Paloma Ceballos (https://tuguiaenvalencia.com/) refers to the ‘Jardín del Turia’ as a river (rio in Spanish), which used to cross through the city. The river that is now a garden was diverted south of the city, in 1957, because of the big flood.
“When we go to the Gardens, we start in the city centre to walk under the bridges…to the riverbed.” said Ceballos.
Some bridges are from varying historical periods from the San José period (17th century), Serranos (16th century), Trinidad (15th century). Ceballos says the bridges:“help connect the history of the city.”
The ‘Turia’ gardens are famously known for running, walking and biking paths. There are lots of weekly activities in “the river.” These include tours. The morning tour shows all the sights that can be seen via the ‘Jardín del Turia’ Gardens like the museum of Arts and Sciences and the Bioparc. This website features an abundance of exercise activities including yoga, martial arts, climbing, percussion classes and aerial silk. Visitors can rent four person bikes along the riverwalk from a separate source and stop at kid-friendly playgrounds and restaurants along the way.
The roughly ten kilometres long gardens include orange and pine trees as well as the City of Arts and Sciences museum and Bioparc.
Another attraction of the gardens is the Bioparc safari zoo. Visitors are able to walk through the park feeling they are in Africa without leaving Valencia. The zoo environments replicate African wetlands, Madagascar, an Equatorial forest, and African Savannah.
Bioparc’s main objective is to preserve the environment, a philosophy many Valencians are passionate about. Bioparc believes it is the power of the people to change a situation and achieve a habitat for everyone, including people and animals.
One way Bioparc makes a good habitat for animals is having multi-species enclosures which are crucial for reproduction of endangered species and can help reintroduce them into the wild if needed.
Bioparc hopes to educate and raise awareness for conservation by holding events like the parade of abandoned dogs and educating students who visit the zoo.
More info: https://www.bioparcvalencia.es/
CITY OF ARTS AND SCIENCES
The City of Arts and Sciences is one of Valencia’s signature buildings with its famous dome-like structure, designed by Calatrava. Some structures are completely surrounded by water features, with bridges and paths that allow pedestrians to enter separate buildings.
The main attraction is the science museum with hands-on activities for children. Recently, a new science workshop for children has been added that allows for social distancing. It’s called “Chemistry in Action,” which combines all of the “Science on Stage,” programs that took place before the pandemic into one. The new workshop allows for social distancing with visitors watching the audience from afar.
The first floor of the science museum has a children’s space with an artistic representation of DNA 15 meters high. The next floor includes a history and evolution of science. This includes a reproduction of 23 chromosomes, the most notable discovery in modern science. The top floor of the museum explores space and zero gravity. More info in English: https://www.cac.es/en/home.html
The performing arts centre is called Palau de Les Arts. The space functions as an opera house but also hosts a variety of performing arts including classical music symphony concerts every month and occasional flamenco, jazz and pop concerts each season. The centre recently unveiled its 2021-2022 programme to the public. More info in English: https://www.lesarts.com/en/
Les Arts has a restaurant called ‘Contrapunto Les Arts’ on the lower terrace below the opera house. Visitors can see the sunset and view of the water through windows that line the architecture of the building. In addition, there is another outside terrace serving tapas, and cocktails.
The restaurant offers an array of Spanish, world and oriental dishes with a variety of courses. The food presentation is impressive and the dishes have an interesting combination of flavours. It is medietrranean cuisine with touches of influences from cultures outside Europe and they like to combine classic dishes with ‘nueva cocina española’. Along with a family-friendly environment of the science museum, the restaurant has a children’s menu too. The restaurant is popular and booking in advance is required to avoid disappointment. More info: https://www.restaurantecontrapuntolesarts.com/
A must-see attraction in the Rio Turia Gardens is the ‘Parque Gulliver’. The 70 metre long Gulliver giant from Jonathan Swift’s book ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ is represented being tied down by tiny Lilliputians. Today, those Lilliputians are represented as visitors of the park who can climb and slide down the figure. The statue will turn 31 this year and entry is free.
The Hemisfèric is a planetarium and IMAX theatre. It features films focusing on astronomy, evolution, ocean and forest environments. The theatre corresponds well to the same topics of evolution and astronomy that can be found in the science museum.
The planetarium shows films. You can view films at the Hemisfèric 365 days a year. More info in English: https://www.cac.es/en/hemisferic/descubre-el-hemisferic/descubre-el-hemisferic.html
This museum is Europe’s biggest aquarium with over 500 species and resembles the Sydney Opera House. In addition, it has the longest underwater tunnel in Europe. Read an article about the aquarium by ’24/7 Valencia’ here: https://247valencia.com/oceanografic-valencia-city-arts-sciences/
More info in English: https://www.oceanografic.org/en/
Report by Lorena Best
Article copyright ’24/7 Valencia’