A bit of history about Beauval Zoo

The park was founded by Françoise Delord, driven by her deep passion for birds. It all started with her collecting birds in her Paris apartment, before eventually settling in Beauval, at Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, with her two children, Delphine and Rodolphe. Together with her son, they decided to open an ornithological park. Rodolphe can often be seen around the park, welcomed like a true rock star by Choupinou!

Over the years, new species and expanded areas have enriched the park. In 2009, the Beauval Nature association was established to support numerous animal aid and protection initiatives worldwide.

Today, ZooParc de Beauval ranks as the 4th most beautiful zoo in the world, and let’s be honest, it absolutely deserves that distinction!

What is the best time to visit Beauval Zoo ?

As you might expect, like all tourist attractions, the best time to visit is during the off-season if possible, or even in winter. If that’s not feasible, there isn’t really a perfect time, but some periods should be avoided if you want to enjoy the zoo without feeling like a sardine.

Therefore, we strongly advise against visiting during a long weekend, holiday, or public holiday, as these times are the busiest of the year.

How to organize your visit to Beauval Zoo ?

Opening hours and prices

The zoo offers 3 ticket options :

  • Dated 1-day ticket: 33 euros per child, 40 euros per adult (at the ticket office)
  • Consecutive 2-day dated ticket: 55 euros per child, 66 euros per adult (at the ticket office)
  • Annual pass valid for 1 year: starting from 99 euros per adult and 82 euros per child

The Annual Pass quickly becomes advantageous if you plan to spend several days in the region. It allows unlimited access to the zoo throughout the year. The Premium ZooPass, slightly more expensive, offers additional benefits such as discounts at restaurants and shops.

The zoo is open from 9:00 AM to 8:30 PM, though some animals are brought in at 7:00 PM. On certain busy days, the zoo opens at 8:00 AM, so it’s advisable to check the zoo’s website directly before your visit here.

Follow the best route

The recommended route provided on the map given to you at the entrance is well-designed, so follow it on your first day!

For your second day, depending on what you haven’t yet experienced: either head straight to the pandas before the crowds arrive, or head straight to the dome!

Where to eat at Beauval Zoo, dining options

You’ll find dining spots scattered throughout the zoo, catering to every budget and taste! There are a total of 16 restaurants available.

Each restaurant has its own theme based on its location. For instance, in the South American Aviary, you’ll find the Flamingo offering Mexican cuisine. There’s a huge variety of dining styles to choose from: self-service, buffet, takeaway meals, fast food, snacks… Personally, our favorite is Kilimandjaro, known for its sweet potato fries and delicious burgers!

Of course, you’re welcome to bring your own food to the zoo. While many people enjoy picnicking within the zoo, we recommend using the designated picnic areas outside the zoo grounds. There are no designated picnic spots inside the zoo, so visitors often end up sitting on the ground throughout the zoo.

Where to stay near Beauval Zoo ?

Visiting Beauval Zoo with a camper van

At Beauval Zoo, there’s a flat, free parking area dedicated to camper vans. Overnight stays are allowed, but there are no services available, so be sure to take care of everything you need before arriving if you plan to stay multiple days.

The area is very peaceful but fills up quickly due to the increasing number of camper van enthusiasts each year.

We’re eagerly hoping they’ll decide to expand it soon! Or perhaps create a nice, small campsite—even if it’s a paid one with facilities, that would be great! Note that there are toilets available in the parking area as well.

Alternatively, there’s a Camping-Car Park service area located in Saint-Aignan. The parking fee is approximately 13 euros, including services. This area is about ten minutes away from the zoo.

Hotels near Beauval Zoo

Parking for cars is free, and Beauval Zoo offers 5 hotels at various price points. You’ll need your car to reach them as they are just a few minutes away from the zoo. For Les Pagodes de Beauval and Les Jardins de Beauval, you can walk to the zoo in 5 minutes. Additionally, you’ll find numerous accommodations on Booking.com at more competitive prices.

From our experience, we’ve tested and loved Les Jardins de Beauval: decorated in an Indonesian theme, the hotel and its gardens are stunning! The rooms are spacious with a Balinese ambiance, and there’s a garden featuring a large lake with fish and free-roaming turtles, along with the restaurant Le Tegallalang.

Each hotel has its own restaurant, open to both guests and non-residents. If you’re arriving in a camper van, it’s advisable to make a reservation!

We’ve also tried and enjoyed:

  • Le Tegallalang restaurant, offering a rather exotic buffet.
  • Le Sichuan restaurant, serving an Asian buffet.

Shows and entertainment at Beauval Zoo

Beauval Zoo offers two main shows

  • Les Maîtres des Airs (Masters of the Air): In the midst of a theater, over 600 birds gracefully perform above our heads, accompanied by music and flying very close to the audience. It’s impressive and beautiful, definitely a must-see spectacle!
  • L’Odyssée des Lions de Mer (Odyssey of the Sea Lions): In an aquatic amphitheater, visitors can witness the acrobatics of several sea lions. For us, this is a bit of a downside of the zoo. Without taking sides, we’re not particularly fond of this type of show…

Activities offered

At Beauval, you can step into the shoes of a keeper for half a day. The park offers 3 options based on age: for adults, children, and toddlers.

From our side, Choupinou tried the one for children under 7, and it was a wonderful experience worth repeating! For 2 hours, he followed a keeper in a small group, created enrichment for an animal, fed another, visited a secret part of the zoo, and learned a lot of things!

Tips to facilitate your visit to Beauval Zoo

It can sometimes be challenging to spot certain animals.

  • To see the pandas in action (yes, they sleep a lot), it’s best to visit early in the morning or late in the afternoon, during the cooler parts of the day.
  • For visiting the greenhouses where it can get crowded quickly, we recommend going in the late afternoon from 6 PM onwards, when most visitors head towards the shops.
  • Speaking of shops, avoid visiting them late in the day! It’s nearly impossible to see anything; instead, opt for morning right after opening or in the evening before closing around 7 PM.
  • If you plan to have lunch at a restaurant, aim for late morning between 11 AM and 11:30 AM, or after 2:30 PM. After noon, the restaurants get crowded, and queues can be quite long.
  • Make good use of the cable cars repeatedly. Not only are they enjoyable, especially for children, but they also save you valuable time.
  • If you prefer to bring your own lunch, you can exit the zoo to use the picnic area and then return without any hassle.
  • Visit the dome in the evening from 6:30 PM onwards for a much more pleasant experience where you can observe and enjoy it better.

About Author

We are Sophie, Adrien, and our two adorable little ones. Passionate about travel, discovery, and gastronomy, we bought a 2007 Rapido camper van to travel differently, travel more, and introduce our children to the world. Here, we share our wonderful discoveries and tips for activities to do with children in France and beyond ! Welcome !

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