I decided several months ago that I wanted to take the boys to Loro Parque for my birthday. Perhaps I just wanted to go and I used the boys as an excuse, but whatever. Since I had Spanish class on my actual birthday, we took them to the park on Friday instead.
Loro Parque means parrot park in Spanish and is Spain's version of Sea World. It started with only 150 parrots in 1972 and has grown into a park with 300 parrot species and sub-species, making a total of 3,000. This collection is claimed to be the largest in the world. They also have more than just parrots now: whales, dolphins, sea lions, gorillas, penguins, chimpanzees, tortioses, tigers, fish, etc. Their first orcas came to them on loan from Sea World in 2006 and were later purchased by the park. Loro Parque has Europe's largest dolphin show pool, the world's largest indoor penquin exhibition, the longest shark tunnel in Europe, the largest Thai village outside Thailand, and is the only place in Europe to feature an Orca Ocean.
The park was a more compact more cozy version of Sea World. Most of the visitors come by tour bus or a little Loro Parque train that shuttles people from Puerto de la Cruz so their actual parking lot was very small and parking only cost 2.40€.
When we first arrived, we saw the gorillas and then went to the penguin house. The boys were very interested in watching the penguins swim and touching the ice walls they had there. Before heading to the dolphin show, we stopped in one of the many picnic areas to feed the boys.
Then off to the Delfinario for the show. They don't really have stroller parking so they reserve the front row for people with disabilities and those with strollers (which is sometimes one in the same). It was great because we were front and center and very close to the dolphins. The boys seemed to enjoy the show very much.
After that we headed to Kinderlandia (the kids playground) and let the boys run around for awhile. They were a little too young to play on the things there, but had fun anyhow.
We walked around the park some more looking at the orchid garden, the flamingos, the parrots, and other animals. We went to the parrot show and then stopped to feed the boys again before heading to the last orca show of the day. Apparently the last show is the best one as the stadium is not super packed. The boys were a little antsy during the show and I'm not sure if they liked the whales or the seagulls flying through the area more.
After visiting the orcas, we strolled through the aquarium before heading out. The boys really liked the aquarium... maybe because we let them run loose, or maybe because they actually liked the fish, who knows?
It was a really fun and tiring day. So fun, we decided to "upgrade" our 19€ entry fee to a 60€ annual pass. Since the park is open 365 days a year we figured we would certainly venture back with the boys... Plus, we didn't get to see the Sea Lion show.
“The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” - Jacques Cousteau