I was recently moaning about the crazy, unbelievable, I-don’t-know-how-families-can-afford-it entrance prices for theme parks (Aquavelis, Tivoliworld, Selwo etc) here in Malaga but I’d completely forgotten about the bioparc in Fuengirola and their yearly pass which is actually fantastic value if you intend going more than once.
The Pase Berde
If you’re on holidays for a week or two you’re probably not going to want to go to the zoo more than once but if you’re living here this is a real bargain. The Pase Berde is an annual pass to the bioparc so if you even go just twice you have saved a big chunk on the normal ticket price.
Normally for our family a day trip costs €60.80 – that’s €17.90 each for maw and paw, €12.50 each for JJ and Ray and Neevee goes free as she’s under 3. Not bad actually compared to other theme parks but you won’t get a whole day out of it – it’s quite small and with young children I’d say you’d manage 3-4 hours at most.
However if we go for the Pasa Berde it works out at €88 for the whole year. That’s just under €28 more than the day trip so definitely worth it. We got the pass before and got our mileage out of it, went 3 times over the year.
Getting the thing in to your hands is a bit of a production though, but then if you live in Spain you will be used to the non-simplicity of simple things 🙂
You buy it online (maybe you can buy it also on the door, I’m not sure) then you have to queue up in the Pase Berde line when you get to the bioparc. Be prepared, it moves pretty slowly. When it comes your turn you give them your confirmation number, they take portrait photos and create cards for each person – yup takes a bit of time – but then that’s it. Next time you visit you’re in the normal queue, you flash your card and you’re in.
And the Bioparc itself?
Even besides seeing the animals, it’s a pleasant place to hang out for a couple of hours. It’s beautifully landscaped with meandering paths and a wide variety of trees and foliage with lots of overhead coverage, essential at this time of year. It’s one street north of the centre of Fuengirola but once you’re through the door you forget you’re in the middle of a town.
I don’t know what the technical difference is between a “zoo” and a “bioparc” but I’m pretty sure someone used the phrase “a new concept in zoos” when they opened this place. There’s no bars, no cages, no wire fences.
The whole idea is to create a natural environment for the animals. Obviously they still need to be enclosed though; this is achieved via cleverly placed water features, varying levels, bridges and bamboo or wooden fences.
Plus there’s a big emphasis on conservation, reproduction of endangered species and education.
There are walkways that end at glass windows where you can discreetly observe the animals.
Some of these walkways go right under the ground so you can watch the action below the water level.
There’s an amazing manmade-to-scale Baobab tree that you can go inside. What…you can go inside the tree? A big child pleaser that one.
It’s used as a starting point for the lemur tour. Through the back door of the tree you enter the lemur enclosure. A guide leads you along a path and the lemurs rush to greet her and then curiously check her new friends out. They’re funny little showmen, leaping back and forth across the path loving the attention. Afterwards, when I asked my children what their favourite animal had been they said the lemur. Hardly the most interesting animal they saw all day but the fact that they had gotten so close to them left a lasting impression.
There’s a covered aviary area where everything is free – peacocks wander around, bats hang from the ceiling…
All these pictures are from our last visit in October by the way. I have lost all those I took on previous visits so I’m afraid what I have here isn’t representative of the animals. There’s also monkeys, orangutangs and my favourite – the silver-backed gorilla. He sits right up against the glass and gives you the most withering looks.
Loads of snakes.
There’s a great animal-themed play ground.
And a small ball park for the littlest ones.
The restaurant is handily situated beside it. I don’t think you’re allowed bring your own food but we always brought some bits and pieces, then bought chips and cold drinks in the cafe and ate at their tables with no problems.
Would I get the Pase Berde again?
Yup for sure. Ours ran out in March and I’ve missed it this summer. It was handy having a free day out in your back pocket when you’re getting cabin fever in the sweaty house. With the kids being older I think they’d get more out of it – they have more interest in animals now whereas before we’d spend a good chunk of our time at the play ground. They introduced a new animal a while back – a Kimodo dragon – which JJ really wants to see. Plus there’s stuff we missed out on like the summer night time tours and the daily bird shows which I’m told are excellent. Embarassingly we never quite managed to make it on time for these. I think I’ll get it again this autumn and then we’ll have it for all next summer.