioparcvalencia.es/.
*Travel Tip: When you get the Valencia Tourist Card you enjoy discounts on entry into the Valencia Bioparc, on food at one of their restaurants, and it includes free public transportation so you can easily get there.
We look forward to return visits and highly recommend it for others who visit Valencia, and especially those of us who are living here in Spain.
THANK YOU Valencia Bioparc! ¡Muchisimas Gracias!
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Disclaimer: Although we received complimentary Bioparc tickets from the Valencia Bioparc, all photography, opinions and views expressed are our’s.