Zoomarine, Near Albufeira, the Algarve, Portugal
Snoozing in the heat of the day
What is Zoomarine?
Zoomarine is a type of theme park. It plays a part in marine conservation and has events throughout the day. Zoomarine, in the Algarve, includes a small funfair, a museum, a marine aquarium, outdoor bathing pools with adjoining area, cafes, green areas, bird displays, reptiles, dolphin shows and more.
There is a Zoomarine in Portugal and in Italy. Zoomarine Portugal is a short coach journey outside of Albufeira on Portugal's southern coast, The Algarve. Zoomarine does have a comprehensive web site which will offer you a glimpse of what is available, current prices and the like.
You can book on line before you travel if you wish. There are special rates for dolphin interaction, school parties, birthdays and special events.
I would say that Zoomarine has something for everyone. When we visited there were middle aged couple, like us, families, young couples, singles and school parties.
Zoomarine turned out to be one of favourite things about our visit to the Algarve and Hubby and I loved it.
My memories on film
We toyed with the idea of visiting Zoomarine a few days before we actually booked. Neither Hubby nor I are totally comfortable with Zoos and places which seem to exploit wildlife. However, we finally took the plunge and boy were we glad that we did.
We booked our visit through our hotel, at their reception. I would advise you to shop around instead though as this turned out to be the most expensive option. The coach was to pick us up near the Brisa Sol Hotel, in Albufeira, at the town train pick up point. This was good as it was close to our accommodation.
The coach was a little late, and at one point we thought we had missed it, but the driver had been picking up others from in and around Albufeira. Bear this in mind if you book this excursion.
After a short journey we arrived at Zoomarine and could see that there were plenty of other visitors The coach and car park was full. We bustled through the turnstiles and we were in.
The leaflet includes a map of the area and it is as well to read it. Many of the actual displays are timed quite close. If you simply wander around you may find that you miss something which you really wanted to see.
At set times throughout the day there is, for example:-
- Seal feeding
- Dolphin display
- Indoor bird show.
- Outdoor bird event
- A sort of pantomime including the seals and staff playing pirates. This one is fun for old and young alike. Sit too near to the front though and expect to get wet.
- A 4D film show
Although we did not see everything we managed to see what we wanted to. Of course this also means that I will have to return someday to see what I missed.
For me the highlight was the dolphin show. These lovely creatures were such fun to watch and, with their trainers, performed brilliantly. We actually saw this show twice.
Around the site there are cafes, toilet facilities some gift shops near the entrance and the pools, fun rides and more.
Hubby and I enjoyed the small log ride which soaked us through. However it is only a short ride but you have to queue for ages to get on board.
The museum tent was a little boring, mainly because nothing was written in English. The exhibits were OK to look at but as nothing made any sense our visit here was brief.
The bird shows include one in a tent with cheeky parrots and the like and then an outdoor one which has birds of prey. Both were excellent.
The aquarium tent was fascinating but then hubby and I love the sea and sea creatures.
We sat on the grass near the pools to enjoy our picnic lunch and soak up some sun.
General hints and tips
- Once you are inside everything except food, drink and the gift shops is free.
- Take swimwear and towels with you as the outdoor pools are lovely.
- Make sure that you have sunscreen, a hat and something to cover up, with you, as Zoomarine does get hot. When you are strolling around you will find that there is little shade from the hot sun.
- The cafe lunches are basic. Take a packed lunch with you for a better option.
- Don't forget your camera, with enough film or memory and batteries for the day.
- Take some bottled water with you.
The weather when we visited in early September was hot and sunny. The sky was its deepest blue which completed our perfect day.