The Ménagerie is a vast wooded area covering several hectares where nature is omnipresent, in all its forms. As visitors wander the pathways, they will stumble upon enclosures and buildings where the animals are housed. Two entrances lead to the Ménagerie from Jardin des Plantes (Garden of Plants).
From 9 a.m. to 5.30 p.m.
Ménagerie, le zoo du Jardin des Plantes
Access via the Jardin des Plantes
57 and 47 rue Cuvier
2, 10, 18 rue Buffon
36, 38 and 40 rue Geoffroy Saint-Hilaire
FROM €10 to €13
A zoo in the Heart of the Jardin des Plantes
Meet the 1,200 occupants of the zoo. Red pandas, snow leopards, Arabian oryx, orangutans, pythons, Aldabra Giant Tortoises, flamingos, tree-kangaroos, rhinoceros hornbills... the list goes on and on. Around 180 species populate the Ménagerie, and are a highly diverse collection representative of the world of terrestrial vertebrates. The denizens of the park can be glimpsed as you stroll along the wooded pathways, in the heart of the Jardin des Plantes.
These animals are housed in small log cabins made of cob and thatched roofs, known as « fabriques. » Architect Jacques Molinos drew his inspiration from Marie Antoinette's farmhouse at Versailles in 1802. Other creatures can be seen in the aviary, built in 1888 and unique in the world, or in the Vivarium (1926), the Monkey House (1936) and the Big Cat House, three buildings in the Art Deco style.
A Place of Education
As well as being a lovely place for a family walk, the discovery of animals from the far-flung corners of the world is a fascinating and unusual experience. The Ménagerie has a serious educational role through its various events and activities, with an organisational layout that introduces visitors to a wealth of essential information, especially with regard to endangered species, helping young people to understand their part in safeguarding the planet's biodiversity.
The Ménagerie collection is a living book of animal diversity. Getting up close to the animals sometimes offers amazed city dwellers a chance to reconnect with nature, while raising public awareness of environmental issues, especially in schools, which account for 15% of all visitors.
Guided tours and meetings with keepers help visitors to better understand animal behaviour, whether rare or more common. Strolling around the Ménagerie, a biodiversity pathway presents lizards, bees, other insects, foxes, nesting birds and many more creatures. Twelve information stations providing recreational and fascinating facts form part of the experience. Learn not only what threatens these animals, but also what is being done to provide them with liveable space.
Since its creation, the Ménagerie collection has developed considerably, focusing on small and medium-sized species adapted to the pens and encloswures of the park. Endangered species are to be found in their natural environment alongside complementary species from the collections of the other zoological parks belonging to the Museum. From the gigantic Indian bison to the tiniest spiders, from the red panda to giant tortoises, the Ménagerie presents 180 species, a third of which are threatened with extinction. Many are involved in cooperative breeding programmes of the EAZA, the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria.
Preservation of Endangered Species
Small and medium-sized species form most of the collection, many of them threatened with extinction. Among them are the red pandas, snow leopards, Arabian oryx, orangutans, bustards, white-naped cranes, and Aldabra giant tortoises. The zoo has played a pioneering role among zoo parks, by choosing to keep very few very large animals whose size is not adapted to the characteristics of the site. The majority of the animals here were born in captivity and arrived through exchanges and loans with other zoos.
The welfare of the animals is the primary concern in designing the layout of the enclosures. Making sure their basic needs are fulfilled determines the design of features to enrich their behavioural environment. Keepers are always trying to outdo each other to give animals games and exploration tasks, such as increasing the time it takes to find a food treat.
Each year, spring, love is the season for new life at the Ménagerie! Amur or clouded leopards, red pandas, Przewalski's horses, lots of primates, birds, reptiles and amphibians are born on site each year. Species endangered in the wild find hope of survival in captivity.
The Society for the encouragement of wildlife conservation (SECAS) supports rescue operations for endangered species initiated by the Museum’s zoological parks.
If you wish to get involved with endangered species conservation while helping the animals in the Museum’s parks, visit the SECAS website.
SECAS (Société d’encouragement pour la conservation des animaux sauvages) [Society for the encouragement of wildlife conservation]
Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle
Ménagerie du Jardin des Plantes
57 rue Cuvier – CP 31
Tel. +33 (0) 1 40 79 56 52
secas [@] secas.org