Brittany Parks, Zoos and Gardens
There are so many Brittany parks and gardens it's impossible to mention them all so here's just a selection.....
Branferé animal park is at Malansac -just twenty minutes away. This stunning park was founded in the eighteenth century and now holds host to a great mix of wildlife from kangaroos and zebras to flamingos and parrots. The beauty of it is you can touch and even feed most of the animals (e.g. the kangaroos) Take a picnic and make a whole day of it. Don't forget to visit the chateau in the grounds or to go on the brilliant aerial walkway
La Bourbansais is a zoo at Pleugueneuc set in the beautiful grounds of a huge chateau. It's really nicely laid out with lovely paths winding through the various animal enclosures. Mostly the animals are kept in by moats rather than fences so you feel much closer to them. It's well worth a day trip- I'd say it's Brittany's nicest zoo
You can see lions, tigers, panthers, giraffes, wolves, crocodiles etc. In addition check out one or more of the free shows (the hounds or the birds of prey demonstration). You can also visit the chateau itself. Don't forget to take the children to the bouncy castles (there are about eight of them and they are all free) and be careful not to get lost in the sweetcorn maze .There's a restaurant for lunch, drinks and ice creams in the middle of the zoo and you can use their picnic benches if you want to take your own food
Of all the Brittany parks this is the biggest; a huge safari park at Nantes and is a great day out for all the family. You arrive in your car and drive around yourself crossing sixteen huge areas which take you across the five continents of wildlife. See lions, tigers, giraffes, elephants, monkeys, buffalo, rhinos and dozens of other beasts; all are roaming free and come right up to the car. Remember to keep the windows closed ! If you prefer you can take a tour in a landrover. You're also allowed to get out and pet some of the animals (not the tigers). There's a good restaurant for lunch as well
The Insectarium at Lizio is only about fifteen minutes from the gites but it's not the place to go if you don't like creepy crawlies. See the lot, from the tiniest fleas upwards and understand their place in the world. There's also a giant bee colony
The Golfe Bird Reserve
At Vannes the Golfe du Morbihan is Brittany's premier national park and a massive bird sanctuary. The bay is about 15 miles square and is teeming with birdlife. You can walk along the reserves specially constructed paths above the marshes, use any of the 'hides' to study the birds or take a guided tour
The Bee Sanctuary
Near the town of Le Faouet you can visit the bee and stick-insect farms. Take a guided tour (in English) and find out everything you needed to know about the little beasts. See what they do and how they live.. Why not buy some genuine untainted honey ? None of this stuff reaches the shelves of Tesco's !!
These are right next to the aquarium in Vannes (see below). Well worth a visit as long as you don't mind walking through hundreds of swooping butterflies !
Pont Scorff Zoo
This a great Zoo and very well done, beautifully laid out with the animals given plenty of room and well cared for. You can see all sorts of beasts here from lions, giraffes, elephants and hippos, to bears, wolves, crocodiles and leopards. Spend the day, either take a picnic or eat in one of the on site restaurants which are cheap and good value. Don't forget to buy popcorn as you go in so you can feed the kangaroos and the ostrich !
Wild Boar farm
This unsurprisingly, is a farm devoted to no other animal than the wild boar. I've no idea why. If you have a hankering for a bit of boar then I suggest you look no further. They also sell the beasts- not whole I'm afraid but in bits; potted, tinned, sausaged and jointed. Alternatively, just go into a local restaurant and order it from the menu (look for sanglier). It's very nice.. a bit like steak but not
Farm of the World
Situated near Carrentoir about ten minutes from the gites this is a great place to visit. The farm is set in a huge parkland and boasts over four hundred animals from across the world. Starting with the humble chicken and the slightly shirty camel right up to bison and alpaccas. See all the animals up close, go into the petting park and touch and feed some of them. Either walk around the grounds or take the tour on the 'Disney' train. Enjoy a picnic followed by a game of crazy golf
At Le Sterou this is a large park of 'game type' animals which wander freely through the grounds. There's an aquarium as well
Bird Park- Bruz
A collection of over a 1000 exotic birds ranges from parrots to ostriches all at Rennes
This exceptional collection of sea life at Vannes aquarium is and very nicely done. From sharks to piranhas it's all there. The aquarium is the home to the famous crocodile found in the sewers of Paris There's also a smaller aquarium in Redon with a different variety of fishy things
If you fancy even more sea life then you could always go to the Oceanarium du Croisic at Le Croisic near St Nazaire- It's about an hours drive from the gites and has fifty plus large aquariums filled with life from three of the worlds oceans. It's a good place to visit and really well laid out, modern and well presented
There's an undersea glass tunnel you can walk through with sharks and manta rays swimming over your head and beside you. There's penguins to be laughed at and the huge shark tank is amazing. You walk up above it, then you come down beside the massive glass wall on one side. The view is incredible and the sharks are actually pretty scary. There's also a presentation about the sharks and their environment every couple of hours
To the north west at Brest enjoy the thrill of an unforgettable day discovering the world's oceans. Located at the western end of Brittany in an exceptional maritime and scientific environment This place will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about the worlds oceans with three separate zones. You can watch the seals, penguins and crabs in the polar zone. Move onto the sharks and seahorses in the tropical zone then ake part in the feeding of the sea lions in the temperate zone
At Plouagat, a unique centre holding lots of slimy, creatures from amphibians to reptiles
This centre near St Malo has snakes, alligators chameleons, turtles, lizards and much more......
Garden of the Wood
Set in the heart of Josselin this garden boasts a landscaped walk which features local plants and trees. In total, there are fifteen acres of 'wild' pathways and it's all free !
Parc Chateau Plessis
Near the town of Auray and overlooking the Golfe du Morbihan, this park and chateau has a large collection of rare and ancient plants
These large gardens near Breal contain unique plant collections such as the French national iris collection. In addition, there's a variety of landscapes to explore, all with their own specialised plants. It's really well laid out and very smart. The plants are well tended and labeled up so you know what you're looking at. There's also a lot of gardeners at work that are more than happy to chat to you about the plants
Of special interest is the Brittany Barefoot Walk, which, as it says is a walk for about twenty minutes without your shoes on. If you decide to try it out you put your shoes and socks in a locker and set off down a narrow path. The ground surface changes about every thirty metres or so to give you loads of different walking sensations underfoot. You even have the option to do it blindfolded....Plus there's a play park for children
Just outside Ploermel (Le Circuit des Hortensias) This beautiful park is part of the national collection and boasts well over 5000 plants.... there's a tea shop as well