Hola! My first post about terrific Tenerife is finally in front of you and it's entirely dedicated to April 18, a very exciting and educational day in Loro Parque. Loro Parque means "parrot park" in Spanish since it was initially planned as a parrot paradise or "parrots only" park. But today it's a whopping 13.5-ha zoo located on the outskirts of Puerto de la Cruz, and it houses a truly extensive and diverse reserve of animal and plant species.
Loro Parque was opened in 1972 on 1.3 ha with 150 parrots and today it is home to 4000 parrots from 350 species and subspecies, as well as many other animals and birds like red panda, white tiger, innumerable quantity of different penguins, a family of chimpanzees, good old suricates and many many more. Loro Parque's parrot collection is the largest in the whole wide world and makes the park one of the main references in the study and conservation of those beautiful creatures.
There even is a very special zone called the Baby Station that shows visitors the care of teeny-tiny baby parrots and other chicks hatched at the zoo. And believe me when I say it's definitely one of the most touching sights I've ever seen in my life. Just look at those half-naked, fragile, wonderful little miracles! They were my biggest favourites besides the huge penguin community and fascinating rays in the shark tunnel.
Loro Parque holds the largest indoor penguin exhibition in the world and the longest shark tunnel in Europe and those two were truly breathtaking. Real snow, a huge iceberg and hundreds of penguins (Chinstrap, Gentoo, Humboldt, King, Rockhopper...) were in front of us and through this penguin site I found out there were as many as 17 species of penguins worldwide. I can say I was fairly enraptured when I saw approximately 1/3 of all those different species at once. They're just truly awesome, aren't they? But the shark tunnel was fascinating as well because how many of us have seen a dangerous shark so closely, floating and swimming above our heads?
Solomons cockatoo (born 24.03.2016) and Eleonora cockatoo (born 27.03.2016)
What we didn't approve were the animal shows and we did not attend any. Orcas (or killer whales), sea lions, dolphins and parrots perform in shows throughout the day and maybe parrots enjoy performing but when you do some research about captive orcas the outcome is sad and scary - Wikipedia link. The captive orca attacks list from the previous link contains entirely three that happened in Loro Parque and unfortunately one young orca trainer died. After the research I added watching a 2013 American documentary called Blackfish (IMDb link) in my to-do list.
But all in all I still loved our Tenerife zoo experience and so did my husband. I was amazed again and again: when I saw all those wonderful penguins, the sweetest baby parrots and various fascinating sea creatures. Also adult parrots and other exotic birds were flying freely above our heads and around us in one special bird area. And what was unusual - there was no zoo smell at all. That was a first for us, after visiting four different zoos in Estonia, Finland, Latvia (see my post about it here) and Czech Republic (see my post here). Oh and I bought that sunny/silly 1€ cap because Puerto de la Cruz was a bit rainy at first.
Anyway, picking the best photos for today's post was a real challenge for me because I had to choose from more than 300 zoo pictures (my Olympus E-520 photos+the husband's action camera photos+Nokia Lumia 735 photos)! So I really hope you enjoyed the selection and my first Tenerife story in general. Oh and by the way, we both filmed quite a lot during our trip so there is a relatively strong possibility that eventually you're going to see some Tenerife videos through this blog. Let me know what you think about that and I'll see you already in the next post!