Loro Parque (Spanish for “parrot park”) is a zoo located on the outskirts of Puerto de la Cruz on Tenerife. Since 1972 when it opened at the size of 13,000m2 with a mere 150 parrots it has grown to 300 species and sub-species, making 3,000 in total, (700 of which are located in the park) and a vast 135,000m2. This collection is claimed to be the largest in the world. Also, on the subject of records, the park has: Europe’s largest Dolphin show pool, the world’s largest indoor Penguin exhibition, the longest Shark Tunnel in Europe, the largest Thai village outside Thailand, and is the only place in Europe to feature an Orca Ocean.
The other creatures on display in the park are chimpanzees, sea lions, gorillas, marmosets, pelicans, iguanas alligators, flamingos, jaguars, giant tortoises, tigers, exotic fish, piranhas, sea horses, and various sharks. Shows in the park include sea lions (5 times a day), dolphins (4 times), parrots (The Loro Show – 6 times), nature vision (an indoor cinema playing a 20 minute long film – 9 times) and the Orca Show (3 times). Other attractions include the children’s playground “Kinderlandia”, Gambian Market, a parrot baby station, a huge parrot museum and many restaurants. For visitors interested in plants, there is a large orchid garden with very rare plants.
Currently, the owners of Loro Parque are planning the construction of another park in the South of the Island called “Siam Park”, which is a water park that will be the biggest in Europe. It was originally supposed to be finished in December 2006 but is now set to open in summer 2008.
The pre-title sequence (narrated by Stephen Fry) of the 2005 movie The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy was filmed at Loro Parque.
In February 2006, Loro Parque received four young orca; two males, Keto (born in 1995) and Tekoa (born in 2000), and two females, Kohana (2002) and Skyla (2004)) on loan from SeaWorld. They were subsequently purchased and now form part of the regular aquatic shows. Before coming to the park, animal trainers from Loro Parque visited SeaWorld many times, to get to know the animals, however,in current shows they do not enter the water, because reviewers say “They have not gotten to know the Whales well enough, they need to form a relationship before trusting them enough to brave going into the water with them.
The park considers itself a savior of animals, for example: The tigers and chimps were once illegally owned and beaten, the Gorillas are outcasts of other groups brought in by the park, and they try to bring in other endangered species.