Parc de Branféré, a major tourist destination established in 1965 in Morbihan, South Brittany, is based on the Buddhist idea of total harmony between nature and mankind. Attracting over 230,000 visitors per year, the park spans 40 hectares and features a wildlife and botanic park, a leisure park and an educational center.
Parc de Branféré is dedicated to cultivating respect for nature through a social, economic, cultural and environmental approach. Green Globe’s recent re-certification of the park acknowledges this commitment. The park aims to support the conservation of endangered wildlife and has a collection of 120 different animal species totaling approximately 1000 animals from 5 continents. Animals include the Niger Giraffe, Red Panda, Brazilian Tapir, primates such as the White-bearded Gibbon and Marabou Stork.
During warmer months different bird species appear in a bird show where 120 free flying birds perform daily. This year the park opened a new aquatic attraction featuring penguins and seals.
The original botanic park started in the 18th century comprises 70 species of trees and shrubs including Redwood trees (sequoia) dubbed “ambassadors from another time” by author John Steinbeck, Corsican Pines (P.laricio), evergreen conifers (araucaria), azaleas, camellias and rhododendrons. There are many centuries-old trees including a weeping species of Plane tree over 300 years old.
The “Nicolas Hulot School” offers educational activities that promote biodiversity. The school was created to highlight the beauty of the park with its comprehensive collection of botanic and animal species. The educational programs include fun activities, field trips and summer camps that are designed to raise awareness through the discovery of the wonders of nature.
As part of its social responsibility, the park has a long-term management plan in place to ensure fair and equitable job opportunities. Staff benefit from regular training sessions regarding the property’s environmental and sustainable initiatives. The park prefers the purchasing of Fair Trade products and an organic café sourcing local foodstuffs is located on site. Also, informational materials are printed on recycled paper.
To reduce its carbon emissions the park promotes differentiated waste sorting and recycling. In addition, water and energy saving measurements have been implemented throughout the park. On a fun note, an adventure playground, the Parcabout®, with a giant netted maze hovering between 2 and 8 meters above the ground hangs between trees awaiting explorers of all ages. The tree canopy, constructed of over 3000 meters of netting, encourages eco-friendly active participation utilizing the natural surrounds and avoiding environmental damage to the area.
Parc de Branféré operates on a seasonal basis. Please see www.branfere.com for specific dates and opening/closing times.