Jurques Zoo (Zoo de Jurques)
Dating back to the 1970s, this family-run zoo is divided into 11 thematic areas, each representing a type of terrain or grouping of animals. Highlights include a monkey island, a tundra, a reptile house, and Australian, South American, and African plains. The zoo also offers a variety of behind-the-scenes experiences including red panda, wolf, and leopard; giraffe feedings; and snake-handling sessions.
Things to Know Before You Go
The Jurques Zoo is a must-visit for families with kids.
There are two on-site restaurants, one serving sandwiches and light snacks and one with an appetizer buffet and main dishes.
The zoo is wheelchair-accessible, and carers enter for free.
How to Get There
The zoo is located in Jurques, about a 20-minute drive from Caen on the A84 freeway. Travelers coming by bus can take line 32 of the Calvados Bus Vert and disembark at the Zoo stop (accessible in the summer months) or at La Caboose stop, which is used year-round.
When to Get There
The zoo is open from early February through the beginning of November, but opening days and times vary. Throughout most of the year (April through September), the park is open from midmorning until evening, with slightly extended hours in July and August. Note that the ticket office closes two hours before the park shuts, so come early or prebook your tickets.
The White Lions
In 2004, a pair of rare white lions, Timba and Nyala, arrived at the Zoo de Jurques, making it only the second zoo in France ever to have white lions. In 2008, Nyala gave birth to two cubs, Bamako and Jaya, but rejected them. Zookeepers took over and bottle-fed the cubs, who today are big and strong, weighing 485 pounds and 375 pounds (220 kilograms and 170 kilograms), respectively.