The Park and Castle of the famous Thoiry Zoo open their doors from February 13 to November 11 2016 for a new season. This year, there are three new species : vicuna, oryx and the infamous spotted hyena.
Here's some news that will make children and animal lovers happy: the Thoiry Zoological Park and its castle are reopening their doors on February 13th 2016 for the new 2016 season. It’s right before Valentine’s day and the winter break, perfect for lovebirds and families in need of a nice walk or new discoveries.
New Species at the Park:
- The Spotted Hyena
The spotted hyena is the second largest carnivore in Africa after the lion. Measuring between 3 and 5 feet in length, with females weighing between 99 and 135 lbs and males between 120 and 175 lbs, these hyenas look like unsightly dogs. Their bodies are covered in thick, sandy colored fur with shades of grey, red or brown. Their backs, rears, sides and legs are dark spotted, explaining their name and setting them apart from other species of hyena.
The group, which is made up of both males and females has settled into a 1500 m2 wooded park where visitors can walk through protected by a glass tunnel which runs above and below ground. The Thoiry Zoo and Castle is known for its original installations and a set-up that is a sort of trademark, with the public immersed in the wild with the animals. Now, for the first time, they will be able to see hyenas this way. New tunnels and windows at children’s height have also been added to the structure. For those who are afraid of this close-up encounter, a look-out point was also added at on side of the park, giving another more traditional angle to observe the animals from. Visitors of all ages will be able to get a closer look at these African carnivores, which are hardly known to the public and rarely found in public zoos.
You can find this South American species of mammals that comes from in the high plateaus of Andes Mountains near the zoo’s walking path entrance
- The Scimitar Oryx
These magnificent antelopes from North-African zones are considered to be extinct in the wild, now living in semi-captivity within the animal reserve with about ten other species.
- The Dhole or the Asiatic Wild Dog
In springtime, the Thoiry Zoo welcomes a group of 17 dholes. Also called asiatic wild dogs, dholes will be moved into the walking-tour park in front of other carnivores : tigers, Chinese panthers, cheetahs and snow leopards. This species of canidae is considered “endangered” by the IUCN (International Union for the Conservation of Nature.) There may be as few as 10,000 of these creatures in the wild.
The Thoiry Labyrinth gets a makeover. Measuring 6200 square meters, the Thoiry Labyrinth is one of the largest mazes in France, with nine bridges, and planted with 5600 yew trees. The maze was first opened in 1995.
In April 2016, it will become a playground for Foufou, younger brother of Noé the Nature Guide from the Critter Archway (look for “l’Arche des petites bêtes”). Foufou conducts some bizarre experiments, often leading to the creation of strange new animals. Treasure hunts and activities lead visitors through the heart of the maze while they join in Foufou’s fantastic adventure, trying get him back on the right pathway!
Schedule of events in 2016:
- Sunday, March 27th and 28th- Egg Hunt
Go searching for Easter eggs on the Thoiry Estate and you’ll see….it’s Easter for the animals too! Every year, several thousand chocolate eggs are hidden for visitors of the castle estate.
- Sunday, June 5th : Wildlife Conservation Day
On Sunday June 5th, 2016 the park has dedicated a day to endangered animal species conservation. There will be activities and conferences to teach visitors more about these species and their natural habitats to raise awareness, and also learn how the zoo helps protect species with fundraising through TPC (Thoiry Peugres Conservation.)
- Sunday, June 19th - Summer Solstice
The Earl of La Panouse will be meeting with visitors at 5:15 a.m. to celebrate this astronomic event. The summer solstice takes place when the sun reaches its farthest point from the equator, marking the beginning of the summer season. Guests will experience the sunrise in the central archway of the castle. They will be greeted by the Earl, who will unveil the home’s secrets and talk about symbolic and scientific aspects of the solstice. The celebration ends with a VIP visit of the Animal Reserve, where visitors will be able to watch the animals as they’re waking up.
- October : Halloween Parties
What could be more exciting and frightening than celebrating Halloween in an impressively large castle surrounded by all sorts of different animals? Sure, there will be deer and wolves, but you might even encounter magical creatures. Enter into the world of Thoiry Castle, which will be decked out for the occasion in it’s finest spider webs. You are sure to be in for a few surprises!
Besides special events, the Zoo also makes reservations for VIP visits. Don’t miss :
- Early-bird VIP:
Visitors get a behind-the-scenes look at the Thoiry Park and Castle in the morning, with a tour guide who shows them what a day in the life of the zookeeper and the zoo animals looks like. From the medical training for elephants to the release of the lions, this program will be full of emotion and new experience!
- A Special Moment with Felines
The Thoiry Zoo special moments give cat lovers a special two-hour visit to get to know these symbolic wild animals better, especially their anatomy, diet, hunting techniques, habits, but also concerns for their conservation.
- Special Moments with Critters
The Critters Archway at Thoiry Park opens its doors, to show you the secret life of thousands of amphibians, reptiles and invertebrates living there! With a two hour presentation by a zookeeper, you will discover these fascinating species, their daily upkeep, as well as conservation programs that the Park supports in their natural habitats. A one-on-one encounter with Komodo dragons will be the grand finale to this unforgettable morning.
- Special Moments with the Giants of the Animal Reserve
Large herbivores are admired for their magnificent size, but these symbolic animals are nonetheless fragile. In fact, the elephant, giraffe and rhinoceros populations are getting smaller by the day. By passing special moments with these giants of the Savannah, guests can discover the way they eat, reproduce, their habits and especially their conservation. This is a special chance to better understand how these animals that we are so familiar with need protection.
- Animal Caretakers in the Making
Becoming an animal caretaker doesn’t happen overnight! Cleaning, feeding, watching and entertaining are duties that the zookeeping team of Thoiry Park and Castle will trust curious youth with during this half-day experience!
- A Day in the Life of Animal Caretakers
Change jobs for a day and discover the world of animal caretakers af the Thoiry Park and Castle. This half-day experience is a unique opportunity to go behind the scenes of the park and make the most of these unprecedented moments. Discover the day-to-day of animal caretakers and animals with different activities. You’re going to have to roll up your sleeves if you want to spend a day in the life of an animal caretaker!
Official website : Parc et Château de Thoiry
Open from February 13th to November 13th, 2016
Address: Château de Thoiry, Rue du Pavillon de Montreuil, 78770 Thoiry
Hours: Open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rates for the Thoiry Animal Park, Castle and Gardens:
Adults: € 30 / Children (3-14 years old): € 24
For information or reservations: firstname.lastname@example.org