Loro Parque, Puerto de la Cruz

Wildlife documentaries have their place but there's no substitute for the real thing: Loro Parque in Puerto de la Cruz will give you just that! From humble beginnings this 'zoo' - the term doesn't do it justice(!) - has developed into one of the leading attractions in Tenerife. The translation of 'loro' is 'parrot' so we'll start there. With over 350 species on show, it is a veritable kaleidoscope of colour, movement and sound. Of course these feathered friends love to show off and the Arabian style amphitheatre with 600 seats allows them to do just that with regular shows throughout the day.

Not to be outdone, the sea life section is home to the newcomers (2006) of the park - Orca Whales - and what a splash they have made. Part of a third generation born in captivity in the USA, their playground is 22.5 million litres of sea water pumped from an ocean depth of 65m at six million litres per hour. These creatures put on a show of grace and power to compete with the 'fun loving' dolphin show. Sub tropical temperatures and Antarctic Penguins... surely a mistake? Not when you go into the ice tunnel where 12 tons of snow and ice is produced daily to make our 'wobbly', 'oh so cute', almost cartoon like fellows right at home.

Still in the 'sea' there are seven 'walk-through' aquariums each with a different theme. The sharks are kept separate (as you would expect!) but the coral reefs provide a spectacular backdrop to a myriad of fish... everything is so much bigger at Loro Parque. There are too many animals to feature all of them here but a special mention must go to the largest collection of Western Lowland male gorillas in the world. Abundant vegetation, waterfalls and rocks set in 3,200m2 provide a habitat that allows them to play, hide and relax...a home away from home you might say.

The animal facilities at Loro Parque are a huge technical achievement built on expert and caring knowledge. The option to see behind the scenes - Discovery Tour - is available at an extra cost. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, don't miss out. Loro Parque will shatter all your preconceptions!