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posted: 7/22/2014 5:45 AM

Little Prince park, like book, delights in small

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  • Children swing during the Park of the Little Prince's opening day in Ungersheim, in the Alsace region of eastern France. The park is themed on one of French literature's most beloved characters, "The Little Prince," from the 1943 novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The park offers gentle attractions for young children.

      Children swing during the Park of the Little Prince's opening day in Ungersheim, in the Alsace region of eastern France. The park is themed on one of French literature's most beloved characters, "The Little Prince," from the 1943 novella by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The park offers gentle attractions for young children.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS/LITTLE PRINCE PARK

  • Visitors arrive for the Park of the Little Prince's opening day in Ungersheim, France. The park offers various attractions for young children.

      Visitors arrive for the Park of the Little Prince's opening day in Ungersheim, France. The park offers various attractions for young children.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS/LITTLE PRINCE PARK

  • Attractions at the Park of the Little Prince in France include two tethered passenger balloons and more for younger children.

      Attractions at the Park of the Little Prince in France include two tethered passenger balloons and more for younger children.
    ASSOCIATED PRESS/LITTLE PRINCE PARK

 
By Lori Hinnant
Associated Press

PARIS -- Tucked into a corner of eastern France where overseas tourists rarely venture, the Park of the Little Prince takes its name from one of French literature's most beloved characters -- and takes its cues from a time when roller coasters didn't set out to terrify, living rooms televisions didn't have multiplayer 3-D video games and theme parks were scaled for the small.

The park, which opened July 1, is perfect for visitors looking for a way to entertain small children who might have had their fill of the French, German or Swiss countryside. It's located in Ungersheim, in the heart of the Alsace region, about 30 miles from Basel, Switzerland, and about 10 miles from the German border.

There are 31 attractions based loosely on the theme of flight -- the Little Prince is a space explorer and author Antoine de Saint-Exupery was a well-known pilot. (He got his pilot's license in Strasbourg, the regional capital of Alsace.) Attractions include two tethered passenger balloons, a film about deep-sea mysteries watched from the perspective of a water scooter, and visits with real fox cubs or a flock of sheep with their sheepdog.

Despite the smattering of high-tech, the park -- like the book, which was published in 1943 -- is more about slowing down and taking stock of the small things that delight. And remember, as the Little Prince said, "children should always show great forbearance toward grown-up people."

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