Are you planning to go to the Beauval zoo? Do you have questions about accommodation, the price of entry or even feeding the animals? We surely have the answer!

Do not hesitate to consult the following sections:

Below, we have also gathered a whole bunch of useful information about the Beauval animal park. This will allow you to have an overview of the zoo and to plan your stay as best as possible.

What is the history of Beauval Zoo?

The Beauval zoo opened to the public in 1980 under the leadership of Françoise Delord, passionate about birds and committed to their conservation. At the beginning, the park was above all an ornithological park: upon its opening, it welcomed nearly 2000 birds.

Gradually, the Beauval ornithological park expanded to become one of the most beautiful zoological parks in the world.

In 1989, the park officially became a zoo, welcoming wild animals and primates, then 2 years later the first white tigers of France, Gorby and Raïssa.

The park is also a pioneer in all areas: in 1992, its tropical greenhouse for great apes was the largest in France, with a 2000 m² island dedicated to each species (orangutans, chimpanzees, etc.).
great ape greenhouse Beauval
A vivarium, the tropical bird greenhouse (the largest in France, 38 meters high and more than 300 exotic birds!), the sea lion swimming pool, the gorilla and manatee greenhouse and finally the African savannah (including the first white lions of Europe) will follow in the 90s.

The 2000s marked the beginning of the park’s active commitment to saving animals. A nursery for breeding parrots is created and many spaces are enlarged, such as the African savannah and the vivarium, to improve the well-being of the animals and welcome new species. Spaces for African, Asian and Chinese animals are opening and zoo attendance is exploding. To welcome all visitors, the *** hotel Les Jardins de Beauval was established 500 meters from the zoo in 2008.

The recent history of the zoo is marked by the arrival of the couple giant pandas in 2012 (the only ones in France), the opening of new hotels and the creation of the large South American aviary in 2023.
giant panda

“Beauval” Zoo: why this name?

The name “Beauval” is linked to the geographical origin of the animal park.

In the 1970s, Françoise Delord, then a presenter at the Bobino music hall in Paris, won, through a subscription to a magazine, two African birds, silver-billed capuchins. Very quickly, she took a liking to these birds and set up an aviary in her apartment.
Françoise Delord
In the space of a few years, nearly 300 birds joined Ms. Delord’s collection. With her family, she decided in 1977 to move to a more suitable place, in Saint-Aignan-sur-Cher, in the Loir-et-Cher department (41).

In 1980, she created an ornithological park at a place called Beauval, which will become a zoological park in 1989.

Françoise Delord died in 2021.

Who owns the Beauval Zoo?

Beauval Zoo is a simplified joint stock company (SAS), 12% of whose capital is held by a bank, and 88% by the Delord family. It is therefore a family business.

Rodolphe Delord, the son of Françoise Delord, the founder of the park, is the general director of the zoo. Delphine Ardant serves as associate general director.

The Beauval zoo is an important economic player: with an average turnover of 26 million euros between 2011 and 2015, the Delord family, owner of the zoo, employs 450 permanent employees with its hotels and double that in high season, or nearly 1000 employees!

How big is the Beauval zoo?

The Beauval zoo has an area of ​​44 hectares. The ZooParc is home to more than 35,000 animals of 800 different species.

How popular is the Beauval zoo?

The Beauval ZooParc is the first zoological park in France, and one of the 5 most beautiful in the world according to Tripadvisor. It is the one which presents the greatest diversity of animals in France, including animals unique to France.

Its ideal location in the heart of the Loire castles makes it an ideal tourist destination.

He thus welcomed:

  • 2 million visitors in 2022 (record year)
  • 1.4 million visitors in 2021
  • 1.2 million visitors in 2020
  • 1.6 million visitors in 2019

Beauval zoo park exit

How long to visit the Beauval zoo: 1 or 2 days?

The park team recommends devoting a whole day to visiting the zoo. Of course, it is possible to spend two days there to enjoy the animals even more.

In all cases, a minimum of 5 hours is recommended to be able to see all the spaces as well as the “Les Maîtres des Airs” and “The Odyssey of the Sea Lions” shows.
Beauval bird show

When is the best time to visit Beauval Zoo?

The best time to visit the zoo is spring (April/May), during the week: this allows you to avoid the holiday crowds and the high heat of summer, while still benefiting from pleasant weather.

It is strongly recommended to arrive early in the morning, as soon as it opens (9 a.m.): the animals are more active and you avoid queues.
panda Beauval
However, if you can’t choose your visit period, don’t worry! It is still pleasant to visit the zoo even when it rains (the zoo has many shelters) or when it is very hot (the zoo has several water points, misters and shaded paths).

