Liz Hendley by Liz Hendley

Lying on the beach all day is great, and after working hard all year doing this is about as energetic as you want to get on holiday. However, if one day during your stay here, you fancy doing something a bit different then perhaps a visit to Zoomarine may be just the sort of day out your after. It is a mixture between a marine centre and theme park, but definitely has enough activities to last you through the day. I will say straight off that yes, it is absolutely great for kids, but they are not a necessity, as I visited with a group of adults, ranging in age from 18 to 60, and we all thoroughly enjoyed our day there.

The Dolphins of course, are the biggest attraction. They give three shows a day set in the large Dolphin arena, but you can go and visit them at any time. The park has a breeding program, with these highly intelligent mammals and during the show, as well as seeing what Dolphins are really capable of, you can also learn a lot about these creatures, their behavior in the wild and their interaction with human beings. The show is incredibly fun to watch, and lasts around half an hour. Sea Lions and Seals are also big attractions, likewise giving three shows a day in their respective compounds. You can also walk underground to see how they behave below the surface of the water.

There is a large aquarium at the park, which has a surprisingly large variety of sea creatures, the highlight being the sand tiger sharks, which grow up to about 7ft long, and really are a thrill to watch. Here, you can also stroke stingrays, baby sharks (don't worry their teeth aren't fully developed! ), turtles and other creatures in the area designed for visitor interaction.

If all this isn't enough there are also parrot shows, several theme rides, including a large Ferris wheel, and a large swimming pool area where you can cool off and relax if all the excitement becomes a bit too much. There is also a large children's play area, as we all know that the kids always have energy levels that far outreach our own.

I found the park to be well supervised, and all the staff were friendly and informative. The actual park is not set on a huge amount of land, which is great and this keeps walking to a minimum, which as we know is what tires us out at places such as this. My main tip, if you are planning on visiting Zoomarine, would be to arrive at the respective animal shows, particularly the Dolphins, at least half an hour before the stated time the show starts. These attractions are highly popular and it is best to get a good view of the action. Get a seat in the shade, and not one that is painted blue, as this indicates that you will get wet. Also, make sure that you take plenty of suncream as it is very easy to burn, particularly as it does get quite breezy at the park.

I was very nicely surprised at the prices once inside the park. It becomes almost natural to expect to pay way above the norm for food and souvenirs at theme parks the world over, but Zoomarine is an exception. There is a large selection of food and drink outlets in the park, and you should expect to pay about 250 escudos for a soft drink, and about 600 escudos for a hamburger and chips. Not bad at all! There are also several souvenir shops that don't charge the earth. It may be worth noting that Zoomarine also has a shop at Faro airport, so you have time to think about what you may like to take home with you. The entrance costs 2900 escudos, and 1900 escudos with concessions. This covers all the activities in the park, which proves to be good value when you consider how much there is to do, once inside. The only thing to be wary of is that when you enter the park your group has a picture taken with the parrots. As you leave you have the option to but the photo, but I thought 1500 escudos was too much to pay. So, remember to take your own camera, as there will be many opportunities throughout the day to take great photos.

So why not have a day out at Zoomarine, I had a great day there, and left not feeling too poor! Also you may find one or two surprises that I haven't mentioned, just to keep you wondering. It may be better to go on an organized trip, then the worry about parking is eliminated. You can organize this once you arrive in the Algarve. The park is actually open all year, which means that you do have the opportunity to visit it if you come on holiday off-peak. If you do drive, it is located on the N125 near Albufeira, if you are staying in Carvoeiro then allow about 40 minutes to drive there.

Liz Hendley


Dolphin show






Sealion show

Dolphin show

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