Family Fun

The Languedoc Roussillon has a terrific diversity of places to see, explore and experience for children ‘en famille’.  From water parks to shady bamboo, from castles to vultures, from Art to tree climbing; whatever your budget and your children’s desires there should be something to suit you and your kids.

Here are some of our friends’ and guests’ favourite activities for children in the Languedoc Roussillon, all designed for family fun.

Under 1 hour’s drive away

Park Aquaviva, Carcassonne

Park AquavivaPut your strength, balance and bravery to the test; discover the new inflatable obstacle course in the centre of Lake Cavayère at Carcassonne, just fifteen minutes’ drive away.

Inspired by the TV show “Total Wipeout”, the obstacle course consists of swings and giant slides, a catapult, trampolines, a climbing wall; hours of fun on a large scale.

Open during July and August, 11am – 7pm daily.

www.parcaquaviva.com

Australian Park, Paraza

Australian ParkJust three minutes from Carcassonne’s medieval centre lies a whole other world in the shape of the city’s “Parc Australien”. This five-hectare corner of Oz in the South of France is divided into different zones, including the Aborigine, Ostrich and Boomerang areas.

Go panning for gold, throw a boomerang or meet a kangaroo. There’s also a picnic area and a very special nursery where your own little ones can come face-to-face with baby roos, emus and newly-hatched ostrich chicks.

www.leparcaustralien.free.fr

Accro Parc Treetop Rope Walk, Lac Cavayère

Accro Parc Treetop Rope WalkCarcassonne o2 Adventure Park at Lac Cavayère is where your children can go on rope walks in the trees.  It is a marvellous experience for children and adults alike and involves making a high-wire tour over the fringe of the lake in the very tops of the pine trees.  Not for the faint-hearted!

There are seven courses of varying difficulty with more than 80 workshops, including two Tyrolean traverses above the Lake.

The courses are open to children aged 4 years and older who have a 1.5m arm span.

www.o2aventure.com

Dinosaur Museum, Esperaza

Esperaza dinosaur museumThis is the first French museum dedicated to dinosaurs.  It opened as a result of a huge find in the late 1980s of dinosaur remains, the largest of which has been named ‘Eva’. The excavation of these remains is on-going; the site is only a few kilometres away from Esperaza.

The museum combines interesting archaeological information with a great selection of dinosaur skeletons. There is even an animatronic dinosaur to rival the one in the Natural History Museum in London! Throughout the exhibits there are activities for children, from colouring and drawing to a quiz about the museum’s content.

www.dinosauria.org

Knight’s Tournament, Carcassonne La Cité

Knight's TournamentDuring July and August within the fortified walls of the Cité Médiévale fifteen horses and fourteen stuntmen take part in this mini epic which combines jousting, ground combat and games. An introduction in English, French and Spanish enables everyone to understand the historic context in which the action takes place.

This explosive, fifty-minute blend of combat, stunts and pyrotechnics will thrill young and old alike. The Grand Théâtre de la Cité and this historical epic combine to evoke the emotion and reflection that are sometimes lacking from this kind of entertainment.

The tournament is hosted daily during July and August at 3pm and 4:45pm only.

Karting, Carcassonne

Karting at ‘Win’Kart’, close to Carcassonne Salvaza airport, is an exciting day out for older children and adults at the local karting circuit. Suitable for children from 7 years of age (minimum 1.3m tall), it is open every day from 10am – 9pm in July and August and in the afternoons at other times of the year.

www.winkart.fr

Soft Play Centre, Carcassonne

Soft Play Centre‘Royal Kids’ is a large, indoor soft play centre with a good selection of slides and all manner of climbing nets and foam obstacles which form a giant, fun playscape.

There is a ball pond for younger children as well as enough giant lego blocks to satisfy aspiring builders.  For an additional cost you can hire mini-dodgem cars that weave around underneath the playcentre.

It is situated in the same zone as the Intermarche supermarket on the outskirts of Carcassonne on the road to Mazamet.

It is open every day except Mondays and Thursdays in term time and every day during the school holidays. Check the website for precise opening hours. Suitable for children aged 2-12.

www.royalkids.fr

Magic Jump, Narbonne

Magic Jump is an indoor bouncy castle centre. There are huge inflatable slides, a Noah’s ark, amazing tunnels, various trampolines as well as an obstacle course for younger children and a play corner.

It is a fun way to tire your children out!

Open Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and Wednesday during term time and daily during the school holidays. Check their website for specific opening times as it does close for lunch between 12-2pm.

www.magicjump.free.fr

Over 1 hour’s drive away

Animal Safari Park, Sigean

Animal Safari Park, Sigean“La Réserve Africaine de Sigean” is a massive wildlife park with nearly 4000 wild animals in an area covering more than 300 hectares, making it possible to re-create the original habitat of each species.

This zoological park is designed to give the animals a territory vast enough to allow nearly the same behaviour as in the wild.

There is also a large walk around section where you can get up close to a whole range of animals from elephants to monkeys to goats.

This can take up to 3 hours to visit so our advice would be to do the drive through in the morning, and then enjoy a picnic lunch, followed by the hands on areas in the afternoon.

Remember that in the drive through part of the park you will need to keep your windows and sun roof completely shut.  So unless you have a good air conditioning system in your car you should try to visit this part of the park early in the morning.

www.reserveafricainesigean.fr

Adventure Park, Port Leucate

With 15 different adventure circuits available, small children and young adults as well as the sportiest individual will find a course that lives up to their expectations.

