“It was the metro during rush hour”: the Beauval zoo victim of its success

As a precaution, reservations for Sunday May 28 have been suspended on website. During the long Pentecost weekend, visitors have been invited to come preferably on Saturday 27 and Monday 29 May. This decision comes a week after the record attendance recorded during the Ascension Bridge.

As Monet’s house in Giverny Or the Mont Saint Michel, the Zoo-Parc de Beauval (Loir-et-Cher) saw a surge of tourists: 80,000 visitors over the entire weekend – 30,000 on Friday alone – or 4% of the site’s annual admissions.

” On the razor wire »

Despite the extension of opening hours from 7:45 a.m. to 9 p.m., the presence of 1,500 employees and the reinforcement of security guards, the crowd exceeded all forecasts. “We knew there would be a lot of people, like every year, at Ascension, but not so much. It was the metro at rush hour “, is still surprised Rodolphe Delord, the president of the zoo, which crossed the bar of 2 million paying entries last year.

With her three children, Stéphanie wanted to see Yuan Meng, the first of baby pandas born in Beauval (in 2017), before he flies to China on July 4. “If I had to do it again, I would have taken tickets on another date. My youngest, who has just turned 5, was very afraid of the crowd gathered at the exit of the shows », narrates this mother, originally from Bourgogne-Franche-Comté.

“I’m not saying it was chaos, but I could see we were on the razor’s edge. Some people were a bit aggressive.” On social networks, many Internet users have shared their bitterness, sometimes their anger.

Commercial gestures granted to case by case »

Sorry to have conveyed “an image that does not correspond to what we wish to leave as a memory to the public”, Rodolphe Delord suggests that commercial gestures could be granted to the case by case “. Anticipating the possibility of experiencing unusual peaks in attendance, it has undertaken, over the past two years, an investment program of 60 million euros, including the redevelopment of the south entrance. Substantial work was completed at the end of this winter to improve access to ticket offices and entrance gates.

In any case, the “abnormal” episode of the Ascension must not happen again. “In the future, we will do things differently. The blocking of the ticket office is a food for thought. What matters to me? That visitors spend a moment of dream and wonder, of awareness of the conservation of biodiversity without being crowded on top of each other”.

This promise is valid from this weekend. The gates to the zoo will open at 8:00 a.m. from Saturday to Monday, compared to 9:00 a.m. normally.

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