Timon and his meerkat friend discover their new enclosure by jumping around, before the amused gaze of the visitors. A little further on, majestic white wolves rest under the trees, while applause resounds from the arena where the show “Le Trésor de Galerne” has just taken place. 40 km from Nantes, the Legendia Parc, located in Frosay (Loire-Atlantique), has just reopened its doors for a new season, during the school holidays.
A year like no other for this strange place, between the zoo and the theme park in the world of tales and legends, it took time to really find the formula for success. This hybrid venue celebrating its 30th anniversary, long called the “Deer Trail”, now hopes to play in the big leagues as it passes the 100,000 visitor mark, “with great ambitions for the future”, says this family-owned company.
“A real lightning bolt for the deer”
In 1992, nothing predestined its founder, then a dairy cow breeder, to create this leisure space, where five shows are held daily and where 500 animals now live together, mostly European fauna. It was in seeking to diversify his activity, for economic reasons, that Patrick Lefeuvre “fell in love with the fallow deer”. Unknown in the region, these deer initially bred for their meat have become a real local attraction. “Given this enthusiasm, we organized visits, first on foot and then by buggy, recalls the farmer. Two years later, I started to build the park, a body of water, caves… Every year, with my wife who was at the reception, we tried to invent something new. »
For 20 years, slowly but surely, the 33-hectare park has expanded and diversified. Like Puy-du-Fou, the first shows are offered and attract a family and local audience seduced by the world of legends, numerous in the Pays de Retz, which the park wants to embody. Wolves, bears, lynxes… The number of species is increasing, but still without notoriety. “We built ourselves by chance, without calculations or growth goals”, confides with humility Patrick Lefeuvre, whose son and son-in-law recently took over the reins of the company. It is the passion that has guided us. »
Strong audience growth
In 2017, a name change was made and the park decided to go all out during special events like Halloween or Christmas. “Being called Legendia Parc allowed us to position ourselves more clearly, with this meeting between magic and the spectacular”, observes Anaïs Bouillet, responsible for communication. Since then, attendance numbers have only increased, despite the health crisis! More than 2,000 people came in one day last December. A recording! »
It was therefore time to attract many more, with visitors who would now come from all over the region. To accommodate them as best as possible, Legendia Parc is currently building two first-rate guesthouses (in the heart of the Plaine des Loups) like its competitor Planète Sauvage. The team has grown even further, reaching 27 employees, some of whom will work in a new restaurant. A biodiversity preservation program, with the reception of endangered species, are part of the many areas of development. After arctic, gray and Canadian wolves, maned canids will soon appear.