Vulcania, the “European Park of Volcanism”, is a theme park and museum located 15km north-west of Clermont-Ferrand in France.
The park designed Pritzker Prize-winning, Austrian arquitect Hans Hollein assumes the form of an artificial volcano cone and shelters four levels of large IMAX theaters, green houses, a volcanic garden, shops, an information center, a restaurant and a play area. Vulcania was officially inaugurated in 2002 is set on extensive grounds and features lovely views of the nearby Puys-de-Dome extinct volcano. Since its inception the park was involved in a political turmoil of alleged miss use of public funds by the former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing, the man behind the project while he was president of the regional council of Auvergne.
Vulcania is an interesting and unusual experience. You can ride the Volcanbul, a GPS-driven robot which gives tours of the area around the park, or you can simply stroll around or hike in the volcanic landscape. You can ride a dragoon (in the fantastic Dragoon Ride) or climb onboard a spaceship which simulate being inside an erupting volcano. The park doesn’t have much thrill rides and can be not that interesting for thrill seekers but the buildings are wonderfully designed and futuristic.
As Vulcania is basically a museum about volcanoes we think the price tag for the tickets is pricey at more than 20 Euro entry for an adult with Internet discount. The displays are in French but you can hire an audio guide in English though you have to leave a form of ID with them to access this. We visited during spring 2014 and the entrance was under reconstruction.
There were virtually no more than 1000 persons at the park but we’re told that during summer and school break the lines are huge. The park also has a huge pic-nic are so you’re invited to bring your own food. But both the cafeterias and restaurants have reasonable prices and more variety than the regular fast food.
So theme park lovers if you’re in the French countryside take a morning or an afternoon in educational and fun Vulcania. You won’t regret it. It’s time well spent!.
By Ana Alegria and Carlos Canaes. Updated: 14/05/2017
Location: Route de Mazayes, 63230 Saint-Ours-les Roches, France
Tickets: Adults from 24,50€ (online), Children (up do 16 years old) 17€
Opens all yearTop Rides
Dragoon ride, Volcanbul
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