After scaling the heights of the Mount Teide Volcano the next morning we set off on the hours drive from our hotel, the Gran Melia Palacio de Isora, to visit Loro Parque in the north of the island.
This is our review of Loro Parque in Tenerife.
The north of the island is totally different from the south and it’s well worth making the journey just for the stunning scenery and towns en route to Loro Parque. The cooler temperatures and gorgeous lush greenery of the north was a stark contrast to the dry and rocky south.
We briefly stopped off at Santiago del Teide before driving past the hilltop settlement of Masca, which could possibly be the most beautiful village in Tenerife.
The entrance to Loro Parque is equally as impressive, especially when you arrive at Peublo Thai, the largest Thai village outside Thailand.
This sets the scene for the rest of your visit. Loro Parque is one of the most beautiful zoos we have visited and I can see why it has recently been voted the best zoo in Europe by Trip Advisor.
Loro Parque was opened in the 1970s and was dedicated to parrots, hence the parks name (Loro Parque translated in Spanish means Parrot Park) and claims to have hosted the first ever bird show in Europe.
The park is still home to the world’s largest collection of parrots but over the years it has evolved to become a world class zoo and birds now only represent a small part of what is on offer.
After making sure we spotted some of the beautiful birds and wildlife near to the entrance to the park, we made our way to the first show of the day – Orca Ocean.
The spectacular shows at Loro Parque are really informative and are not to be missed. While not everyone will agree with the shows, they are educational.
Tip – Arrive at least 15-20 minutes early for the 20 minute shows for the best seating and to ensure you can get into the show during peak periods such as weekends and school holidays. Also very important if you want to stay dry, stay away from the first few rows of seating, also known as the splash zone!
Tip – Schedule your day around the Loro Parques shows.
The orca show was absolutely spectacular. After realising that we might get wet just at the edge of the splash zone we purchased ponchos (3 euros each) and these were definitely needed as although we got wet, people in the first few rows of the splash zone got drenched.
We literally sat and watched in awe during this amazing interactive and exciting show, you can literally feel the power of these gigantic animals. It was also very educational learning how killer whales eat, communicate and navigate which is really well delivered via a seamless combination of entertainment and education.
As we entered the large dolphinarium the excited look on Holly’s face was a picture. Ever since her first dolphin encounter at Seaworld, she has been fascinated by dolphins ever since.
From our seats at the front and very close to the splash zone, we were amazed as the bottlenose dolphins performed their acrobatics, showing off their ball skills and swimming with their trainers, who evidently have a strong connection and love between them.
Any questions that we had about dolphins and there were many especially from Holly were answered in this fantastic show which amazed us all – it would rival any of the shows offered at the SeaWorld parks.
This show was so much fun and one of the highlights of our visit. The talented sea lions were hilarious and each played a role in the show. What was evident was their close bond with their trainers, where they juggled balls and dived into the water from height.
There was much to see and do at Loro Parque that unfortunately we ran out of time to visit the parrot show. We have been to similar shows around the globe where the parrots speak, ride a bike or perform some simple maths.
Each zoo has its own unique element that makes it special and at Loro Parque we loved walking through the tree canopy at the Katandra Treetops, one of the most impressive aviaries we have visited.
As we walked around the elevated jungle paths and Indiana Jones style hanging bridges there were hundreds of colourful birds from around the world freely flying around us, the girls in particular loved it.
The natural habitat that the zoo has recreated especially at the Jungle Ara area, had me at times forgetting we were actually in Tenerife, especially when we walked through the rainforest full of lush greenery and waterfalls.
Other animal exhibits
Elsewhere there is plenty to see and do. What is evident throughout Loro Parque is the care and dedication that goes into the park and its conservation efforts.
As we walked around the zoo we spotted pink flamingos, sloths, tigers, alligators and more.
We were lucky enough that plenty of them decided to come and say hello, including the pygmy hippo – it was the first time we had seen one out of the water.
Next up we visited Planet Penguin home to over 200 penguins. Here you could actually feel the cold as we all got to touch a giant wall of ice. Of course we couldn’t resist.
The penguin habitat at Loro Parque is the world’s biggest and I have to admit having to been to some of the world’s best zoos this was the most impressive.
The girls were transfixed by the penguins as they wandered around the near 360 degree viewing area of their habitat which is topped up with over one tonne of real snow each day. They were constantly asking questions which showed that they were really enjoying their day out.
Leaving Planet Penguin was another highlight for the girls via two penguin slides into a giant ball pool.
The aquarium at Loro Parque like the rest of the park was so impressive, it’s also home to the world’s first underwater garden which recreates the majestic mountain ranges of Asia.
We love visiting an aquarium and the girls in particular enjoy learning about the marine life on display. We came across so many varieties of jellyfish and hundreds of colourful tropical fish and the huge tanks made it even more engaging and immersive.
We spent an age watching the moon jellyfish captivated by how different they looked under a variety of coloured lights. There were lots of questions from the girls and they were so intrigued after we told them they have no brains, stomachs, blood, heart or eyes.
The panoramic views offered in the 18 metre long underwater tunnel are always one of our favourite parts of visiting aquariums and Loro Parque did not disappoint.
Shark spotting was our favourite with the girls jumping back from the glass every time one of the sharks or rays swam past and there were plenty!
Away from the animals we came across Kinderlandia an African themed adventure playground and the kid friendly rollercoaster the Orca Train (additional 1 euro per child), which is the only rollercoaster in Tenerife.
We stayed almost until park closing and before we left we stopped off at the impressive forest environment, home to the seven gorillas at the park.
Tip – It’s worth visiting the Gorilla enclosure toward the end of the day when the crowds are quieter and makes for the perfect photo opportunity.
Through the large glass windows which were cleverly set out, we could see these remarkable creatures from various vantage points.
We really enjoyed our visit to Loro Parque. With such a wide variety of animals to see it was so enjoyable and educational for all of us.