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The Animal Kingdom for Kids

Getting back to nature in the city centre...

Karl Blackwell / Time Out
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
Paris is an urban jungle in every sense of the term: from zoos and aquariums to museums and parks, you and your family are never far from a feathered friend, a creepy crawly or a even a Billy Goats Gruff. Check out this list of petting opportunities...

Grande Galerie de l'Evolution

One of the city's most child-friendly attractions, this is guaranteed to bowl adults over too. Located within the Jardin des Plantes, this beauty of a 19th-century iron-framed, glass-roofed structure has been modernised with lifts, galleries and false floors, and filled with life-size models of tentacle-waving squids, open-mawed sharks, tigers hanging off elephants and monkeys swarming down from the ceiling. The centrepiece is a procession of African wildlife across the first floor that resembles the procession into Noah's Ark. Glass-sided lifts take you up through suspended birds to the second floor, which deals with man's impact on nature and rewiring of evolution (crocodile into handbag). The third floor focuses on endangered and extinct species. The separate Galerie d'Anatomie Comparée et de Paléontologie contains over a million skeletons and a world-class fossil collection.

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Quartier Latin et Sud de Paris

Jardin d'Acclimatation

Founded in 1860, this amusement park and garden has animals, a Normandy-style farm and an aviary, as well as boat rides, a funfair with mini rollercoasters, flying chairs, the Enchanted House for children aged two to four and two playgrounds. There's also a place to steer radio-controlled boats and mini golf. Many of the attractions cost €2.90 a go; others are free. A miniature train runs from Porte Maillot through the Bois de Boulogne to the park entrance, and has space for pushchairs (€2.70 return; €4.15-€5.60 with entry included).

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Champs-Élysées & l'Ouest de Paris

Cinéaqua

Aquarium de Paris - Cinéaqua (combining an aquarium and a two-screen cinema) is a wonderful attraction and a key element in the renaissance of the once moribund Trocadéro. Children in particular love the shark tunnel (home to 24 toothy harks), and the petting pool (bassin de caresses) where you can stroke friendly sturgeon who pop their long funnel noses out of the water. Also interesting (though less theatrical) is the section on the River Seine, showing the sorts of fish who still survive in Paris' river despite the pollution.  Many people baulk at the admission fee, but you can easily spend a long afternoon here, watching cartoons in the cinemas and observing the sealife. Even very small kids are catered for, with glass walls that touch the floor so that the little ones can see inside without mums and dads picking them up. On Wednesdays and weekends, there are special children's shows too.

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Champs-Élysées & l'Ouest de Paris

Palais de la Porte Dorée Aquarium Tropical

The basement of this art deco palace, built for the Colonial Exhibition in 1931, contains the small but much-loved city aquarium and its crocodiles, brought from Dakar in 1948; other watery residents include cuttlefish, sharks, and luminous deep-water species. The Palais de la Porte Dorée is also home to the new Cité Nationale de l'Histoire de l'Immigration.

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12e arrondissement

Le Jardin des Serres d'Auteuil

These romantic glasshouses were opened in 1895 to cultivate plants for Paris parks and public spaces. Today there are seasonal displays of orchids and begonias. Look out for the steamy tropical pavilion, which is home to palms, birds and Japanese ornamental carp.

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Champs-Élysées & l'Ouest de Paris

Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes

Heads rolled during the Terror, leaving many an aristocratic collection of exotic animals without a home. This ménagerie became the solution in 1794. Nowadays, its inhabitants include vultures, monkeys, orang-utans, ostriches, flamingos, a century-old turtle, plus another one rescued from the sewers, a lovely red panda and lots of satisfyingly scary spiders and snakes. There's a petting zoo with farm animals for small kids, and older ones can zoom in on microscopic species in the Microzoo.

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Quartier Latin et Sud de Paris

Commentaires

2 comments
Carole
Carole

La ménagerie du jardin des plantes est une honte pour les animaux: les kangourous sont engrillagés à 4 dans 1m2 pour les empêcher de sauter. Les panthères des neiges sont enfermés dans une vitrine et elles marchent de long en large. C'est établissement n'a pas les conditions d'hébergement pour recevoir de tels animaux. C'est déprimant et angoissant. Informez la SPA . C'est ce que j'ai fait ainsi que les services vétérinaires

Salma
Salma

Thank You so much, I have been to Paris many times but this the first time to discover such a nice timeout