Little A really loves sharks, so when are traveling we usually try to find somewhere where she can see them. Well, at least something that a 2-year-old would think is a shark. Tenerife was no exception. After our visit to Mount Teide, we continued down to the northern side of the island to the town of Puerto de la Cruz. Here the sun was shining and Little A and I went to explore Loro Parque while Susann got some time to relax outside.
Loro Parque was once a park with only parrots. The word loro is Spanish for a parrot. The park has grown into one of the largest tourist attractions on Tenerife. The parrots are still everywhere and they are an important part of the park. However, nowadays they now have to share the space with penguins, tigers, killer whales and a lot more.
There is actually a limit to the number of photos from the visit. My concentration was instead on Little A’s experience. To be fair, it is not the most photo-friendly zoo. You end up taking most photos either through a glass window or with big crowds around you. Add to that the fact that the animals have several places to hide.
Arriving at Loro Parque
My biggest worry was that it would be hard to find a parking spot as there is not much space around the park. Luckily it turned out that the park itself had its own parking lot with parking for a small fee.
All three of us had lunch outside of the park before Little A and I entered. Loro Parque is located on the outskirt of Puerto de la Cruz. However, the area has several large hotels and it was easy to find a small restaurant.
Looking for the Mammals
It was a hot day and we did probably arrive at a bad time to see any action. The tigers, jaguars and even the gorillas were all resting in the shadows. That resulted in a hard time for Little A to see them and she was probably wondering why we were walking around looking at green trees. Fortunately, one lone gorilla was sitting close to a viewing point. So in the end, Little A had the chance to see one.
We have been to a few zoos in the past and I do believe that it is smart to only have a few mammal species. This is what Loro Parque does. But for some reason, I just had the feeling that the animals had little space. It would be interesting to see a comparison with Kolmården Wildlife Park in Sweden. It feels like the animals there have more space, but it could also be the layout that tricks the visitor.
Instead of the mammals, I decided to bring Little A to the parts that she would enjoy the most.
Loro Parque: Planet Penguin
Susann has always liked penguins and we actually saw them in the wild at Boulder’s Beach in South Africa a few years back. That time it was the African penguin that we saw. This time Little A saw four other species of penguin, the gentoo penguin, the king penguin, the rockhopper penguin, and the chinstrap penguin.
Little A really enjoyed watching the smaller penguins swim around in the water. It was possible to see that these were new animals for her as she didn’t really know how to act when seeing them.
Loro Parque: Orca Ocean
There are a lot of opinions in regards to this part of Loro Parque and I will not stray into them at this time. One thing is for sure, the orca or killer whale is an amazing creature.
Loro Parque has a large stadium at which their orcas are performing to the spectators. Upon arriving with Little A we were recommended to take the seats higher up. The first eight rows were the splash zone and yes, there would have been a great risk of getting wet if seated there.
Little A was ecstatic when seeing the orcas – or the “baby sharks” as she called them. But sitting still for one show was enough, so we skipped the dolphins located just next door.
Loro Parque: Kinderlandia
How to top seeing a baby shark? A two-year-old is luckily someone that is easy to redirect to a new activity. Little A had probably already forgotten the orcas once we reached Kinderlandia. It took her less than a second to notice that there was face painting. So, of course, she ran to the line and started queuing. I was rather surprised that she understood the concept of waiting in line and especially that she knew where the queue was.
It turned out that they painted from a specific list of choices – a shark was not on it. So, Little A had to settle with a whale – not that she knew the difference. She was more than happy with her baby shark paintings – one on her forehead and one her cheek. She was so proud of these paintings that they were eventually smeared all over her face.
Loro Parque: Aquarium
Little A eventually started to show signs of getting tired. A full-day visit to the park would have required a break for a nap. As we had decided for a shorter visit we had to prioritize. I thought that Little A might enjoy the aquarium more than the many parrots.
Unfortunately, the aquarium was crowded. Perhaps this was due to the fact that many mammals were resting in the shadows and hard to see? It was certainly hard to get a good look when walking through the tunnel in the middle of the shark tank. It was also difficult to see anything because of all the fingerprints from other kids (and probably adults). But it was fun to see Little A ecstatic once more – it happened so many times on one single day and mostly due to seeing what she believed to be sharks.
Heading Back to El Médano
After the aquarium, we walked back to the entrance and met up with Susann. Little A had so much she wanted to tell her, but her vocabulary is still too limited to really succeed. Loro Parque turned out to be a perfect stop after Mount Teide and half a day was enough when visiting with a 2-year-old. Luckily we did not have to go across Mount Teide on the way “home” to El Médano, but could drive the long (but faster) route around.