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This French Theme Park Is A "Bestiary Of Machines"

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If you're interested in visiting a theme park that's part circus and part steampunk, step right up to Les Machines de l'île in Nantes, France. At this mechanical-animal theme park, you can ride enormous elephants and spiders, hear from their machinists, and even tour where the magic happens.

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Giant Spiders In Wonderland

This safari wonderland was conceived by François Delarozière and Pierre Orefice, and their website describes Les Machines de l'île as "the crossroads of Jules Verne's 'invented worlds,' the mechanical universe of Leonardo da Vinci, and of Nantes' industrial history, on the exceptional site of the former shipyards." All of the park's animal machinists come from the company La Machine, and their design goal is to convey a "mysterious reality to this island just like the time when vessels were launched there for all the trips of the world." The park features a three-level, 82-foot tall carousel that offers visuals of ocean life while guests ride on the banks of the Loire River.

Interested in riding Les Machines de l'île's "bestiary of machines"? According to Travel + Leisure, the park includes "giant herons, massive ants, larger-than-life elephants, looming spiders and more." The mechanical spider holds four people in its abdomen. If you think that sounds frightening, the elephant is four stories high and can carry 50 passengers on its back.

Theme Parks Are For Nerds, Too

In addition to riding these animals, you can also nerd out over their creation. Machinists from La Machine are stationed at the park to explain how the machines were developed and how they work. The park also houses its own laboratory where you can view the entire process from sketch to finished, terrifying (yet amazing) product. In other words, if you're afraid of giant spiders, this is the perfect place to conquer your fear.

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