Saturday, 13 April 2013

Le Cornelle

It's Saturday, family fun day, and we've spent the day at Le Cornelle, a 'parco faunistico' (modern term for zoo) not far from Bergamo in Valembro. The drive is about 1 and a half hours from Milan and definitely doable for a quick day trip. We were also blessed with the first officially springy feeling weather of 2013; sun, 21 degrees a d a slight warm wind.

A rock with a soul
I'm not a fan of zoos in general because I don't think it's fair to keep animals in cages or away from their natural environments. I can't imagine that they have a very good quality of life. On the other hand there are a lot of zoos that help to maintain species. Le Cornelle for example is home to a pair of white lions, result of a very rare genetic combination of his ancestors passing down the recessive while keeping their typical lion characteristics until his finally both parents passed on the white gene to him. If they were to have cubs those cubs are guaranteed to keep the recessive genes alive.

Parrots of all colours!
Of course, all this is irrelevant if lions in general don't even make it to the next generation. Will there even be zoos when our children have children? If I think too hard on the subject I start to feel that tickling nausea in my stomach. I get very upset thinking of all the damage we've done as a species.

But back to today's adventure.

Le Cornelle was opened on 100,000 square meters of parkland in 1981. It's home to thousands of animals of 120 different species. It's stars are the white lions mentioned before, elephants, crocodiles, giraffes, giant turtles  and birds of all the colours of the rainbow but we enjoyed the monkeys the most, as usual.

It's a lovely stroll stopping at the various cages and habitats and getting to know the animals a bit better. It was perfectly setup for everything to be visible from a toddler's viewpoint as well, with glass walls set up at their height, which was much appreciated by everyone's sore arms.  We were grateful for not having to lift Sera every 4 minutes to see.

In terms of a financial standpoint it's not a cheap day-trip but we didn't take advantage of the many well-appointed picnic areas and instead went to the self-service restaurant. I think if we were to return on another occasion we would plan ahead and bring our own food. For two adults and a two year old we ended up spending 45€ on lunch. This was a big surprise considering we only had hot-dogs, fries and chicken nuggets. The parking cost 3€ and the tickets which we bought in advance online were 11€ each per adult (12€ otherwise) Kids under 3 enter for free

We managed to see everything and have lunch within 4 hours but weren't going at a super slow pace. After the tigers we put Sera in the stroller and she promptly fell asleep. There are lots of kids' play areas scattered around with slides and swings so we probably could have stayed longer had she not conked out.

All in all I think the ticket price is fair and you get your money's worth. The park is lovely and though some of the animals are in cages that seem a little too small for them you can see that they're making an effort to improve things in general.

Yay for Le Cornelle!!

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