Wild immersion in the Pyrenees Animal Park

Argelès-Gazost
Wild immersion in the ...
For nature lovers, nothing beats the excitement of discovering an animal in its environment and observing it in the wild. However, even by interfering discreetly in their natural habitat, animals detect us well before us! So to be able to admire them up close, better understand them and educate children about the preservation of biodiversity, some animal parks are home to extraordinary species that evolve in semi-freedom in vast natural spaces in the heart of lush vegetation. Head to the Pyrenees Animal Park in Argelès Gazost for a getaway in harmony with nature, meeting local and exotic species to protect.

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Large spaces where the animal world reigns supreme

If you are not frankly fans of zoos because you do not appreciate observing animals through fences and windows, reclusive in small enclosures a thousand places from their natural habitat, the Animal Park of the Pyrenees provides a whole another experience of the animal world!

Located on the heights of Argelès Gazost, it extends over a forest area of 14 hectares to accommodate its residents with the greatest respect for their needs, by recreating enclosures identical to the original environment of the species. The security separations are invisible, the elements of the natural setting: rocks, ponds, vast wooded grounds, sloping, with multiple hiding places! Let's go for a beautiful discovery in the heart of nature, to meet the animals of the Pyrenees but also other mountain environments.


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An experience apart

Notice to lovers of escape and wide open spaces! A course marked out by 9 different universes crosses the forest domain and promotes immersion in nature for young and old. A real trip of a few hours and a nice hike. Allow between 2 to 4 hours of visit. An on-site restaurant offers dishes based on local produce and grilled meats as well as the half-course Bar des Marmottes which offers fast food with sandwiches and ice creams for gourmets. Two picnic areas are also available to the public, one located at the entrance to the park, the other inside the park near the area reserved for farm animals. A good day in perspective!

What awaits us as we walk through the gates of this forest park surrounded by mountains? The course begins in a large aviary where around twenty species of birds roam freely! We are greeted by a magnificent Goura de Victoria, the largest land pigeon in the world. Here are the familiar birds that we observe in France: the little egret, the elegant avocet, the white stork, the white stilt, the oyster, the white spoonbill and the pink flamingo. Other rarer or exotic species color the aviary such as the scarlet ibis, the inca tern or the long-tailed roller. Information panels are available to the public to improve our knowledge of these sumptuous birds.


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The sumptuous Goura of Victoria

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We follow the path that leads, further on, to several aquatic spaces sheltering fairly common varieties of animals that are easy to see furtively in nature: otters, nutria, grebes and raccoons. What a pleasure to watch them swim for a long time, play with each other, and go about their business!


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Zoo


We continue our way towards the hill of the marmots, a funny little mammal that is found everywhere in the mountains, but which often hides in its burrow when it feels in danger. Here, around thirty of them let themselves be approached by visitors who can feed them in the presence of the healers!

Then place the carnivores! In the large spaces where they have taken up residence, it is not always easy to spot them. Open your eyes wide to observe the ocelot, for example, this wild cat threatened with extinction by the trade in its fur or the lynx, the largest of the felines, which basks on the high branches of trees. Other green spaces are home to endangered Pyrenean bears, a colony of meerkats, adorable binturongs also called "bear cats", red pandas and ash otters.


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Zoo   Zoo

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Educational activities throughout the course

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The binturong

The children are not at the end of their surprise. Continuing the route, the trail leads to the farm Pitchounes two separate areas with one side of the farm animals and the other a large aviary with colorful parrots and lemurs very sociable cattas, lemurs originating humid forests of southern Madagascar, whose groups are led by females!


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Zoo   Zoo


The terrain becomes more and more sloping as we rise in altitude: the area of predilection for raptors (vultures, vultures) and mountain animals. Along the shaded trails, we say hello to large herbivores such as ibex, chamois, deer, deer and prairie dogs.

The route winding through the forest is full of information panels and observation points to better discover these species, but also to take a few breaks and admire the majestic landscapes that surround the park.


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At the end of 3 hours of stroll, the last space invites us to discover a mythical animal which brings many children to confront their fears and prejudices: the wolf. Two varieties of wolf live in these vast territories: the black wolf of Canada and the gray wolf of Europe. An observation platform allows you to dive into the fascinating world of these wild animals and discover their secrets: hierarchical order, social life, meals. Adorable wolf cubs were born inside the park in 2020 and put on a fabulous show!


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European gray wolf

A center for care, protection of species and research

Working to create environments that respect the natural habitats of animals, the Pyrenees Animal Park has the particularity of developing programs to save and reintroduce endangered species. If you have a generous soul, it is possible to make a contribution to the edifice by sponsoring park animals and helping to support these efforts.

Practical information:

Opening hours :

  • April-May-June-September: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • July- August: 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • October - weekend and school holidays: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • October - Outside school holidays 1 p.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Annual closing: November to March

PYRENEES ANIMAL PARK

60 bis avenue des Pyrénées

65400 AYZAC-OST / ARGELÈS-GAZOST

Phone. : 05.62.97.91.07

www.parc-animalier-pyrenees.com


The lower part of the Park is accessible to disabled people.

If you wish to stay there, ecolodges welcome you to sleep as close as possible to black wolves, bears and prairie dogs.

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Did you like this report? Find others on the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide Blog. We are on social networks, find the Facebook page of the Toulouse Pyrénées Guide and the Instagram account @Guidetoulousepyrenees


Report and photos produced by Lesley Williamson for the Toulouse Pyrenees Guide


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