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FUENGIROLA ZOO

Fuengirola Bioparc is a visitor’s ‘must do’ – step through the gates into simulated tropical forests, lush vegetation and cooling waterfalls. Crocodiles bask, barely blinking, Sumatra tigers prowl, lemurs chase each other through the branches of the zoo’s iconic Baobab tree and orang-utans play up to their laughing audience. Everywhere you wander are birds and animals living in as near as possible their natural habitat, including a Komodo dragon!

The Costa del Sol zoo plays a big part in important European and world-wide animal conservation programmes – it is deeply involved in the European Endangered Species breeding programme and is home to animals whose protection and reproduction is vital for the survival of the species.

And from July 1st until the end of August the zoo offers its annual highlight – it stays open until midnight, providing a fabulous opportunity to stroll along the walkways and through the jungles of Asia and Africa, watching the nocturnal activities of the animals. It’s an almost unique chance to see animals prowling by night – Fuengirola is one of a small number of zoos worldwide to open its doors to this twilight world.

The fragility of natural ecosystems and the impact we humans have on them is something that we are all aware of and the zoo gives us a great chance to educate youngsters about how important it is to protect endangered species and the environment. But this is education with a capital F for fun, for all the family. There is plenty to enjoy, somewhere to eat and the zoo is also wheelchair and pushchair friendly. It’s just a short trip away for guests at CLC Club La Costa World on the Costa del Sol and a visit will leave a powerful holiday memory.

If you plan to visit the Bioparc, it is open every day of the year from 10am, the closing time varies by season, and the ticket office starts at 9am (you can also buy online). The location is a 5-minute walk from the train and bus stations, or exit 208 from the coastal highway. The address is Camilo José Cela 6-8, Fuengirola.

And if dolphins and sea lions are your thing, head further along the coast to Benalmádena to the Selwo Marina. It’s definitely another exciting must-visit to add to the family’s holiday itinerary. There are breathtaking shows and exhibitions featuring dolphins, sea lions, exotic birds and even snakes. You can meet the dolphins, swim with the sea lions and visit the penguins. Just remember to pack swimming costumes if you want to get up close and personal. Selwo is closed throughout February and certain weeks in Nov/Dec/Jan but also stays open until midnight from mid July, until the end of August. Check website for further information.