Bioparc Valencia is a small (25-acre) zoo in Valencia, Spain, with a large collection of African animals. Unlike your average zoo where animals are locked in cages, the animals in Bioparc Valencia appear to roam freely in the park. But there is no need to be afraid. Bioparc Valencia is what is called an “immersive zoo” – a concept of immersing visitors into the animals' habitat and not vice versa. But this isn’t another Chinese zoo where visitors are locked in cages at the back of a trailer as it makes its way through the park. In Bioparc Valencia, there are no cages, instead using rivers, ponds, streams and rocks to separate visitors from the animals. Here, the barriers are practically invisible and the animals feel right at home.
“Visitors are able to get nerve-wrackingly close to the animals — only a small stream separates them. A stream so small that surely the hyenas intently taking in our scent on the other side could easily hop over it,” writes travel-blog HolaValencia.
Fear is one emotion many visitors reported experiencing when visiting this zoo. “The illusion of nearness and danger was so real that I felt that spike of adrenaline which occurs during risky close encounters in the wild. I’ve never felt that in a zoo anywhere in the world,” writes another travel blogger.
Another interesting aspect to the park is that, unlike in other zoos, where different species are kept segregated from each other, animals at Bioparc Valencia are allowed to cohabit in the same areas, just as they would in the jungle. Therefore, for example, you will see gorillas sharing their space with monkeys or emus living alongside zebras. Species that naturally and peacefully reside together in the wild are placed together, while other gentle species, like lemurs for instance, are free to meet humans face to face, without any barrier. Other barriers are simply hidden to give visitors the feeling of being out in the wild.
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