We’d got to around the 6th day of our holiday on the Costa Del Sol and I was looking for things to do. The kids were loving just jumping in and out the pool. Unfortunately I needed to find stuff to do. After a walk to the nearby shops to pick up an english newspaper, I spotted a poster for Selwo Marina in Benalmadena. Right! Lets go tomorrow!
Selwo Marina, Benalmadena
Selwo Marina is located in the centre of Benalmadena. When driving to here you will very quickly pick up lots of road signs pointing you in the right direction. You will also find that they have a large car park nearby that fills up around noon. Parking all day is only 1 Euro.
Imogen and Abigail haven’t been to a marine park like this before, so they didn’t know what to expect. Cat and myself have been to places like Sea World in Orlando years ago, so had a little concept of what would be there.
The first thing that hit me was that Selwo Marina is located in the centre of Benalmadena! I know I’ve said this twice, but it seemed a strange location to put it where the surrounding area is built up. It seems to be penned in on all sides and there is probably no room to expand in the future. That being said it is bigger that it appears from the outside.
Selwo is split into 4 main areas, Las Antillas (Dolphins and Sea Lions), La Hondonada (exotic birds), Isla de Hielo (Penguins) and Amazonia (reptiles and Aligators). There are more settings around the area too, but they seem to be smaller exhibits. Finally in the middle is a cafe / fast food takeaway and a children’s play area. And this is where we started off. A quick Coffee and an exploration of the park map / show times set us up for the day. I’ll quickly touch on the fact that we were visiting in the middle of a heat wave. Our resort was cooking out at around 37C, which was very sticky. Here in the park most of the attractions have an element of covered protection or air misters to cool you down. So despite the heat we didn’t feel frazzled.
Exotic Bird Show
Our first exhibition show was the exotic birds. What ever you have seen from a holiday bird show, this is not that. There are no jigsaw puzzles for parrots, bikes for budgies or maracas for macaws. It seems that the education element has over powered the mindless entertainment. Which I am pleased to see is the focus.
As the host entered the stage area a green macaw flew across the theatre. Imogen ducked, muttering I hate birds. Abigail sat and watched in awe as they swooped in, fed and left. There was a surprise guest on stage in the form of an armadillo. I think it’s the first time I’ve seen one live. Finally after 15 minutes of bird education, it was time for guests to have a photo with a parrot on their shoulders. As the guy walked from person to person, I’ve not seen Imogen and Abigail move as quick to climb into my T-Shirt. The photo is not compulsory and we wouldn’t force it upon the girls either.
The penguins are located in a refrigerated exhibit. With fresh ice shavings being stacked up to replenish the landscape. We noticed how they seemed to colonise. Although there were 4 different types of penguins in here, they seemed to stay in their own groups. King Penguins stayed mainly on the left side of the Island, Macaroni ones seemed to enjoy diving into the pool while Gentoo penguins stood on the right.
All of the penguins have have come from zoos through out Europe. Some of the penguins were sitting on eggs, which meant that the glass screen couldn’t be cleaned at this time.
This exhibit freaked the kids out a little bit at first. Between certain times of the day your allowed to roam free amongst a collection of animals and bird from Southern Asia. Most of the birds sit high up in the tree branches to stay out of your way. As did the white faced Saki (small primates), but hiding amongst the shrubbery was a little tiny Muntjac. If your not sure what this is, imagine Bambi as a baby and your pretty close to the picture.
Dolphins and Sea Lions
Selwo is also home to a “delphinarium” which hosts dolphin demonstrations. As with the Birds the focus is on education rather than jumping through hoops, balancing balls and launching a trainer into the air. The dolphins run through a short routine of actions, including some synchronised jumps.
Imogen and Abigail’s favourite part was when the audience was invited down to the front to get splashed by a dolphin! The Costa Del Sol was experiencing a heat wave so it was welcomed by many.
Selwo Marina, Benalmadena Review
Selwo Marina has a lot to offer for a day out. We arrived around 10 am and were there till after 2pm. We would have possibly hung around longer, but the kids were so hot and we’d seen the main features. At lunch time we tried out the fast food canteen, which served up burgers and pizza. Both of which were cooked fresh and very tasty. In fact I’d possibly say it was the best burger we had in Spain.
Despite all the exhibits and animals, mammals and birds to see, the kids still wanted to just play in the park.
The area is known for it’s sun, but the extra from the heatwave was topping us off.
At 20 euros for an adult and 15 euros for a child, I felt that the entry price was very reasonable. I felt like I had value for money. The staff were very helpful and most of them spoke english and were able to help us. If I was heading back to this area with the kids, we’d probably return again to see the park. Mainly due to it being something a little bit different to anything else we’ve done. Spain may be full of beautiful, picturesque, white wall villages which is great for sight seeing adults. Our kids wanted a little more excitement in a day trip, which Selwo managed to attain for half a day. Nothing would really compare to 10 hours of jumping into a swimming pool continuously, at the resort for them anyway!
For more details about Selwo Marina, visit http://selwomarina.es/en