Take the whole family on an adventure at Palmitos Park, a subtropical oasis that's bursting with incredible wildlife and gorgeous gardens. This is the biggest zoological park in the Canary Islands. You'll find it in the southern part of Gran Canaria, tucked away in a lush valley covered in palm trees, just a short drive from the coastal resort of Maspalomas.
Things to see and doA visit to Palmitos Park is the perfect place to get to know more about Gran Canaria's picturesque interior. From the moment you step through the gates of the park, you'll find yourself surrounded by beautiful scenery and amazing wildlife. It's a far cry from the usual blissed-out beaches, but a great way to see the natural beauty of the island.
See colourful birdsThe park is brimming with exotic birds, so expect to see plenty of colour flashing past you. There are around 1,500 birds in total, made up of around 200 species that include peacocks, flamingos, parrots, hummingbirds, toucans and many more. While you're wandering around the park, you'll see all kinds of colourful birds flying through the botanic gardens and splashing around in the ponds. There's also a glass house specially designed as a biodome for the tiny, jewel-like hummingbirds.
Visit the aquariumThere's plenty of life below the water, too, with some of the world's most fascinating salt water and fresh water fish on display. Your kids will love finding a real-life Nemo or clown fish, and there's plenty of other species too, including the surgeonfish (also known as a Tang) with its razor-sharp barbs. This is the biggest aquarium in the Canary Islands, housing many other rare and colourful species.
Explore the reptile areaAfter all that aquatic awesomeness, it's time to slither over to the reptile area. This is where you'll find a collection of giant lizards, including Komodo dragons measuring up to three metres and weighing up to 90kg. The Caiman Lakes are home to all kinds of cold-blooded critters including Californian turtles, spectacled caimans, and the Gran Canaria giant lizard, all living together in one place.
Head for the mammal zonePalmitos Park is also home to the Island of Primates, which is the biggest zoo anywhere in the Canary Islands. Here you'll discover a world of orangutans, gibbons and other distant relatives of us humans. Kids will love the opportunity to get to know the cheeky meerkats, too, as well as aardvarks, wallabies and talapoins.
Relax in the gardensAfter a busy day exploring, you're sure to be ready for a spot of relaxation. Make a beeline for the house of orchids, featuring all kinds of beautiful species. Then, make your way to the cactus garden, where you can gaze at hundreds of spiky species, some of which have grown over four metres high. Don't leave without stopping off at the magical House of Butterflies; this is the biggest venue of its kind in Europe and is home to hundreds of free-flying butterflies.
Grab a bite to eatWhen you're feeling a little peckish, head to one of the park's cafés, or enjoy a full meal at the restaurant, which serves everything from tasty grilled meats to salads and ice cream. The park also has a gift shop where you can find some quality souvenirs, ranging from themed stationery and toys to a souvenir DVD with the best photos of the park.
How to get thereIf you're coming from Maspalomas, you can drive to Palmitos Park in around 15 minutes (via the GC-503). From Playa del Inglés, it's around 25 minutes by car, or just under an hour from Las Palmas (both via the GC-1). Alternatively, it's pretty easy to get the bus, as there are frequent services running to and from Gran Canaria's main resorts.