Visiting The Attica Zoological Park
Trip Start Apr 24, 2011
79Trip End Ongoing
The Attica Zoo Park is in short distance (20 minutes drive) from Nea Makri and the hotel we stay. At first I could not believe that we would make it here today since we got up early at dawn this morning and drove all the way to Athens did some shopping and came to the hotel at noon. For a moment I thought to change the day of visit and come tomorrow but we finally made it.
I never expected it to be that big even though I heard from my students about this exciting trip they had here with their school some years back when I was still teaching English.
To be honest every time I hear of Zoos the picture I have in my mind is of animals being captured and locked behind huge bars and cages and I have feelings of pity
As we approach we see the Park from a distance and it really seems big. The Attica Zoological Park opened back in May 2000, initially as a Bird Park, hosting the 3rd largest bird collection in the world. Now that I see the park I begin to get anxious to pull into the parking lot and get inside. For seconds my heart beats like a child's who cannot wait to get inside even though I have been to more than 15 different zoos all these years of travelling. The dolphins show is on in a few minutes and it is announced through loudspeakers as we lock the car doors and move towards the entrance to find parents and children waiting to pay the fee and get inside. There is excitement in the air, happy faces and huge smiles on kids' faces.
I have a complimentary invitation and I show my Press Pass which is granted to me from VirtualTourist and we are soon inside. There is a pond of turtles on the right side of the entrance and just opposite, a pond with flamingos surrounded by blue grass, trees and bushes with several rabbits running and hiding behind rocks and wholes. The dolphin show is starting any moment and we don’t want to miss it. It is the Marine Mammals hour of educational presentation
The show lasts approximately 30 minutes, and I cannot compare it of course to some other shows I have seen abroad especially the one in Port Elizabeth some years back which was amazing and it exceeded the 2 hours, but still this specific one did make the children happy and excited.
After the show we follow the map given to us at the entrance and spent the whole afternoon seeing the most amazing display of animals in their natural settings. They are ponds of fish and ducks surrounded by trees, plants and flowers and acres of large buildings with giant outdoor cages for the giraffes, zebras, and ostrich -some of them exceeding the size of a storey.
We are walking so close to parrots, eagles toucans, pelicans, storks and owls, ostriches, giraffes and zebras, see little penguins, wolves and big cats bears and giant turtles and so many more that for quite some time it was as if I was somewhere else but surely not in Attica. For more than 30 minutes I was walking on my own taking photos until my mobile rings. Walking is so pleasant and relaxing in this beautifully designed landscape with the pathways and alleys that you can forget where you really are
Yianni wants to remind me that the gates will close shortly so I have to hurry. It was only after that phone call when I looked up and realized that I was not in another country but only in the midst of olive groves on the plains of Attica. I wished we could stay longer and I was a bit disappointed because I did not have the time to see it all. I remember I had this feeling of disappointment because the time was over while in New York. We went early that morning to the New York Zoo somewhere in the outskirts of the huge city and we spent the whole day in the amazing Park and Zoo. We had even lunch there and an afternoon coffee. It was as if I had been travelling the whole day long, as if I was in another world and seeing the walls and hearing the sounds outside at the parking lot I did not feel like stepping back to the daily round.
It is a well run private zoo and the owner and curator is Jean-Jacques Lesueur. He is well known in Greece and I have seen him several times on TV. Today though he and his wife happen to be away and unfortunately I don’t have the chance to meet them.
His profound love for animals made him create a zoo where animals would be treated well
Being a private zoo it gets no funding from the Greek government but from the admission fees and the support of a few companies.
Through all these years of hard work the small zoo of those days has become by now Attica’s Zoological Park and it is a recognized member of EAZA –European Association of Zoos and Aquaria). The Park has established humane standards for keeping animals in captivity, their diet and health as well as the education of visitors and breeding programs for endangered species. It has become a place of entertainment and relaxation an oasis that meets demanding standards the standards and offers educational programmes and guided tours, thus creating awareness which is very important for the protection of the environment and animals in general.
Whether you have children or not the Attica Park is definitely worth a visit. It is a unique journey to the five continents through the lives of over 2.000 animals from 400 species
Attica Zoological Park- Hours and Info!
Park Hours: Everyday 9:00 to sunset
Entrance Fee: Adults: 15,00eu
Children 3-12: 11,00eu
Under 3: Free
Group over 25 people: 11,00eu
Nurseries - Play schools: 8,00eu
Primary - High schools: 9,00eu
Seniors (over 65): 11,00eu
Annual card for adults: 50,00eu
Annual card for children: 48,00eu
Location: At Yalou - Spata
Access By Bus: 319 from Doukissis Plakentias Metro Station or 319 from the Ministry of National Defense
From Attiki Odos: Exit 18 to Spata (From the Airport)
Exit 16P to Rafina (From Elefsina)
End of Attiki Odos towards Rafina (From Ymittos Ringroad)