These concerts are free, but you have to have an invitation to get it in. Where do you get these? It’s a little hard to find information, but I think that you can pick up tickets on the 4th, 5th and 6th at the following places:
Los Centros Municipales de Juventud, Radio Valencia, El Corte Inglés, Boulanger, in the Concesionario oficial Mazda de la Avenida del Puerto, Hiper Max Descuento de la Pista de Silla, and in Telepizza.
I’m pretty sure that invitations for the concerts on the 14th are available on the 4th, the 15th on the 5th and the 16th on the 6th. So, ten days in advance.
However, the tickets for the last night at the Viveros Gardens (Momo and Los Secretos) are only available in the Centros Municipales de Juventud, and the offices of “Cadena 100”, and at a date yet to be set. Because they like to make it easy.
This morning, we took the first of what will likely be many trips to Valencia’s brand new zoo, the BioParc (location). I had been skeptical: partly because I dislike zoos and partly because of the curious lack of fanfare accompanying today’s Grand Opening. Maybe it’s the American in me, but when a new park of any sort opens, I expect huge crowds, marching bands, college kids in wacky animal outfits, and McDonald’s tie-ins.
But you would have never guessed today was the opening of a highly-touted zoo — billed as the most advanced in Europe. We arrived at 10am, just as the zoo was opening for the first time ever, and got into line behind about 4 other people. The ticket lady was still being trained — ours was apparently the first credit card she’d had to deal with. We caused minor chaos by inquiring about the Entrada Berde, which is the yearly pass. Clearly agitated, the cadre of women who’d assembled to crack the Puzzle of the Credit Card whispered amongst themselves, before asking us to step around to the back of the office. Madness.
By the time we got inside, I was convinced that it was going to suck hard-core, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. BioParc Valencia is, without doubt, the coolest zoo I’ve ever been to.
After getting your ticket, you enter the park by crossing a pedestrian bridge which spans the Turia Gardens. Once on the other side, you’ll immediately encounter the first set of animals: rhinoceroses, zebras and ostriches, all running around a huge area together.
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. "Jesus, Juergen", I said, "I think they want to fucking eat us!" But Juergen couldn’t hear me … he had silently backed away from the stream, as the hyenas approached. Fear: an emotion one should feel in a zoo!
We wandered around the park for a couple hours — for now, it’s dedicated to Africa (Asia and S. America are coming), and has all the animals you’d expect to see: warthogs, lions, leopards, monkeys, elephants, giraffes, and more. For the most part, the environments in which the animals (live/are trapped) are lush and expansive. But not always. There were a couple species, particularly the bongos, for whom I felt sad.
The one species noticeably lacking was Homo Sapiens. Juergen and I nearly had the zoo entirely to ourselves. This was particularly wonderful in the lemur exhibit, in which there were no cages of any sort. The lemurs were running along the same paths as you, coming exhilaratingly close without exhibiting any fear whatsoever. One jumped a few inches over my head, from tree to tree, and I caught myself squealing with excitement.
We got a small snack in the dining area and sat outdoors with giraffes just a few meters away — again, only the obstruction of a small, steep stream between us. The food was as cheap as at our neighborhood café, which really surprised us. But, in general, a trip to the BioParc is expensive, and it’s not as large as one might hope. We were pretty much done in two hours, having seen everything on offer. Still, the experience was wonderful.
And although the €20 entrance fee is really high, the €41 Entrada Berde yearly pass is extremely reasonable. If you live in Valencia, it’s the only way to go. The park just a short bike trip, probably 15 minutes, from the city center. I could see myself coming back often, even just to spend a half hour watching the rhinos scratch their horns against a tree.
We’ve not been in Valencia for long, but a few times, we’ve had to meet people somewhere in the city. On 3 separate occasions, the person we were scheduled to meet has suggested Café Lisboa in Plaza Dr. Collado. It is extremely central, easy to find, and seems to be one of those spots which all Valencia knows.
So if you ever get stuck and have to suggest a place to meet a friend, use this one. And if they don’t know it, you get to act haughty. “Ach, everyone knows the Lisboa!”
The plaza, tucked right behind the huge Mercado Central, is a great place to spend a lazy hour or two, eating tapas or drinking a beer with friends. There are a few restaurants and bars lining the square, one of which is the Lisboa.
The drinks & tapas are reasonably priced, and with plenty of seating outside & in, this is a great place in the heart of the city. We’ll probably be coming here a lot.
A walk through the streets of Valencia during dusk is a special treat. Everything seems very moody and even more beautiful.
Above you see the Palacio del Marquis de Dos Aguas (location) which hosts the Valencian Ceramic Museum (more on that once we’ve visited it… which should be soon, since it’s right around the corner from our apt).
Tomorrow, Valencia’s next great attraction is opening its doors — the BioParc. Part of a new generation of zoos, the Bioparc rejects cages in favor of natural terrain and a more immersive experience for the visitor. Lions, tigers, elephants, rhinoceroses, giraffes, and (my favorite) monkeys will be running around the park, as liberated as we can safely allow them to be.
The park will be open daily from 10 until 6pm and until 7pm on weekends. In the summer months, opening hours will be extended. Entrance costs €20 per adult, which is kind of steep… but the great thing is that a season pass costs just €40. Also, you can buy a single entrance, and then decide whether to get the season pass. As long as you keep your ticket, they will only charge you the difference.
I’m really excited about going to the park, and we might even go tomorrow on opening day, despite the crowds which will surely be gathered. Generally, I have a problem with zoos — it seems wrong to keep wild animals caged up. And in parks which attempt to replicate a natural habitat, the animals are often really difficult to find. By nature, a lion doesn’t sit there passively so that squealing children can scream “Simba!” at it.
Expect some pictures and opinions about Europe’s newest zoo to be coming soon.
We're Jürgen and Mike, from Germany and the USA. We've been living in Valencia on-and-off since 2008. Much of our time is spent traveling the world with For 91 Days... but Valencia is the city we call home, and to which we'll always return.