Europe’s first-ever theme park entirely devoted to plants has opened in Anjou. Showcasing flora from all over the world, it offers to discover every aspect of plant life through fun and educational activities. A great place for kids and plant enthusiasts.
[ Practical ]
Getting there - By road
295 km from Paris on autoroutes, A6b, A10 and A11 till exit N°16.
TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Angers. The journey takes approximately 1 h 40. Tramway line A from the railway station to the park.
Lodging Hôtel de France
Hôtel Le Progrès
Hôtel de l’Europe
Restaurants Les Plantagenets
Le Petit Comptoir
Le Petit Brissac
2017 opening hours and dates - From April 8th to May 1st and from July 1st to August 31st every day from 10am to 7pm, till 6pm only on April weekdays.
- From May 4th to June 30th and from September 1st to October 1st open Thursday and Friday from 10am to 6pm, Saturday, Sunday and Bank holidays from 10am to 7pm.
Entrance fees - Adults : €20.
- Children between 4 and 17 years old : €14.
- Free for children less than 4 years old
- Two adults + two children : : €14 per person.
Information - Angers Tourist Office
Tel : 0241235000
- Maine-et-Loire Tourist Office
Tel : 0241235151
Route de Cantenay Epinard, 49000 Angers
Tel : 0241250000 www.terrabotanica.fr
A theme park where all activities provide visitors with knowledge about plants. This is in brief the concept of Terra Botanica. Set up in the outskirts of Angers and covering 11 ha, this park thus boasts 275 000 plants including more than 1 000 remarkable trees and 400 subjects considered to be exceptional due to their size or age, 60 000 sq metres of gardens, greenhouses containing exotic plants or recreating tropical and arid biotopes, 25 000 sq meters of aquatic areas and 40 attractions.
Four themes This true Noah’s Ark for plants is divided in four areas structured around different themes. The first one, the Coveted Plants, presents plants that were once synonymous with riches such as pepper, cocoa and spices, their origin, their discovery by adventurers or explorers and their commercial exploitation. The second one, the Generous Plants, presents species cultivated in Anjou and the different roles that they play in our daily life. The third one, the Mysterious Plants, is the most successful and interesting. It focuses on plants functioning and evolution. As to the fourth one, the Tamed Plants, it deals with natural and cultivated landscapes, gardening methods, varietal selection and plants capacity to adapt to the planet’s various climates.
Attractions for children Within each area, attractions being both fun and educational are specially designed for young kids. There, in a setting featuring galleons run aground on islands in the middle of banana plantations and palm trees, they set off in the footsteps of the West Indian Company and participate in a treasure hunt to bring back spices from Asia and Africa. Elsewhere, they encounter an old speaking oak tree narrating tales about plants. Then they find games and hands-on activities allowing them to understand plant functioning and can take on the role of a paleobotanist and head off in search of prehistoric plant fossils in the sand. Further, they go through an extraordinary vegetable garden where a mole chat with a spade and beehives dance rock’n roll. Inside suspended huts, they listen to the stories of ‘The leek who loved disco music” and “The worm who wanted to see the sea”…
Journey of a water droplet They can also venture in a sensory maze and plunge into the mouth of an ogre to discover phosphorescent, carnivorous and foul-smelling plants. Finally, attractions teach them how to irrigate, how best exploit the garden’s natural resources and innovative horticultural practices.
In addition, there are four attractions dubbed as spectacular. One, a 4D film titled “Journey to the centre of the plant” deserves this qualification. Installed in their seat, visitors follow the journey of a water droplet travelling from the cloud down to the ground and then from the roots up to the leaves of a magnolia tree. However the three other ones are far less riveting. Depicting the journey of explorers in the Southern seas, the 3D film “The botanical Odyssey” is fine but too short and spectators are left slightly unsatisfied as it ends abruptly in a middle of the action.
Primary forest As to the two other ones - “Once upon a time there was a flower” and “Facing extreme environments” - they are really disappointing.
Very fond of stunning and thrilling attractions, teenagers may quite quickly get bored of Terra Botanica except if they have an interest in botanic and in gardening. In this case, like the adults, they have many reasons to be amazed. Superb specimens of tropical and desert plants bloom in the greenhouses and one of them contains a convincing atoll replica. A refrigerated building houses rare polar moss and lichen species. Tree ferns, geysers, mist, scale models of dinosaurs and rock formations compose a primary forest that reminds of the origin of Earth and gives the feeling to plunge in the Jurassic period.
Exceptional plants Bayou and bamboo plantations transport the walkers in Louisiana and Asia. Flowers, vines, orchards and ornamental plants are laid out so that they recreate Anjou’s agricultural landscapes where you can wander around on foot or in a boat. A trail passes by exceptional plants that stand out due to their age, size or species. Not only are all these places a pleasure for the eyes, they are also a fount of knowledge because bilingual illustrated boards provide more or less detailed information about the encountered plants, their history, how to cultivate them and what they are used for. Sometimes, commentaries are even the main feature like in the Grandma’s alley where visitors can rediscover the recipes based on natural ingredients used by our ancestors.
Ask to the gardeners Besides, activities related to gardening and plants are regularly held and Terra Botanica’s gardeners stand ready to answer all questions. So, a full day in the park is not too much for people wishing to explore it in depth and there are specific areas to rest and picnic. If you don’t have any food, a take-away sells sandwiches and a restaurant serves moderately priced simple dishes made up of local fresh products. And if you want to bring Anjou products back home, some of them are on sale in the park shop as well as gardening books, plants and seeds.
If you want to learn more about medicinal and aromatic plants, then go to Chemillé, a town located approximately 40 km South West of Angers. There, right in the town centre, a 3,5 ha garden called Camifolia boasts more than 400 of those plants grouped according to their therapeutic properties and what they are used for. Plants used to prepare beverages or as condiments, vegetables good for health, plants helping to treat heart disease, circulatory problems or digestive disorders, poisonous and toxic plants once used by witches and nowadays cultivated for medical purposes,…..
It looks like an open-air herbalist book where it’s also very enjoyable to stroll because the garden is nicely laid out. Occupying a hillside and the valley of a small stream, it is adorned with sculptures, a waterfall and a pond. In addition, a little greenhouse presents desert and tropical medicinal plants and it’s possible to taste various herb teas within the building housing the reception and where are sometimes held temporary exhibitions.