Oasis Park Fuerteventura Spain
While you might want nothing more than to kick back and top up your tan on one of Fuerteventura's fantastic beaches, if you're travelling with children, you might find they want something a little more active to do. A day out at the Oasis Park Fuerteventura is a real family day out; not only will your kids be entertained and entranced, but you'll find it a fantastic family experience. Fuerteventura Oasis Park is the only zoo on the island and the only zoo in the Canaries that acts as home to hippos and elephants. However, there's much more than that to enjoy: the park houses more than 3000 animals from over 250 different species! A perfect way to enjoy some dynamic downtime with your loved ones.
Get me to the Park!Getting to Oasis Park Fuerteventura is easy: it operates a fleet of free buses that travel from Jandia, Costa Calma, Equinzo, Corralejo, Las Playitas and Caleta de Fuste. Because the attraction is so popular, most of the hotels have timetables, so you can check out exactly where to catch a bus from, and at the time that's most convenient to you. The buses themselves are more like coaches: comfortable and air-conditioned and the journey takes you along parts of the coast and through some of the island's spectacular deserts.
The Garden Next DoorThe entry-fee to the park also covers the cost of entry to the neighbouring botanical gardens. While, on the face of it, this might not sound like something for children, the Jardin Botanico is a superb experience for everyone. Covering more than 30 acres of volcanic rock, the park features plants that don't need much water, so you can expect a startling array of succulents and an extensive range of cacti, from the towering and spiky, to the small and furry. On top of the flora, the gardens host aerobatic displays, featuring birds of prey and you'll see plenty of lizards basking on stones or skittering away into the arid undergrowth. With strategically-situated cafés and places to buy refreshments, the Jardin Botanico is as much a day out as the Oasis Park Fuerteventura.
Exploring the Oasis ParkThe park itself is spacious and packed with greenery, which is a welcome contrast to the dry, desert-like backdrop. You'll see flamingos, coatis and meerkats in compounds around the walkways. For a taste of nearby Africa, head over to the Africa Safari Zone, which is where the hippos, elephants, giraffe and zebras hang out. There's even an interactive aviary, which you can walk through, while rainbow-coloured, tropical birds flutter overhead. The park often has new arrivals so, if you time your visit right, you might see a few baby animals taking their first steps. However, the real stars of this expansive show are the parrots, eagles, owls and other birds of prey that perform on a daily basis. Shows are staggered throughout the day, to ensure that the animals don't get tired out and the programme you get on entry will tell you where what's happening and when. Should you need a break from exploring the enclosures and shows, the three on-site restaurants offer a range of tasty food, so take your time, refuel and enjoy a full day of fun as you wander through the park, spotting wildlife as you go.
Optional Extras for a Magical DayIf all that wasn't enough, the Oasis Park Fuerteventura also offers optional extras, in the form of animal encounters. For a small fee, you can get up-close-and-personal with crocodiles, put pythons around your neck, and even make friends with marmosets! These are only a few of the encounters available and are an exciting and informative way for visitors of all ages to learn something about these amazing animals. If you feel your little ones are too young for encounters of this sort, you'll find a fabulous Kid's Farm, where you can introduce your kids to a variety of more-familiar animals, including rabbits, guinea-pigs, tortoises, ponies, cows, ducks and even emus! To relieve tired little legs, children's pull-along carts can be hired near the entrance.
Getting the HumpWith so much to see, you might be worried that your feet might not stand that strain! Don't worry: the Fuerteventura Oasis Park has thought of everything, with a caravan of camels that'll carry you around the outskirts of the park. Safely saddled up and guided by expert guides, animal-handlers and some of the park's biologists, you can either take a short trip around the park or, if you're feeling a little more Lawrence of Arabia about things, there are trips to the top of a nearby mountain. If you decide to head to the peak you'll be rewarded with spectacular view of the park, the gardens and the surrounding lunar-style landscape. Once you've made your way back down, the experience is completed with a delicious buffet lunch.
Tips to Enjoy your VisitThe park is large and there's a lot to see and do. Because of the amount of walking (or pulling children in carts along) involved, it's worth wearing comfortable shoes and taking water with you, just to see you through until it's time to hit one of the restaurants or cafés. Many of the experiences do cost a little bit extra, but all the money paid by tourists goes towards financing the care of the plants and animals that live there. Oasis Park Fuerteventura has more in common with a wildlife reserve than a zoo and the health, happiness, and overall condition is obvious from the moment you step inside. At the end of the day, it's a simple matter of catching the shuttle bus back to your hotel to make sure your day is fun-packed and hassle-free from start to finish. Return trips are timetabled and there are well-signposted meeting points from where to catch your ride home. Tickets for the Fuerteventura Oasis Park can be purchased in advance online, at your hotel, or on the day at the gate. One of the most popular, exciting and entertaining attractions on the island, a day out at the park is ideal for those with little ones in tow.