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Pairi Daiza Thoughts on Pairi Daiza

Discussion in 'Belgium' started by lintworm, 23 Sep 2019.

  1. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    I visited Pairi Daiza yesterday with a friend for whom it was a first time visit. Needless to say he was impressed by all the theming and the zoo in general. In general it was a very nice day at the zoo and I might have been too harsh on it in the past. It might very well be the best zoo for the general public that I know. Theming and gardening is impressive and the collection is large and comprehensive, with all ABC species relatively easy to view. Most important Pairi Daiza creates a kind of mystique before visiting, with tantalizingly little details available before a visit. And if Pairi Daiza exceeds in one thing it is eye to detail, with countless hidden viewpoints, art pieces, gems, enclosures etc. I sometimes feel the theming is over the top, but at least it is all authentic, and I do not know whether it would work when the theming would be less dramatic. It was my fourth visit and I still found new surprises in the zoo and it is a great feeling to continue to be surprised, which is helped by the astonishing pace of development.

    I am still critical about their Elephant management, as well as on some enclosures, which are mainly the big mammals. I am wondering whether they have sacrificed enclosure quality for animal visibility, because most suboptimal to bad enclosures: snow leopard, tiger, leopard, giant otter, elephant, gorilla, pygmy hippo, are the ones for star species. These animals are easily viewed in their small or badly structured enclosures. I have seen worse enclosures for each of those species, but those enclosures were generally not less than 5 years old....

    Maybe my main worry is how well this zoo is prepared for the longer term future. Their pace of development means that in 5-10 years the zoo is "finished", but maybe they oversped as in many areas one can already see damage to artwork and pathways that should not have happened so quickly. Also many enclosures seem to be designed with current guidelines in mind and might not age that well, the new bear enclosures are certainly an exception. Pairi Daiza certainly has a record with righting their self-inflicted mistakes, but it will face a challenge, particularly with its big cats in the future.

    I am aware my posts still sounds somewhat critical, but generally speaking Pairi Daiza is currently a great zoo, it is just a shame as it could be the best, but it is currently not.

    On a sidenote the Greater Birds of paradise are in full breeding plumage now and especially in the early evening displaying frequently, which is a great sight.
     
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  2. Elephantelephant

    Elephantelephant Well-Known Member

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    Pairi Daiza is really one of the best zoo, I know.
     
  3. snowleopard

    snowleopard Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    This all sounds very positive! I feel as if Pairi Daiza appeals to everyone, with it being one of the best zoos for the general public (as you mentioned), but also a great zoo for anyone into themed exhibits, and also a wonderful collection for zoo nerds with some rarities that can scarcely be found anywhere else. There's also something to be said for the zoo taking an entire day of at least 8 hours to be able to see everything, as many excellent zoos are much smaller and with Pairi Daiza there really is a 'bang for your buck' mentality.

    I'm curious as to your thoughts in regards to the huge new addition (The Last Frontier) as I think that it's one of the highlights of the entire zoo. The Steller's Sea Lion exhibit is fantastic, but the whole area has spacious exhibits for a handful of large mammals.
     
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  4. Kifaru Bwana

    Kifaru Bwana Well-Known Member

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    PD is a stamp collection of sorts. I liked going round a few seasons back, just some of the main enclosures for animals remain sub par!
     
  5. lintworm

    lintworm Well-Known Member

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    In terms of value for money, Pairi Daiza scores very high, I do not think the 36 euro entrance price is outrageous if you see what you get in return... Though it must be said that my annual pass for Burgers' Zoo is cheaper than an entry ticket + parking fee for Pairi Daiza....

    I have a bit mixed feelings, though it will develop nicely once the vegetation starts to grow. Both the bear exhibits are fantastic and the Puma enclosure is also pretty good (certainly compared to the alternatives in Europe). The Sea lion enclosure is wonderfully done in terms of rockwork, but the pool seems badly designed in such a way that both animals only use a small portion of it. Overall I was maybe somewhat disappointed (though each individual exhibit is quite good), but it feels more like a vehicle to sell hotel rooms than a genuine zoo, all the cross-viewing doesn't really help either.

    We were thinking during our visit that in a way this zoo is one of the 19th century but in a modern design, with Eric Domb being an extreme collector of everything. It is a shame indeed that some of the main enclosures remain so inadequate...