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Zoo d Amneville



Wednesday, May 30, 2012 | This article is listed in the sections Magazine and Zoos and animal parks.

The Zoo in Amnéville


Zoo d Amneville
Gorilla at the zoo in Amnéville
The commune of Amnéville in Lorraine is actually barely worth mentioning. Visitors unacquainted with the locality driving through its centre in search of the Zoo d'Amnéville will notice that the town is neither very big nor nice looking, and above all deserted.

So this sleepy place, near the city of Metz and the German-French border, is seriously housing one of the largest leisure complexes with a zoo, thermal baths, an indoor ski slope, a cinema, a public aquarium, and dozens of restaurants and inns? However, the sign points the way out of town towards a woodland and therewith into a different world. While some visitors are in search of free spots on the toll-free parking place, many others take the offered attractions by storm. All of them are easily accessible on foot.

Zoo d Amneville
Demonstration of free-flying birds of prey
The inauguration of both Zoo d'Amnéville as well as the thermal baths dates back to 1986. Annually, more than 500,000 people visit the privately owned zoo housing over 2,000 animals on a surface of 16 hectares. The fact that is it is one of the country's largest is reflected in the admission fee: 30 EUR for adults and 24 EUR for children up to 11 years. German zoos of this size such as the one in Hanover, Gelsenkirchen, or Stuttgart are way more inexpensive. This gives rise to the question as to whether the price/performance ratio is appropriate or not, considering that a family with two children pays 100 EUR before entering the Zoo d'Amnéville.

Anybody who has already visited big zoos will take account of the overall impression, instead of jumping to premature conclusions. Zoos are changing. Over the last 10 to 15 years, cognitions of animal welfare and the interaction between human and animal has undergone fundamental changes. Unlike the predecessor of the zoological gardens where animals were kept in desolated cages, today, more and more zoos attach importance to elaborately designed nature facilities. It goes without saying that this cannot be financed and implemented overnight. Therefore, European zoos still have some weak points, but they ideally are or will be improving over time.

Impressions from the zoological garden in Amnéville

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When entering the Zoo d'Amnéville, one can choose between a route either clockwise or counter-clockwise. Rather coincidentally, both routes start with weak points: Counter-clockwise one can find the plain looking brown bear enclosure, and clockwise there are enclosures for leopards and pandas that seem quite small.

Highlights of the zoo


From here the impression changes from enclosure to enclosure: there is the impresive Vivarium Tropical built in 1997, the giant enclosure for orangutans, the sensational birds of prey shows "Spectacle de fauconnerie à cheval", and the new Gorilla Camp. The latter is themed to a research station, and situated in an indoor and outdoor area which enables visitors to have a good look at a great gorilla family. It even integrates a group of meerkats into its indoor area. The spectacle of the meerkats trying craftily to sneak the food intended for the gorillas shouldn't be missed by no means.

It certainly is the activity and presence of the animals that turns a visit to the zoo into a special experience, and a sunny weather adds a positive aspect. The Zoo d'Amnéville is in a class of its own. Where else are young rhinos galloping jauntily, a hippo mum with its baby, or polar bears eyeball to eyeball? Most enclosures additionally provide sufficient retreat opportunities for the animals. Ultimately, it is impossible to answer the question objectively, whether the admission fee of 30 EUR are worth spending, but from a subjective point of view a visit to the Zoo d'Amnéville in good weather is worth every euro.

© parkscout/AB/AF



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