We had a few ideas of things we wanted to do when we were on holiday in the Algarve but some places we couldn’t escape at all. Everywhere we went we were bombarded by Zoomarine ads, fliers, billboards, photos of dolphins and people in life jackets hugging them. We’d decided we’d give the park a go but the tickets were expensive, so we hoped it was worth it.
We bought our Zoomarine tickets on the gate and paid €19 per child (Our three year old was free since she’s under 1 metre tall) and €29 per adult. Based on the price alone we had very high expectations. We found out later that we could have saved money by booking online beforehand, and by bringing one of the coupons that we had seen loads of places but we’d thought they were just brochures, doh.
We arrived on a very hot day, roasting in fact. We were worried. We need not have been.
We drove to Zoomarine from Praia da Rocha in our rental car, there’s lots of free parking available.
What’s it all about?
We knew there were waterslides and dolphins from the brochures, but there is so much more on offer in Zoomarine. In fact there is so much going on in that it’s very hard to cover in one day (more on that later).
The Dolphin Show was our highlight, it was fascinating to watch and had a lovely eco-friendly message too.
Our next favourite was the Seal and Sealion show, and we especially loved hanging out watching the sealions afterwards, they’re real characters
We had a soft spot for the tropical birds show as it was the first one that we saw, and was very professionally done.
The pirate acrobatic show was a lot of fun and laughs and even featured Irish dancing.
The birds of prey show was our least favourite, it was a bit, well, boring compared to the others.
The Aquarium is fabulous, dimly lit with the displays easily accessible and the fish easy to find. There’s a touch pool and Ray petting and you can feed this fish at certain times for a small extra charge.
Water and Amusements
There’s a big “flume” slide, one that you go on sleds on (I went on this with Cathal), a pool with wave machine, a regular pool, a water playground and a splashpad, there’s something for all ages. Laoise loved the water playground and spent ages running between it and the splashpad, while the boys preferred the wave pool.
There are fairground attractions too- a mini rollercoaster, carousel, a ferris wheel, a pirate boat ride and a small train. The ferris wheel was closed one of the days that we were there so it was the only ride that we didn’t try.
The only food we bought on site was rolls in the cafe next to the sea lion show which were ok but expensive.
The food court was busy but seemed varied, we had intended to eat there before we left on the second day but it had closed by the time we were leaving, they seem to close pretty early.
The Calippo slushies are excellent to cool down and you can buy a small sized one which is unusual, and they’re not too expensive.
Zoomarine is very buggy and wheelchair friendly, there are plenty of toilet facilities and everything is spotlessly clean
Lockers are available to rent, very handy when you’re checking out the shows not to have to lug your picnic around.
Cosy coupe type buggies are available to rent.
There are always toilets and water vending machines nearby! This was a big relief for us with a just turned three year old.
We rented a sun umbrella for €3 at the pool area and kept our bags with towels etc under it.
Get the timetable on the way in to plan your shows, depending on the season some shows might only happen once a day.
We were there in July and there was no issues at all with queuing or the place being overcrowded. We were told that Saturdays are a quieter day to go as it’s package holiday “changeover day” and we certainly found it quieter.
What should I wear?
We dressed for the beach in swimwear and t-shirts and brought a change of clothes for travelling home.
Would we recommend it?
Nearly a year later Zoomarine is mentioned regularly in our house, it was one of the highlights of our Portugal trip. It’s an expensive day out but really worthwhile, and there’s an offer that you can upgrade your one day ticket for a bracelet to get you in a 2nd day within 10 days for only €9.50 (1 Day ticket is €29 for adults and a 2 day bracelet is €37). More information on Zoomarine.pt
If you liked this you might enjoy reading more about our family holiday to the Algarve here