Have you ever visited the Bioparc Genève? We couldn’t understand why we hadn’t discovered this place sooner but now we have, we are sure to be regular visitors.
Located in Bellevue just outside Geneva, you would never imagine when you arrive that there is a large animal park just behind the entrance.
We were really lucky to be able to meet Anne-Sophie who took us around the Bioparc personally to give us lots of information which meant we could really understand what an incredible place this is. Guided visits to the park will be available to other visitors when the Covid situation is more under control but this exceptional visit gave us access to the animals we could never have imagined.
To start, we were able to get inside the parrot enclosure and feed some peanuts to the biggest breed of parrot in the world. Jude's teacher at school has a parrot so he was really proud to be able to take a feather he found on the floor to show his classmates on Monday. We went to meet some camels who enjoy having their necks rubbed, we touched a snake and the best bit was getting in the lemur enclosure and giving them a banana. They are such funny creatures and leapt onto Anne-Sophie as soon as she opened the door and from there they jumped on to Jude and also Alba at one point as they scrambled for pieces of banana. I think we talked about that all weekend :-).
The Bioparc is an association which works for the conservation of species both local and exotic through 4 key missions:
1. Setting up or participating in conservation programmes
2. Environmental awareness and education
3. The development of a recognised animal-assisted intervention centre
4. Expertise and research.
A lot of the animals at the park have come from a difficult background with some who were being kept illegally, some who were part of a circus and others who have been maltreated or injured so its wonderful to see them given a new chance to enjoy life in a caring environment.
To be honest, it’s quite hard to drag Jude away from his Lego at the moment and there was some grumbling when we told him we were going out for the morning on Saturday but he soon changed his tune when we got there and declared it was one of his best outings ever and he regretted being less than enthusiastic about our outing! The great thing is that you are able to get really close to the animals even without a guided visit. You can give some grass to the rabbits when you pass, come eye to eye with a wild boar or feel the swish of the kangaroos tail as he hops past so its a really interactive place for children. Alba was in heaven here - this girl has absolutely no fear of animals and didn’t bat and eyelid when some geese came up and started quacking at her, or a goat came up to inspect her through the fence.
In non-covid times, they are happy to welcome groups and schools for sessions to learn more about the types of animals they house and the causes they work for. Your first visit is free and thereafter you are invited to make a donation entitling you to free access throughout the year (50.- CHF).
We were really impressed by the obvious level of care and dedication of everyone we met and we can’t wait to go back at the earliest opportunity.
Bioparc Genève Pierre Challandes
Route de Valavran 33, 1293 Bellevue
Open every day 7 days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.