LIONS AND LEOPARDS AND CROCS, OLÃ‰
New Immersion Zoo Opens in Valencia
The first phase of a new state-of-the-art zoo has opened in Spain â€™s third largest city. At the $94 millionBioparc Valencia, visitors can watch antelope, zebras and gazelle gallop over the African savannah and gorillas and leopards roam a lush, bird-filled equatorial forest. One of the most advanced zoos in Europe , the 25-acre park is home to 4000 animals from 250 species. Plans call for a second phase to include nearly five more acres to showcase the ecosystems of South-east Asia and Central and South America .
â€œZoo immersion,â€ the newest in zoological park design, gives new meaning to the phrase â€œup close and personal.â€ By reproducing vegetation, the undulating terrain of a specific ecosystem and the authentic sounds of the wild â€“ while concealing barriers and man-made structures â€“ the architects have meticulously replicated the habitats of these wild creatures.
Visitors begin by traveling deep into the savannah viewing the herds of antelope, giraffe and rhinoceros and maybe catching a glimpse of lion surveying the plain from rocky heights. Life underground can be seen in and around a termite mound, a hyena nest or a warthog burrow. Next, visitors venture into the dense equatorial forest in search of gorilla, leopard and red forest buffalo. Further on is a water hole where hippo frolic and crocodiles glide among thousands of multi-colored fish.
With Europeâ€™s largest aquarium, a kid friendly and very interactive science museum, its eye-shaped planetarium complete with IMAX theatre, and a new waterfront thanks to last yearâ€™s staging of the America â€™s Cup, this Spanish city on the Mediterranean has really come into its own.
A breeding program for endangered species and the parkâ€™s emphasis on the inhabitants and their ecosystems speak to Bioparcâ€™s dedication to conservation and ethics.
The Bioparc is open every day of the year from 10 AM and closes between 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM depending on the season. Admission is about $31.50 (20 euros) for adults and about $23.60 (15 euros) for children.
Written by the Tourist Board of Spain