Many animals have indoor enclosures and you will be able to see them through glass, even if they don’t go outside.

What is the best day of the week to visit Beauval?

The best days to visit Beauval without fear of heavy crowds are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

If you are planning a weekend visit, choose Saturday instead.

Please note, however, that during the school holidays, you will encounter a lot of people in the paths of the park, regardless of the day.

Is the cable car in operation?

Construction work on the Beauval zoo cable car has been completed. The gondola system was inaugurated on March 30, 2019.
Beauval cable car
Called the “Nuage de Beauval”, this means of transport (24 cabins in total) can support up to 8 people per cabin.

It allows visitors to move more easily and quickly between the lion zone and the elephant zone (800 meters distance, between 3.40 minutes and 5.20 minutes journey depending on crowds and weather conditions) . It also offers the possibility of observing animals in a unique way, 40 meters above the ground, with a 360° panorama!

Its use is free (included in the ticket price) and accessible to people with reduced mobility and strollers.

What is the recommended tour route?

To optimize your visit, it is advisable to follow the park’s tour route, indicated by the “direction of visit” signs. This route is dotted with educational panels that will allow you to learn more about the animals in the zoo.

Don’t forget to organize your visit according to the shows and activities you want to see: the day’s program will be available on your visit plan.

To find your way around, you can consult the map of the Beauval zoo below (click here to download the PDF version).
plan of the Beauval zoo

Are there any tips for visiting Beauval Zoo?

To optimize your visit, you can download the Beauval zoo application, available on Android and iOS. This app guides you through the park, helping you find your way based on what you want to see and your location. It also gives you lots of information on the species presented at the zoo.

To avoid wasting time and arrive as soon as the park opens, you can stay in one of the park’s hotels, located nearby. Each hotel has its own atmosphere inspired by Bali, Vietnam or China.

If you have pets, it is not recommended to take them to the zoo.

Can we see the Beauval Zoo on TV?

The Beauval zoo was the subject of a TV show, The mysteries of the Beauval zoo, hosted by Cécile de Ménibus. This documentary produced in 2016 takes you behind the scenes of the zoo, in particular its commitment to the preservation of animals.

Throughout the show, we follow the zoo’s keepers and veterinarians to discover how they work for the well-being of the animals.

We also discover the zoo’s actions that go beyond the simple conservation of the zoo’s species, such as the reintroduction of a kudu into its original environment, in Djibouti.

The ZooParc also appears regularly in television news, in documentaries and current affairs magazines: Zone Interdite, Sept à Huit, RMC Story, etc.

How to sponsor an animal?

The Beauval Zoo is actively engaged in animal conservation through the Beauval Nature association, whose mission is to save threatened animal and plant species through concrete actions: support for conservation programs, research work, awareness of the animal cause, etc.

This association allows you to sponsor an animal of your choice, that is to say, to help finance conservation programs for this animal.

To become a Sponsor, simply choose the animal you wish to sponsor from the list available on the zoo website dedicated to sponsorship (pandas, Goodfellow’s denrola, koalas, arctic wolves, white rhino, Sumatran tiger, etc.). Your donations must be at least €20.
Sumatran tiger
Once you have registered as a sponsor, your sponsorship is valid for 1 year and renewable: during this year, you regularly receive information on the zoo’s species and their conservation in the natural environment. Please note that your donations are 66% tax deductible.

Can you become a budding healer?

Alongside sponsorships, the keepers and veterinarians of the Beauval Zoo are there to ensure the well-being of the animals on a daily basis. Some keepers are specialized, for example in falconry for birds of prey.

It is possible to participate in the work of the keepers thanks to the two “Carer for a Day” programs offered by the park.
feeding lamatines
The “Carer for a Day” experience lasts half a day, during which you can accompany the carers and learn more about their daily missions. You participate in the care of the animals, from meal preparation to feeding.

In spring/summer (from 1er April to September 30), the activity lasts 4 hours and costs €220. In autumn/winter (from 1er October to December 30), the activity lasts 4 hours and costs €220.

A “Junior Caregiver for a Day” activity is also offered for children between 10 and 17 years old. In spring/summer, the activity lasts 3 hours and costs €115. In autumn/winter, the activity lasts 3 hours and costs €115.

Can we feed the animals?

Apart from the programs mentioned just above, feeding animals is not authorized to respect their well-being.

In fact, feeding an animal with foods that are not part of its diet can make it sick!

However, you can attend the feeding during the activities offered daily by the ZooParc.

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