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THINGS TO DO IN THE FRENCH RIVIERA FROM  HAUTE VUE  VILLA MONTAUROUX

  • Writer's pictureDavid Viney

Marineland in Antibes

The Marineland of Antibes theme park was founded in 1970 by Count Roland de La Poype in the Plaine de la Brague neighborhood of Antibes. Covering 26 hectares, it includes a marine zoological park (with dolphinarium), the Aquasplash water park, "Adventure Golf" mini-golf, the "Kid's Island" play park, and the Marineland Resort hotel. If you have kids and they are driving you nuts, there is no better place on the Riviera for them to let off energy and have some fun.


Jumping Orcas at Marineland Antibes | Photo © Andreas Ahrens
Jumping Orcas at Marineland Antibes | Photo © Andreas Ahrens

ATTRACTION FEATURES


The main Marineland complex is very compelling. Make sure you visit the two polar bears in their new 3.5€ million refrigerated home. Then head for the main events:


Orca Show

Marineland has the largest Orca pool complex in the world, with a capacity of 142,000 m3 of water. Currently, there are two orcas: Wikie and Keijo and they are great performers. One nice feature at Marineland is the 64 metres long panoramic glass wall, which means you can spend lots of time watching the whales in-between shows. We can also recommend the “Encounter with Orcas”, where a trainer works with your (intimately sized) group to feed the whales, train them, provide you lots of information, and take all your questions.


Dolphin show

As of April 2020, Marineland housed a total of 12 bottlenose dolphins. The names of the dolphins are: Malou (F), Sharky (F), Rocky (M), Dam (M), Neo (M), Nala (F), Tux (M), Ania (F), Jo (F), Kai (M), Luà (F), and Ollie (F).


Les Coulisses de l'apprentissage (sea lion show)

A live demonstration of the training techniques used with all the mammals in the park, in which the seal and sea lion trainers disclose some of the "ropes" for preparing the show, to better understand the basis of the relationship between humans and animals.


The shark tunnel

Arguably, this is the real highlight of the trip. I'd doubt you have seen this many sharks together anywhere else in the world! Walk down a 30m tunnel through an aquarium containing two million litres of water; surrounded throughout by sharks and manta rays.


Shark Tunnel at Marineland | Photo © Tiia Monto (for Wikipedia)
Shark Tunnel at Marineland | Photo © Tiia Monto (for Wikipedia)

TOP TIPS


We have collected together a few top tips to help you get the best out of your visit:


  • Buy your tickets in advance for a discount. Start by searching Groupon, as they often have deals with up to 40% off. Failing that, you can use the Tiqets app to secure up to 20% off or visit Marineland's own offers page (where they offer discounts for visiting more than one of their attractions during your stay)

  • Get front seats for the Whale Show if you can, but bring a sun hat (as those seats aren't sheltered) and a change of t-shirt in your bag, as those on the front row are sprayed with water

  • The catering on-site is standard fast-food fare and like most theme parks, they won't allow you to eat your own food inside the park. However, this is France! You absolutely can bring your own picnic if you'd prefer, and pop out to your car on your lunch break to eat it (before returning). Many do the same.

  • Marineland do invest in updating facilities, undertake conservation initiatives, and have an active breeding programme. They are also American Humane Certified™ for animal welfare standards. However, this is not the place to come if (like many) you struggle with the idea of animals kept in captivity.


WHY NOT COMBINE WITH...


Aquasplash | Photo © Marineland
Aquasplash | Photo © Marineland

The obvious trip combinations include Marineland's other attractions; particularly if you get a combined ticket (to reduce the overall costs):


  • Aquasplash - featuring 2,500 m of giant slides, a lagoon and a wave pool, Aquaspash covers an open-air site of 20,000 m2. Fully renovated in 2022, it's perfect for families with kids who love watersports. Adrenaline rushers can slide down around ten different slides, including Side Winder, Turbolance and Triple Tour. Yes, there is a Lazy River (always my favourite!) and there are lots of spaces designed for very little children, including the lagoon and Pirate Island.

  • Adventure Golf - Not just one miniature golf course, but three to choose from, suiting your level of skill: Little Explorers (beginner), Adventurers (intermediate) and Conquerors (expert). Each has 18 holes, where you have to overcome the usual obstacles between you and the hole. Once done, you can celebrate your victory with some fast food at the Club House! There is also an indoor, air-conditioned Games Room with air hockey tables, shuffleboards, table football, pinball, arcade games, and rides for the little ones.


VIDEO TEASER


A nice little video from Fabian at the Jansen Journal, featuring the sea lions, playful penguins, and Whale show. Hopefully, this gives you a good idea of what to expect from a visit to Marineland:




HOW TO GET THERE


  • By train: the easiest option is the local TER train direct to Biot train station, which is located only 200 metres walk from Marineland! Timetables here.       

  • By car: if coming from the east, leave the A8 autoroute at the Villeneuve-Loubet Exit (No.47), then follow the signs to Antibes then signs for Marineland. If coming from thr west, use "la Provençale" Exit (No. 44), then follow the signs to Sophia Antipolis then signs for Marineland.

  • By bus: It's easy to get to Marineland by bus, and the nearest bus stop is "Gare SNCF de Biot":

    • Envibus - Line 23 - if coming from Cannes or Villeneuve-Loubet

    • Envibus - Line 10 - if coming from Antibes or Biot

    • TAM Network - Line 200 - if coming from Nice or Cannes


ACCOMMODATION



With stunning views, private pool, super-fast Broadband and modern air-conditioning, the villa Haute Vue is a large Vacation Rental in Montauroux; centrally positioned for exploring both the interior of Provence and the highlights of the French Riviera. Sleeping 10/12 in 5/6 bedrooms, it is close to the beautiful perched villages of the Var and in easy reach of the beaches and sights of the sparkling Côte d'Azur.

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