Monday, October 12, 2009

Parc Paradisio

Recently Kirk went to Oktoberfest in Munich with his work bunch, leaving Connor and me a weekend to ourselves. Luckily Dallas and Thomas had a brilliant idea to try out Parc Paradisio before it closed for the season. This spot is a combination of bird park and monster zoo (as in BIG, not that there are monsters there). I have never experienced anything quite like it. Located near Mons, Belgium - Parc Paradisio was a good 90 minutes each way from Brussels but well worth the trip.Dallas and Thomas are amazing birders. Dallas took all of these photos. (Kirk had the camera with him in Germany - ha! - handy excuse to let the professionals photograph!)It turned into a glorious warm blue-sky day. The park was not overly crowded for a Saturday as I had feared. And after seeing several birds behind cages we walked into the greenhouses where they flew freely all around us. Dallas and Thomas took Connor up a rope bridge through the trees up with the birds which she of course thought was tons of fun. Especially with Thomas! Connor is pretty sweet on Thomas!
Probably the wildlife highlight of the park was the Oriental Gardens. There was a wooden boardwalk through an Asian habitat were we strolled and spotted bird upon bird upon bird. Asian music played and the oriental decor was perfectly fitting and serene. Connor would even sit still for a split second to focus in on the rare birds here. If only I had some baby binoculars for her!!!
Parc Paradisio is more though than just a birding reserve. There are zoo animals of all shapes and sizes. Connor's favorite was the monkeys. She makes the ooo-ooo-ooo sound while scratching her armpits in perfect impersonation.
The cherry on top was definitely the enormous playground. It reminded me of how exhilarating I found Pullen Park growing up. The play equipment was unique. We loved climbing on all the brightly-colored concrete animals and especially riding the twirling see-saw on springs!
As a badge of all the fun she had, we must have emptied out buckets of sand from Connor's shoes.
This couple was getting married right in the middle of it all. I think Dallas could give the wedding photographer a run for her money, don't you?!?!I loved Parc Paradisio. My Apa, the consummate bird buff, was smiling down from Heaven seeing us love birds. We were there for 4-5 hours and I wish we had more time - we saw only a fraction of what they have there. If you go, be sure to block out as much of the day as you can. The ticket price is nearly 20 euros, but I left feeling like I had gotten my money's worth! I also would pack a picnic lunch next time. We spent nearly 45 minutes in line trying to buy food (sloooow service) - this time would definitely be better put to use with the animals!

1 comment:

Dallas said...

It was way more fun to go with you guys than to go as just us two alone. We probably wouldn't have ever ventured out onto the playground without Connor there. Thanks for going with us. :)