Learn everything there is to know about Loro Parque in this review, and why you should visit it next time you go to Tenerife, in the Canary Islands.
Loro Park in Tenerife
On 28 May 2016, the world lost another gorilla, when a kid fell into its enclosure at Cincinnati Zoo. People were outraged and wanted to point fingers. Who was to blame? The dopey mother or the zoo with dodgy security? Pretty soon there was a roaring debate in the UK as to whether animals should even be kept in captivity in the first place.
Recently I visited another zoo and witnessed two orangutans in adjacent cages staring at each other forlornly. What separated them were iron bars but they attempted to get as close to each other as possible yet accepted defeat. It’s easy to understand how an image like that can tug at the heart strings and make just about any person want to pump his fist in outrage to the concept of keeping a wild animal in captivity.
Loro Parque started off in 1972 as a refuge for 150 parrots putting up Europe’s first Parrot Show. Over the past 44 years its population exploded to over 4000 with about 350 species, making it the world’s largest diverse collection of parrots.
What I love about Loro Park is that it’s essentially a mini-ecosystem. As you walk around the zoo you’ll immediately notice that the place is in absolute pristine condition. With blue sky, warm weather, neatly trimmed lawns and foliage nobody can complain but there is much more than meets the eye.
While all the plants in the zoo might appear to simply be there for visual appeal, they serve a far bigger function than meets the eye. Since the environment in Tenerife is perfect for so many variety of plants, they grow in abundance, including gum trees. The following are readily available in the zoo:
- Manna (Eucalyptus viminalis)
- Lemon Scented (Corymbia citriodora)
- Blue Gums (Eucalyptus Globulus)
- Silver Leaf Stringy Bark (Eucalyptus Alligatrix)
- Red Gums (Eucalyptus camaldulensis)
- Iron Bark (Eucalyptus sideroxylon)
I don’t know how this happened, but somehow society has brainwashed us into thinking we can get away with feeding parrots and other pet birds a staple diet of seeds. Perhaps throw in a piece of fruit or two if they’ve been particularly good birds. No wonder so many animals die in pet lovers’ care or start plucking out their feathers, or simply just get ill.
If you want your birds to be happy and in peak condition, you need to educate yourself. Basically, you need to supply them with the types of food they will eat in the wild. With the birds requiring varied diet from multiple food sources, this is no small feat.
Numerous parts of the Eucalyptus trees – flowers, buds, gum nuts, bark, leaves and branches – are fed to the birds, which are a vital part of the birds’ natural diet. Chilli plants are dotted around the whole zoo and the fruit are actually fed to the animals. Fun fact: did you know that parrots have no tastebuds? They eat these with chilli peppers with utter glee.
Another example is the ginger flower plant, pictured below. These are fed to the birds, lorikeets, gorillas and chimps. The ginger root is also consumed by the animals. Just like humans, animals enjoy the multitude of benefits of ginger, which includes the following properties:
- anti-parasitic effect, and more
The birds recognise food items from a distance and never have I seen birds demolish flowers with such gusto!
If you are tempted to nick a fruit from Loro Parque, then be warned – everything is covered with pepper spray. The latter acts as a natural pesticide because the zoo wants to stay in tune with nature, steering clear from using chemicals wherever possible.
Another great example of how Loro Parque is constantly striving got excellency is the upgrading of the flamingos’ habitat.
I first visited Tenerife in 2016 and this is what it looked like.
In 2019, this is the same location, which was my third visit. The difference? The zoo planted natural plants in the water and uses no chlorinated water.
The Animal Embassy is based in African huts on site where the breeding of parrots take place. Although parrots make some of the best parents in the world, sometimes nature fails and this is where humans take over. Through the glass windows baby parrots at each growth stage can be observed.
Loro Parque Foundation is funded solely by Loro Park. The organisation plays a pivotal role in able to breed up to 1500 birds annually thus sustaining endangered species and supporting numerous conservation projects around the world such as working with the Brazilian government to recuperate two rare species of blue macaws.
Loro Parque Animals
Quick tip: arrive early to make the most of your visit to see all the animals because there is plenty to see and do! Below is a watered down list to give you an idea of which animals to expect on your visit.
Chimps, dolphins, gorillas, jaguars, lions, hippos, sea lions, marmosets, otters, killer whales, anteater, sloths, meerkats, tiger, red pandas and capybaras
Flamingos, cranes, parrots, penguins and swans
Jellyfish, Koi and there’s a whole Aquarium for you to explore!
Alligators, Iguanas and Tortoises
At Katandra Treetops colourful birds from Australia and Asia can be observed who have no qualms posing for having their pictures taken whether sitting in a tree or eating. Parrots aren’t the only birds to be found at the zoo. Chilean Flamingos and Crowned Cranes walk about freely.
Time passes extremely quickly and the onslaught of information can be overwhelming at times. Little ones can unwind at Kinderlandia and there are seven eateries to choose from.
Loro Park Shows
The Loro Show is where parrots fly over and interact with the audience, just showing off exactly how clever these animals are with their mathematical skills and cheeky humour.
There are seven orcas at Orca Ocean who perform, even a deaf one, called Morgan, who receives guidance through special hand and light signals. They regularly have a whale of a time utterly soaking members of the audience with their vigorous splashing.
The Sea Lions are little show-offs and when they’re not balancing balls on their noses they are performing CPR on drowned staff.
If you love sea mammals you’re in for a treat. A lot of people are and the theatres are packed sardine-style at every show. Educational tidbits are fed to the crowd, from how to look after stranded dolphins to fun facts. It is amazing to see what these animals are capable of.
