Visit the Beauval Zoo: tickets, prices, opening hours

visiter-zoo-beauval

Are you planning to visit Beauval Zoo, nicknamed « France’s most beautiful zoo »? Here’s everything you need to know about Beauval Zoo!

Located in the French commune of Saint-Aignan, in the Loir-et-Cher region (41), the Beauval zoo is a vast animal park housing 10,000 animals of 600 different species over an area of 40 hectares. It is one of the largest zoos in France and Europe. On the strength of its reputation and its tourist and hotel appeal – the park boasts four luxury hotels – the zoo attracted 1.5 million visitors in 2018.

Would you like to visit the Beauval Zoo? Here’s our mini tour guide!

History of Beauval Zoo

The story of the zoo, created in 1980, goes that Françoise Lajunias, alias Françoise Delord, then presenter of shows at the Bobino (Paris), received a pair of African passerines (silver-billed capuchins) as a gift. She later acquired two grey mandarin diamonds, and her collection grew to 400 animals. Unable to house all her specimens, she and her husband Jacques Lajunias (alias Jacques Delord) decided to open a wildlife park in Beauval: the future Beauval Zoo was born, the launch of a lifetime dedicated to animals and their protection.

When it opened in 1980, the park already held over 2,000 birds, a collection that was unique in France from the outset. In 1989, the zoo welcomed its first wildcats and primates, becoming a zoological park that would go on to become one of the most renowned in France. The zoo gradually added green plains, tropical greenhouses, panoramic ponds and islands to accommodate white tigers (a subspecies of the Bengal tiger), orangutans, chimpanzees, snakes, Nile crocodiles, sea lions, birds of prey, pandas, manatees, gorillas, hyenas, white lions, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, ostriches and more.

In 2016, Beauval Zoo held 3,000 mammals, birds and reptiles. At the end of 2018, Beauval Zoo boasts a total of 450 births a year – some of very rare species – within the zoo.

What to see and do at Beauval Zoo?

As France’s largest zoo, a visit to Beauval Zoo is an opportunity to see thousands of animals, some of them threatened, protected and/or endangered, over 600 species across 40 hectares. Visiting the zoo’s collection of 10,000 animals , you’ll wander between tropical greenhouses, verdant plains, landscaped islands, aviaries and ponds.

The Beauval zoo is so vast that visitors must follow a guided tour to fully enjoy it: the animals are divided into 94 areas and enclosures (lemur islands, flamingo pond, nursery, giant tortoises, African savannah, white tigers, lion house, vivarium, meerkats and wild dogs, etc.). The zoo’s most emblematic residents are certainly the two giant Chinese pandas.

The Beauval zoo has 11 dedicated areas: the great ape greenhouse, the bird greenhouse – with 1,500 birds from all over the world -, the gorilla and manatee tropical greenhouse, an African plain – where you can see a dozen herbivore species : rhinoceroses, wildebeests, giraffes -, the sea lion pool, the Australian greenhouse, the African elephant plain, the Asian plain, the « On the heights of China » area where you can see the two giant pandas or the snow leopards, an open-air theater – 500 birds in the air above visitors -, and an African extension: « the hippopotamus reserve » opened in 2016 and « the land of lions » opened in 2017.

Still have time to visit Beauval Zoo? Take advantage of the various shows and activities on offer at the park:

Maîtres des Airs  » in the open-air theater (from March 30, 2019): bird show.

Sea Lion Odyssey  » in the aquatic amphitheater (from March 30, 2019): sea lion show and educational activities on animal life.

– In particular, you can take a course to learn how to care for animals!

How to visit Beauval Zoo

Start by downloading the map below to help you find your way around the zoo (you can also download the zoo app, which is very practical): don’t try to visit the Beauval zoo in numerical order, as the animal enclosures are not hierarchically ordered.

plan-carte-zoo-beauval

When is the best time to visit ZooParc de Beauval?

Depending on the length of your stay at Beauval, it’s best to wake up early! By arriving as soon as the park opens at 9 a.m., you can avoid the crowds and long queues. The best time of year to visit Beauval Zoo is in July and August, but for greater peace and quiet (and fewer crowds), you’ll want to come during the spring and early autumn months.

How long does it take to visit Beauval Zoo?

Ideally, you should plan a full day at Beauval. If you don’t have a whole day to devote to visiting the zoo, a minimum of 5 hours is enough to discover the whole zoo, as well as seeing the bird show, « Les Maîtres des Airs », and the sea lion show, « L’Odyssée des lions de mer ».

Is it possible to eat at Beauval Zoo?

Picnics are not permitted in the zoo. For a bite to eat, the zoo has 12 food outlets throughout the park. Otherwise, picnic tables and benches have been set up near the parking lot: you can take your lunch break there before returning inside the zoo, but be sure to get an exit stamp!

How to get to Beauval Zoo

Aller au zoo de Beauval

Photo credit: Google Maps screenshot

To visit the Beauval zoo, we recommend you take a full day. As the park is located near Blois, between Tours and Vierzon, there are several ways to get there:

  • By car

From Paris, simply take the A10 towards Orléans, then Vierzon, Tours and finally Saint Aignan, before reaching the Zoo, which is easily accessible via signposts. If you’re coming from another town, choose Tours, Blois or Vierzon (whichever is closest).

  • By bus

It’s possible to get to Beauval Zoo by bus. From Paris, you can book a round trip online, which includes a stopover in the medieval town of St Aignan sur Cher. You’ll arrive at the park at 10am. Allow 2h45 for the journey.

  • By train

If you choose to take the train, all you have to do is stop at Blois station before taking the shuttle bus to the Zoo (approx. 1 hour journey for €4 return). Please note, however, that the shuttle does not run every day, and is only operational from late March to November. To find out more, check the timetable before you leave.

Zoo de Beauval opening hours and prices

SCHEDULES

The Beauval Zoo is open every day from 9 a.m. :

  • Giant pandas

– November to February: 9am to 4:30pm

– April, May, June, September: 9am to 6pm

– July, August: 9am to 8pm

– March and October: 9am to 5pm

  • Hippopotamus reserve

– November to February: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

– April, May, June, September: 9:30 am to 6:30 pm

– July, August: 9am to 7:30pm

– March and October: 9am to 5:30pm

  • Tropical greenhouses

– November to February: 9am to 5.30pm

– March, April, May, June, September: 9am to 7pm

– July, August: 9am to 8pm

– October: 9 am to 6 pm

  • Stores

– November and December: 9am to 6pm

– January: 9am to 5:30pm

– February: 9 am to 6:30 pm

– March and October: 9am to 7pm

– April, May, June and September: 9am to 7:30pm

– July, August: 9am to 8:30pm

In November and December, the store closes at 6.30pm on weekends, public holidays and school vacations.

RATES

  • 1-day ticket

Adults (over 11): €29

– Children (3 to 10 years): €23

– Under 3: free

  • 2-day ticket

– Adults: €43.50

– Children: €34.50

– Under 3s: free

  • ZooPass 1 year

– Adults: €58

– Children: €46

– Under 3s: free

You can download the app to guide you through the zoo’s alleys and find answers to all your questions about the animals: or how to have a guided tour on your smartphone (but don’t overuse it to get the most out of it)!