5 European zoos you need to visit

Among the many typical holiday attractions, a trip to the zoo can be the ultimate crowd-pleasing activity.

Europe is home to some of the best zoos in the world where you can see a wealth of weird and wonderful animals. There are also plenty of shows, restaurants and, in some cases, water parks to keep everyone entertained. Since its National Zoo Lovers Day in April, here are our pick of the best zoos you need to visit on your next holiday.

Loro Parque – Puerto de la Cruz, Tenerife

Loro Parque is among the most popular attractions in Tenerife. Translated as ‘parrot park’, visitors can be wowed by dolphin shows and orca performances while there are plenty of other animals for everyone to see.

The park is home to the largest collection of parrots in the world, with over 350 species, while there are frolicking penguins, a Lion Kingdom, sea lions, gorillas, tigers, chimps and even sharks. Among the highlights of this entertainment and conservation park is the underground aquarium where you can walk through the colourful marine life.

Zoomarine – Algarve, Portugal

Watch entertaining shows, whizz down exhilarating water slides and learn all about marine conservation at Zoomarine. A short drive from Albufeira, the park is a fun-filled way to spend the day and provides valuable education about life underneath the ocean.

There is so much to do here with a mini rollercoaster and large rocking pirate ship to get the adrenaline going. Kids and grown-ups alike will love Zoomarine Beach where you can take on the river rapids, the young ones can explore pirate treasure chests and the adults can top up their tan by the pool.

Zoomarine is home to a rehabilitation centre where staff nurse marine life back to health and to release back into the wild.

Palmitos Park – Maspalomas, Gran Canaria

Amid the dramatic landscape of Gran Canaria, Palmitos Park offers an oasis of fun. It is one of the must-see attractions on the island; it is a beautiful scene of palm trees, cacti gardens and home to over 200 species of birds including toucans, hornbills and flamingos.

Fill your day watching the sights and sounds of birds of prey demonstrations, marvel at the hilarious parrots riding bicycles and doing jigsaws and see the popular dolphin shows. You can even go on a relaxing walk through Cactus Garden and the see the beautiful flowers of Orchid House, the biggest orchid collection in the Canary Islands.

Barcelona Zoo – Barcelona, Spain

Once you’ve taken in the Sagrada Familia, had tapas in the Gothic Quarter, shopped until you’ve dropped on La Rambla and watch Lionel Messi strut his stuff at the Nou Camp, its time to see Barcelona’s world-class zoo.

Set inside the Parc de la Ciutadella, it first opened its doors in 1892 and is famed for being home as the world’s only known albino gorilla. Snowflake sadly passed away in 2003 but you can see seals, tropical birds, tigers, a huge amount of tropical birds and, of course, the obligatory dolphin show.

You can also see the beautiful Joan Roig i Solé sculpture, ‘La Dama del Paraigües’, a beloved symbol for the Barcelona people.

Zoo La Palmyre – Les Mathes, France

Set among the forests and the dunes of La Palmyre is one of the most charming zoos in France. Famed for its polar bear enclosure, you can say hello to Lale and Noordje as these magnificent animals splash around in the outdoor setting which recreates an iceberg.

There are over 1,600 mammals, birds and reptiles that call the 18-hectare pine forest home including a herd of elephants that have recently be reunited. There are a number of shows and talks held throughout the day while you can also learn about the research and education that goes into protecting endangered species.

Make sure these zoos are on your itinerary with a holiday from Sunmaster. We have a range of All Inclusive, 5-star and city break packages just waiting to be snapped up. Head to www.sunmaster.co.uk/deal-finder and find the dream holiday for the animal lover in your life today.