In Réunion, aspiring explorers, botanists and volcanologists will be able to try out a thousand and one experiments in fascinating natural surroundings.
Réunion is the treasure island that children dream of and a wonderful place to play. Apprentice explorers can set out on the Marmailles trails, special marked-out walking paths listed in a guide available in the Tourist Offices. These walks usually last less than two hours and do not involve too much climbing. The Maïdo also offers a wide number of outdoor activities, such as obstacles courses suspended in the trees, horse-riding or mountain-biking, sledging (without the snow!) and so on.
Unique plant discoveries
Young botanists can study the wonderful plant life found on Réunion. The Jardin de Cendrillon (Cinderella's Garden) at La Montagne, up in Les Hauts de Saint-Denis, was founded in 1935 by one of the island's first florists. At Saint-Gilles, the Jardin d'Eden looks at the relationships between man and plant life. The Mascarins Botanical Conservatory, on the heights of Saint-Leu, is a shrine of knowledge and a key element in the conservation of Réunion's plant heritage. On the edge of Saint-Philippe, the Jardin des Parfums et des Epices (Perfume and Spice Garden) is a place where the young and not-so-young can discover more than 1,500 species of medicinal plants, fragrant flowers (vetiver, ylang-ylang) and aromatic plants (clove, cardamom, vanilla), etc. The Parc Exotica at Saint-Pierre is even more extensive and offers an interactive, entertaining way to learn about species unique to Réunion and other exotic plants, such as palm and coconut trees, orchids and so on. It also harbours caves, stones, crystals and animal constructions. Also great fun is the Labyrinthe En-Champ-Thé (tea field maze) at Grand Coude near Saint-Joseph. It will take you on a discovery trail through the tea plantations, teaching you all about tea, from the tree to the teacup !
Finally, Réunion will also spark the dreams of future volcanologists as they stand in awe before Piton de la Fournaise. They will never forget the lunar landscapes at Plaine des Sables and Enclos Fouqué. They will be able to learn all there is to know about eruptions and plate tectonics as they visit the fascinating Cité du Volcan visitors' centre in Bourg Murat. A must !