Today we showed them Africa – Antarctica, under the sea to the ocean’s floor, to the moon and the solar system beyond, on this fun filled day planned with kids in mind. Montpellier offers so much to do and see, and only an hour away from our new home, it proves to be a great close excursion when travelling with kids.
Our new neighbors, C and P show us around Montpellier, on a day they planned for their son, L and let us tag along. It was a glorious sunny day, even though it was 1 degree at our 9:00am departure when we picked them up in our Westfalia 7 seater van. Montpellier has a population over 250,000 and is the fastest growing city in France. The neighbourhoods are hip and trendy and the real estate reflects its popularity.
We started off our adventure with a 2-hour walk through the free Zoo in Montpellier’s City Park. An assortment of animals in big fenced areas, giving space for them to roam. With natural simulated habitats, we watch camels, zebras, deer and exotic creatures graze. Some were a little more confined, especially if dangerous, like the lions and cheetah with a giant moat around their space keeping them in. The three kids ran through the zoo, excited to find what was around the next bend. The end tuckered Angelina out.
Alfonz set up the table in the Westfalia van, where we lunched on sandwiches and snacks from home to save a buck on our adventure. With strength regained, we drove to an area designed with families in mind, close to Montpellier’s centre. There was a theatre, restaurants, a mall, the Planetarium, the Aquarium, IKEA, a Pirate themed Adventure with a huge lineup, just to name a few places, all in an outdoor walking street, loaded with other families on Christmas Break.
Stopping for a midday coffee, we sat in the sun, in a little cafe along the walking strip. It must have warmed up towards 17 degrees, not a cloud in the sky. Another beautiful winter day in South France!
We caught the 2:00pm show at the Planetarium, where we learned about the solar system, constellations and saw an animated flick on the tides, with a great lesson on saving the reefs. They had earphones for us to hear the translation in English. The show was projected on the Imax screen all around and above us. The kids enjoyed the film and it was nice to rest in the laid back seats after our long morning and big lunch.
Our adventure ends, next-door in the aquarium, where the kids touch ray fish, and see sharks close up through thick glass tanks.Searching for our favourites fish we spent the most time here, watch the penguins, and talked about the informative displays. They even have a cool ship that simulates a storm for children to navigate through. The room shook, and the children enjoyed the fun!
Our day ended close to 8:30pm when we reached home, kids tired and happy they put themselves to bed. They are sure to dream tonight and sleep in tomorrow!
Often we forget that our children need a break to enjoy some of the less historical or culture rich adventures on our trips, and let them be kids. Today was for them.