There is a place in Monaco, in Fontvieille, entirely run by the animals. You will not find any lions, gorillas or elephants though. It will be a bit ambitious calling this place a zoo, it is quite small. But the very fact that the tiny Principality has found space for it, is amazing! The animal park was founded in 1954 by Prince Rainier III of Monaco, an ardent defender of animals.
“This is a garden where animals live; we aim to create natural living conditions for them. It is not designed for gazing at caged animals, this project is not commercial, “- says the Zoo director, Laurent Peronel.
All in all, there about 350 animals of 60 different species, living in an open-air nursery on a specially dedicated piece of land at the foot of the Princely cliff, overlooking the port of Fontvieille.
“The mini zoo is mainly enriched by pets who cannot be treated, looked after or transported by their owners or by those seized at the border and lacking proper documents “, – says Laurent Peronel.
“We are trying to create a natural environment, a place like home, for all the animals. We also try to minimize the number of barriers and obstacles so that they don’t feel restrictions on their freedom. That is why we no longer accommodate large predators.
Our goal, above all, is to preserve and protect small species that are struggling to survive and to create the best conditions for them rather than keeping predators behind the bars. Sadly, there are already plenty of places and people involved in that”.
The zoo of Monaco is unique, letting you watch the animals very closely and observe their behavior in their natural habitat.
The managers of the park deserve a special praise as they created special conditions and accommodated in one place species from different parts of the earth. These animals would probably never meet if it wasn’t for the Fontvieille nursery.
Here you will find marmoset monkeys common in Brazil, sea turtles, large red Mexican macaws and Australian parrots known for their loud scream. There is also an aviary filled with ringing trills of hundreds of colorful birds.
The “ground floor” is reserved for less exotic animals, such as Scottish sheep, chicken or turkey. It is a great joy for children to be able to feed them when they like.
Before the end of your visit, don’t forget the artificial reservoir, created specifically for the hippopotamus. A pleasure to watch, he is the oldest inhabitant of the Monaco zoo. He was taken away from the circus and placed here in 1986 by Prince Rainier III, for better living conditions.
The animal park is open every day from 9 to 12 am and from 2 to 7 pm. Admission fee: 5 euros for adults, 2.50 euros for children and students. For more information please call: 93 50 40 30.