Do you want to get to know some of the millions of species that inhabit our planet? Madrid Zoo Aquarium, Faunia park, Barcelona Zoo, Cabárceno Natural Park in Cantabria and the Oceanogràfic aquarium in Valencia are all waiting to help you discover the Earth’s wildlife. They are perfect for children, who will have a great time as they learn, while adults will encounter animals they’ve never seen before.
Madrid’s Zoo Aquarium and Faunia
The capital’s zoo is one of the oldest zoological parks in Spain. Located in the leafy Casa de Campo district, it’s the place for children to get to know gorillas, deer, giraffes and pandas up close, not to mention a whole range of other species of marine life, reptiles, amphibians and birds. The guides at the zoo are there to teach the visitors how to give nature the respect and care it deserves, as well as explaining the diversity of life.
* Giraffes at Madrid Zoo. / Photo: Madrid Zoo’s website.
What’s more, this spring brought a ‘Baby Boom’ to Madrid Zoo Aquarium and you can meet the newest additions to the family: a Western lowland gorilla, two giraffes, and the latest to be born, a baby bottlenose dolphin, who you can see in the following video.
Another of the options available in the capital is the nature park Faunia, which recreates hundreds of habitats. You’ll wonder whether you’re in Madrid or a tropical jungle, at a farm, or at the North Pole. Pelicans, flamingos, fish, birds, penguins, lynxes, bats, sloths… there’s a range of species you won’t be able to believe.
And now Faunia has a new challenge for you: facing up to Komodo Dragons, the biggest, most dangerous lizards on the planet. In the ‘Dragon Nursery’, you can meet two young dragons, which will one day grow to be three metres long and weigh 70 kg.
You can get your tickets here for the Zoo and Faunia [in Spanish].
And where better to stay than at the Vincci Vía 66 4* Madrid, in the heart of the capital. It’s just a few yards from Plaza España, close to the Príncipe Pío railway station, from where you can get the metro right to the zoo. The hotel’s theatre-inspired rooms, Bar Lounge and open-air terrace, with incredible views, are all waiting for you.
* Terrace at the hotel Vincci Vía 66 Madrid.
Did you know a hippopotamus’ canines grow its whole life? And that the Iberian Wolf can be distinguished from other wolves by the white marks on its upper lips?
These are just some of the facts you’ll discover at Barcelona Zoo, where entertainment and education go hand in hand. The zoo’s many highlights include Bornean orang-utans, Barbary macaques, sloths, gazelles… And what happens at night? There are in fact more animals out and about once darkness falls. As the birds go off to sleep, the bats, the hedgehogs and the frogs, amongst others, come out.
* Bornean orang-utan in Barcelona Zoo. / Photo: Barcelona Zoo website.
Just 10 minutes from Parc de la Ciutadella you’ll find the Vincci Gala 4* Barcelona. A unique, comfortable hotel in the city’s commercial district, which has its own nursery, so Mum and Dad can have some time off for sightseeing on their own. Las Ramblas and Plaza Cataluña are a stone’s throw from the hotel. And after a long day of tourism, you can sit back and sip something refreshing on the attractive terrace, or rest in your stylish room, which is welcoming and comfortable in equal measure, and where you’ll feel right at home.
* Room at the hotel Vincci Gala 4* Barcelona.
Cabárceno Natural Park, Cantabria
This is a zoological park with a difference, because the animals are mostly free to roam around. Cabárceno Natural Park is in the Pisueña Valley, just 15km from Santander, and there you can see bison, zebras, horses, ostriches, hyenas, deer, gorillas, lions, tigers and… rhinos! A baby rhinoceros was born just recently, why not come and meet it!
* Baby rhinoceros with its mother in the Cabárceno Natural Park, Santander. / Photo: Twitter, user: @iizquierdo.
If you’re visiting the park we’d recommend staying in Santander itself and making the most of the trip to see other tourist spots in the region. The Vincci Puertochico 4* Santander is in an unbeatable spot by the Puerto Chico marina, and you’ll be stunned by the views.
* Balcony of one of the rooms at the hotel Vincci Puertochico 4* Santander.
Several of the rooms have sea-views, and in the Bar Lounge you can sample tapas based on the local cuisine. Close to the hotel you’ll find the Festival Palace of Cantabria, the Cantabrian Maritime Museum and the ‘Prince Philip’ High Performance Yachting centre.
Oceanogràfic aquarium, Valencia
Our final destination is Valencia, and the largest aquarium in Europe, where you can walk amidst the oceans. You’ll discover 45,000 animals, from over 500 different species. You can dance with the dolphins or play with the penguins, and you can also visit the other exhibitions in the City of Arts and Sciences complex, where the aquarium is housed.
*L’Oceanogràfic, Valencia. / Photo: www.oceanograficvalencia.com
The Vincci Lys 4* Valencia is right in the centre of the city, just a few minutes from the train station and the town hall, and handy for both sightseeing and a wander round the shops. You can explore La Malvarrosa beach, or try a delicious horchata tigernut drink on the seafront promenade. Vincci Lys 4* Valencia is as proud of the elegance of its rooms as it is of their level of comfort. Why not sit at one of the tables in the Bar Mikalet and enjoy one of our cocktails as you unwind.
Hotel Vincci Lys 4* Valencia, Valencia.