We have lived in Paris for almost 6 years and, like the saying goes, you are the worst tourist in your own city. It has taken us this long to go visit the Paris City Zoo…despite that it is about 20 minutes away from our second apartment.
The Zoo is also celebrating their 5th Year/Anniversary since reopening with new animals like the red coatis. Also, worth mentioning, they have from June to mid August the Nocturnes on Thursdays when they open the park until 1am with alcoholic beverages sold at different stands.
Now that we are parents and we have been biking more (Anastasia doesn’t have too much experience on them and she generally avoids them), we decided to finally spend the day there with Dante. He is almost 2 years and 3 months, extremely athletic, curious and really puts Terrible in Terrible Twos.
To start with - you can buy your tickets there or online. If you do the latter, you can just scan the ticket’s QR code on the machines and the staff at the entrance can give you a hand. As soon as you enter, you can stop at the souvenir shop in case you are missing sunscreen or want to get some extra water if it’s warm. As with a lot of places, the exit is through the gift shop…so now you know the exit :) The main route of the visit is counter-clockwise and really easy to follow.
The Zoo’s main areas or ecosystems in the route’s order are Patagonia, Africa, Europe, Amazon/Guyane and Madagascar. There is also a picnic area between Patagonia and Africa with a fun activity to share with your kids. But first, let’s go over Patagonia.
The cutest animal pen by far in the first ecosystem is the Penguins and Sea Lions. Both animal enclosures have huge glass walls to see them when they are underneath swimming around. They also have a public feeding for the sea lions, just check the time here and around the animal pens.
The other animals are cute, but these two are the most memorable from the section. The next area is the picnic area that also has the Naked Feet zone: a little tour of different surfaces from all over the planet that you have to explore without shoes. It is a really fun experience for the little ones - take it from us and our smiling toddler.
After this little fun time running around, we decided to to have lunch. There are different food options for the zoo: the picnic area (you bring your own lunch), a fast food restaurant for burgers, several sandwich stands spread all over the park and the main restaurant. We went for the main restaurant because it was the least crowded option and also because Dante is a handful.
The restaurant is by the entrance and gift shop and the food was amazing. Their main menu with two plates is around 25E and we went for that option plus a kids meal.
After lunch, we went back where we left for lunch - Africa. I don’t think I have ever gotten the chance to see Rhinos this close. We only took a 50mm lens and this photo is not cropped. They were literally a few meters away from us <3
From the other animals in the African area, the Giraffes and the Zebras will be the most interesting to see a the Lions are probably lounging/sleeping like the cats they are. A cute bonus are the meerkats and the baboons because they are always interesting animals to watch…and fun. A few times we were around the baboon enclosure we could hear noise and commotion coming the them as they were playing and making a lot of noise. At this point I would say that we didn’t take any photos of the baboons because…I actually don’t like them :P I mean, the first baboon I looked at in the pen had a hard on while two others where cleaning his fur around his legs. I also hated the old cartoon I Am Weasel, so it might be a little bit of projection as well.
At this point we got lost and ended up doing the Europe section the wrong way. The last enclosure we saw from the African side was the bird section. I fell in love with the flamingos, it’s a inside joke with Anastasia and Aerosmith had a hand in that.
We moved then clockwise from the birds into the vivarium. The Iberian wolves were super cute…but also quite asleep on that hot summer afternoon. The lynx where all but a fluff ball of cats bunched up together snoring. The vultures are also quite a sight, but we didn’t see any of the birds of prey. Then the vivarium offered a cool break from the sun and also a few interesting sights from the cold blooded reptiles.
We came back out into the sun and visited the African Delta region because we missed it when we got lost :D It is a fun way looping down and it offers a nice view of the same pen with the giraffes but from the “river delta.”
On the way to the Madagascar/Guyane area, we managed to catch a sleeping Lynx who had moved RIGHT by the window. It was mega cute <3 I am both a cat and dog lover.
From the tropical region, we were a little to excited by the capybaras…another inside joke with Anastasia thanks to a YouTube channel called This is Хорошо. Besides these cuties, we loved the rain forest section inside the greenhouse. It was uncannily just like being back in Costa Rica… There, we enjoyed the guacamayas/maras/macaw because it brings me back to my childhood…again…I’m a kid from the tropics. My grandmom had a green macaw for as long as I could remember before they were declared protected species.
Then there were the iguanas which takes us back to our first trip to the beach where these are super common in the north pacific side of Costa Rica.
But my favorite animal from this region was the manatees <3 I mean, they ARE mermaids… maybe just a little on the heavy side, but I do have pure love for them.
The final section is the Madagascar region where we enjoyed the meerkats the most. At this point, we were back by the gift shop and restaurant where we had lunch, so we sat down and took a water break there. We went back into the store to buy a couple of things from the shop and went home on our bikes.
As a family activity, we highly recommend it. The price for the tickets is a little bit more than a museum entrance (20E from 3 year olds and up), but you can spend a whole day walking, seeing the animals and the feeding shows, having lunch and a coffee.
For any other information, make sure to visit the website of the zoo linked down below and try to check out the french version of the website as it offers more information and activities aimed for the locals like the Nocturnes.