We are very impressed with the French attitude towards Theme Parks - no long queues for the children, no expensive charges for rides, usually just a blanket initial charge and that is all.
The nearest amusement park is the Pirat Parc at Gruissan and it has rides and activities suitable for all ages from 2 years upwards. Health and Safety does not often rear its head in France, the roller coaster is extremely fast and very high, some other rides are not for the faint hearted either. The park opens at 8 in the evening (closes at 1 in the morning) so an afternoon nap for young children is essential so that they can make it to even the opening time.
You can enter the park free but if you want to go on rides etc then children 2 - 6 years old can purchase a bracelet that costs 20 euros at the time of writing and entitles them to go on any ride at all (except for height restrictions) and they can go on the rides for as many times as they want to do so as well. Older children/adults can also purchase a bracelet at 26 euros so they can accompany them or just go on rides themselves. If you don't want a bracelet but want to go on just a few things, you can purchase tokens, one token equals one euro. This is brilliant value for money.
Aquajet Park, also along the Gruissan/Narbonne Plage coast, is a great day out, again for children of all ages. You can buy a day pass (12 euros or 6 euros for children under 4 years) and whilst the children use the water slides and pools to their hearts content, you can relax on a sun bed. The cafe there is good and very reasonably priced but you can take in a picnic. This park is on the beach so you can combine the two. Aquajet is only open during the Summer months.
Further afield at Carcassonne & Cap D'Agde there are larger amusement and adventure parks. The O2 Forest Adventure Park near Carcassonne is said to be particularly good. These parks are usually only open during the Summer months.
The zoo and aquarium at Montpellier are both fantastic and it is well worth the drive to this lovely city; both are open all year round and the zoo is free.
The Reserve Africaine at Sigean is a must - again adults will really enjoy the experience as it is so well designed. After going round one section in your car - and no Health & Safety rules here either - seeing a black bear lying on the road in front of the car concentrates the mind - you can park and walk for miles. The park overlooks Sigean etangs and there are flocks of flamingos sunning themselves. Beautiful plantings and many animals on close display ensure a relaxing walk but one that is also very interesting.
It is best to take a picnic here as it's a beautiful location and the cafe is not brilliant. If you visit in Summer you must expect long delays in the driving section as you can only go as fast as the car in front. It is open all year round from 9 o'clock until 4.00 - 6.30.
During the summer months many villages and towns put on medieval fayres where locals enact scenes from medieval life including sword fights and hawking - details will be in daily newspapers such as the Midi Libre. Carcassonne has, every day in the summer, a joust, this is absolutely fantastic entertainment for all ages.