This first part of this series looked at the Turia Park in Valencia and the open spaces, the green gardens, the historical bridges and the music scene that you can find in this huge park (one of the largest in Europe). This part will look at the incredibly diverse and varied Bioparc, L'Oceanografic aquarium and finally the small but beautiful Parc Gulliver at the eastern end of the long and winding Turia park.
As strange as it sounds, the Turia Park actually contains a huge 25 acre zoo and nature park with hundreds of different species. The majority of the animals that live here today were taken from the old zoo in Valencia, and now enjoy this incredibly forward thinking and modern environment. Not only can the animals benefit from one of the most stable and enjoyable climates in the world (many of the animals here were taken or are normally found in Africa, where sunshine and heat are a common theme), they also live in the natural environment of the park, and so are not caged in artificial situations.
I've seen it written that the idea behind the Bioparc is that it' a 'zooimmersion' whereby the animals, the visitors and the environment all work together, and unlike a zoo, where the people gawk at the animals from behind glass, this is more of a walking and seeing experience. You walk through their homes, and do your best to enjoy these majestic animals (large and small) in as unobtrusive a way a possible. Things like raised walkways, streams and rock features separate the animals from the visitors instead of cages, and so it feels far more real and natural than almost any zoo I have ever visited. 4000 animals call the Bioparc home, so there is definitely plenty to see here.
Located at the south-eastern edge of Turia Park, close to the ocean, Parc Gulliver is the ideal playground for kids, and here you can find a giant figure of 'Gulliver' from the amazing Gulliver's Travels book. It's basically a giant playground with slides, starways, hidden entrances and it really is a fantastically creative way to build something fun for kids. The hair strands of this tied-down giant are slides and the folds of the material of his trousers are crazy looping and twisting passageways. The park is open almost every day from 08:00 until 22:00 so you really can enjoy it all day, everyday. It's a great example of the kind of unique creativity you can find in this modern city.
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