Atlantic Puffins can be seen swimming in pristine conditions and kids can try to spot Mumble from Happy Feet at the Planet Penguin exhibit.
When it comes to water, Loro Parque certainly doesn’t shy away from it. There is a special water filtration system in place that ensures the animals enjoy water that’s much cleaner than water fit for human consumption. Numerous displays of turtles, a plethora of fish species, sharks and jelly fish can be gawked at at The Aquarium and Aqua Viva.
In peak season, Loro Parque can get busy. By the way, that’s an understatement. If you’re seriously stuffed for time and need to prioritise your visit, here are the shows in my order of preference:
- Orca Ocean
- Sea Lions
- Planet Penguin
- Loro Show
And so we arrive at the Gorilla enclosure. There is no way that a kid will fall in here or anywhere else for that matter. Up close views of the animals can be enjoyed thanks to large glass windows and the gorillas appear to be qualified yoga instructors.
Which brings me back to the original debate. Should wild animals be kept in captivity? No. Yet, those who have emotional outcries with pitch forks angrily poking the air rarely offer any solutions. What is the alternative? Let the animals free? Just exactly how long will these animals survive in the wild with the scary rate deforestation and illegal hunting taking place?
This settles the argument for me. It comes down to whether zoos do more harm than good or vice versa. With the high quality of care these animals receive from leading scientists around the world I know where my vote goes. The best you can do is support institutions such as Loro Parque and increase awareness to those around you in order to only support businesses who do the environment good. Only then may these animals one day roam free again…
In 0AC 200 million people inhabited the earth. By the 18th century, the population blew up to 1 billion. In 1900, 2 billion. 2000…. 6 billion. In a mere 11 years the human population added another 1 billion to its already burgeoning size. With the human population growing exponentially, what are the implications for life on this planet?
At the moment, 50% of the world’s population lives in cities. In 30 years the number will go up to 85%.
Deforestation continues to take place at an alarming rate. Before man started to “leave his mark” on Earth, 60 million km2 , which equates to 44%, of the world’s surface hosted forests. By the year 2050, only 22% would be left, i.e. 50% of forests would have been destroyed.
For every hectare of tropical forest, an average of 704 animals can be found. Do the sums. No wonder numerous animal and plant species go extinct on a daily basis.
These are but a fraction of the animals that have gone extinct since the 1800’s.
Next on the hit list is elephants. In 1900, 10 million of these magnificent creatures roamed in the wild, now a stark 600 000 are left.
Dolphins are snuffing it big time as well. Fishing nets and equipment kill 300 000 of these mammals every year. Environmental pollution causes weakness and illnesses in cetaceans, especially orcas. Countries such as Japan, Peru, Russia and Canada appeared to have developed an appetite to eat them and thanks to the overfishing of oceans, sea life suffers as a consequence, due to the scarcity of food.
The list for how humans negatively impact the environment goes on an on.
If only there was a clear cut solution, but there isn’t. One obvious way to reduce the impact on the environment is through the reduction of the human population, although there is no humane way of going about. The second option is to slow down the speed of growth, which means China has had the right idea all along with its one child policy.
In this regard, Prince William and Kate having a third child is utterly irresponsible, considering they are public figures setting an example to the masses. Cue the further growth of the British nation popping out a throng of babies, called George, Charlotte or whatnot.
So while the number of different species are dwindling on a daily basis, zoos and aquariums are doing their best to conserve them with limited resources. Granted, not all zoos are created equal so it’s important to support the good ones. The latter safeguard the genetic reserves of endangered species, study the animals to obtain valuable information and raise awareness by educating visitors of the status quo.
You can read more about the Loro Parque Foundation and donate. All proceeds go towards nature.
Loro Parque Opening Times
Loro park is open from 8:30am to 6:45pm every day of the week.
Loro Park Showtimes
Here is the timetable for all the shows listed above. Just as the opening times, the showtimes are the same every day.
- Loro show: 10:25 – 11:50 – 13:30 – 15:00 – 16:00 – 17:30
- Orca Ocean: 11:45 – 14:00 – 16:45
- Sea Lions: 09:35 – 12:30 – 14:15 – 15:30 – 16:55
- Dolphinarium: 11:00 – 13:15 – 14:45 – 16:00
- Naturavision: 11:45 – 14:45 – 17:15
- Planet Penguin: open from 08:30 to 18:00
- Aquarium: open from 10:00 to 18:45
Where to eat
There are a few restaurants in Loro Parque but the best one is Casa Pepe. Those who automatically shun deep-fried junk food would be delighted with this restaurant which serves Canarian specialities tapas-style. Every single dish served was fabulous, from the classic Papas Arrugadas, Spanish Tortilla, Mussels, succulent Pork Skewers to the Goat’s Cheese with Mojo Sauces and Fried Banana dessert.
My favourites were the Red Peppers Stuffed with Seafood and Spicy Octopus, simply because they’re so unusual. A kids’ menu is available so even the greatest of fusspots, i.e. my daughter, found something to enjoy.
Where to stay
While there are numerous hotels in the area, Hotel Botanico is simply the best. It is about a 10 minute drive away.
Parking at Loro Parque
Ample space is available at the zoo – surface space as well as two levels underground. The price is €4 Euros per day.
Loro Parque Tickets
Prices start at €38 per adult and €26 per child. There are different special offers where you can get reasonable discount though. The Twin Ticket – where you can visit Loro Parque as well as Siam Park – is a popular option.
Loro Parque Address
Av. Loro Parque, s/n,
Puerto de la Cruz
Santa Cruz de Tenerife
P.S. I was a guest of Loro Park.