There is an on-site team to advise and guide adventurers around each course.  A full briefing is provided to explain how to tackle each course safely and use the safety harnesses before you are allowed to sample the excitement of the adventure park’s different circuits.

There is even a course suitable for children aged 2 and up where they can crawl along little wooden bridges and through tunnels.

Open daily in July and August only. Ring for opening hours in September.

www.leucate-aventures.com/parcours

Mèze Dinosaur Museum-Park (20 miles from Montpellier)

Dinosaur MuseumThis is the largest Museum-Park in Europe devoted to dinosaurs with 35 different species on display. Situated in the middle of an outstanding paleontological site in which numerous dinosaur eggs and fossilised bones were discovered, it offers an extraordinary voyage in time.

It tells the story of dinosaurs from their origin to their extinction, explaining all we have learnt about them from their discovery to the most recent scientific research.

This top quality Museum site encourages visitors of all ages to observe, understand and participate in what is a new, highly original concept, an open-air museum.

Discover the largest complete skeleton in the world in the; the Brachiosaurus was one of the largest dinosaurs, some 80 ft long and weighing 50 tons!

Hot News: The remains of an extremely large dinosaur of the Iguanodon family have been discovered here; it could be a new species!

The museum-Park is open daily all year round. Check the website for opening times and entry prices.

www.musee-parc-dinosaures.com

Adventure Maze, Toulouse

Adventure Maze, ToulouseThe maze is located 20 kilometres (12 miles) away from Toulouse. It is in the grounds of the chateau de Merville and is really worth a visit.

The chateau was built in the 18th Century by the Seneschal of Toulouse, an architecture lover. The layout of the adjacent 30-hectare boxwood labyrinth (74-acre) is also his design, but his vision of the park was so ambitious that it took forever to complete.

Unique in Europe, the Merville labyrinth is a six kilometres (four miles), fun and interactive circuit in the largest and most majestic boxwood maze in Europe.  You will have to solve the riddles and find the right password to open the water’s doors and the gates and avoid the traps!

Descendants of the original owners still live in Merville today.

www.labyrinthedemerville.com

Space Museum, Toulouse

Space Museum, ToulouseThe ‘Cité de l’Espace’, is Europe’s best space museum. It’s difficult to miss as rising out of the Toulouse suburbs is the 150ft-high life-size version of the Ariane 5 rocket.

Among a constellation of exhibits are a full-size model of the Russian satellite Sputnik launched in 1957, a big chunk of Moon rock and genuine sections of the Russian Mir craft and the Space Station.

There are enough intelligent displays and hands-on exhibitions to fill a day. But a minute is long enough in the gyroscope, in which you are hurled upside-down and back-to-front for the 360-degree spin-dryer treatment.

Head to the state-of-the-art planetarium to recover; just sit back and gaze at the universe.

www.cite-espace.com

Aqualand Water Fun Parks

Aqualand Water Fun ParksThe closest Aqualand water fun park is at Port Leucate (between Port Leucate and Port Barcares). There is another a little further away at Cap d’Agde.

Although these theme parks are not identical, the concept is the same, offering water slides, rapids, wave pools and such like. They aren’t particularly cheap, however they make a very pleasant alternative to the beach and the kids will have a great day out there.

www.aqualand.fr 

‘1000 Flower’ Labyrinth, Trouillas (only 15 minutes from the beach)

The visit to the ‘Labyrinthe aux milles fleurs’ begins with the tropical garden. It continues with mazes, from the most classic to the most modern, each constructed from a range of materials such as wood, metal, plants and stone. There are also varied games and puzzles for all ages. At the heart of the maze, the Zen Garden offers the visitor a mineral garden and a botanical trail with Asian flavour.

Open throughout the year. Check the website for opening hours and entry prices.

www.laby66.com

Pirate Park, Gruissan

The ‘Pirat Parc’ is vast amusement park which is open from 21h-1h.  It is themed around the pirate ‘Barbarossa’ and has 42 different attractions.

Open June, July & August.  Check the website for details and prices.

www.pirat-parc.com

Zoo du Lunaret, Montpellier

Zoo du Lunaret, MontpellierThis zoological park is a free day out in lovely parkland setting in the North of Montpellier  and is home to over 164 animal species. There are bears, lions, cheetahs, leopards, rhinos, antelope – you name it. There is a huge Amazon jungle section as well as 20 hectares of natural Languedoc countryside populated by a large selection of birds. Walk along its winding paths; pass by ancient windmills, through the Cypress arboretum and alongside the flowing river Lez.

Entry to the zoo is free.  Entry to the Amazon jungle is 3 Euros for children aged 6 and over, entry is free for children under 6. The zoo is closed on Mondays outside school holidays. Opening hours and further details of entry fees are available on the zoo’s website.

www.zoo.montpellier.fr

Aquarium, Montpellier

Mare Nostrum AquariumThe ‘Mare Nostrum’ aquarium is now one of the most favorite places for tourists to visit in the area!

Your visit there will take you on a fascinating journey from the Mediterranean sea, straight to Gibraltar before discovering the Atlantic Ocean, Southern seas. Next explore the depths of the Indian Ocean, wonder at the immensity of the sea and dream about South Seas and islands. During your visit you’ll explore the seas and oceans of the world and admire over 400 species.

Thanks to the storm and hurricane simulators, multimedia terminals and educational workshops for even the youngest of visitors your visit will be sensational!

Open daily. Check their website for opening hours and entry prices.

www.aquariummarenostrum.fr