Montpellier zoo – a cheap, fun day out

Montpellier zoo is a cheap, enjoyable day out for kids and adults alike. Set in a park to the north of Montpellier, the zoo houses rhinos, zebras, hippos, giraffes and a host of other animals. Best of all, with the exception of the Amazonian greenhouse, it’s free to enter.


The zoo has an interesting mix of animals, with African mammals and South American birds particularly well represented. As well as large, enclosures housing mammals from the African plains, Montpellier zoo has indoor areas to showcase its smaller residents. The largest indoor enclosure, the Amazonian greenhouse, is almost €20 for a family of four to enter, but the rest are free.


Montpellier zoo opened the Amazonian greenhouse in 2007. The greenhouse is split into seven climatic zones that house more than 500 animals, including anacondas, piranhas and tarantulas. Every two hours an artificial rainstorm is created to mimic conditions found in the Amazon rainforest.


While impressive, the greenhouse isn’t an essential part of a visit to Montpellier zoo. There’s plenty in the free part of the park and walks between the enclosures are as much of a reason to visit as the animals themselves. Which is fortunate, as some of the animals are a little evasive. Groups of people squinting into enclosures in search of some critter or other are a fairly common occurrence.


That the occasional absence of animals doesn’t significantly diminish the enjoyment of a visit to Montpellier zoo says a lot about its other merits. The animals you can see look well cared for, and the park also includes a 20 hectare nature reserve away from the zoo.


Getting to Montpellier zoo


The zoo is to the north of Montpellier. If you have a car it’s easily and accessible and parking is available. Getting to the zoo by public transport is also straightforward. Take tram line one to St Eloi and then hop on the number 13 bus marked ‘Universités’ from the nearby stop.


It’s possible to walk from St Eloi to Montpellier zoo in around 25 minutes but it’s advisable to save your legs for the zoo. There’s a lot of ground to cover if you want to see all the animals and it can be a draining day in the sun.

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