As fun as an all-inclusive resort can be in the Algarve, Portugal, it’s always good to venture out and visit some of the local attractions to mix up the week. A quick Google of ‘things to do near Albufeira’ and search results returned Zoomarine as the top attraction. When the weather is 30°, who doesn’t like marine animals and water parks?
Date Visited: Thursday, 19th July 2018
Location: Zoomarine Theme Park, EN 125 – Km 65, 8201-864 Guia, Albufeira, Algarve – Portugal
Getting There: There are transfer buses direct to the water park which may service your hotel. Alternatively, we took an Uber which was surprisingly very efficient and affordable. If you have a hire car, there’s plenty of parking on-site
Cost: If your child is under 1 meter, they go free. Kids up to 10 years over 1 meter or seniors over 65 years are €21, and everyone else is €29. If you purchase the tickets online, you receive a 10% discount.
Review: I can’t say I’m a water park connoisseur as I’ve only been to one in Australia. Upon seeing the reviews on Google of Zoomarine, I thought it was a must-see. Given that we would be at the resort all week, I thought Cara would enjoy it. As she was only 97cm at the time, it was even better as she went for free.
After filling our boots at breakfast and slapping on some sunscreen, we headed out on an Uber. The park allows you to bring your own inflatables, so with a strawberry floatie in hand, we made our way in. Just outside the entrance, there’s a handy height guide to show you what areas or rides the kids are allowed to go on. This might prepare your kids for any potential disappointment.
Once in, there’s plenty of attractions to visit. With regular dolphin, seal and bird shows, there’s always something to watch. There’s also an aquarium and bird sanctuary. Add in a 4D cinema, a wave pool, couple of kid pools, adult water slide and pirate ship, ferris wheel, there’s something for everyone.
We started off by visiting the seal show. Unfortunately we missed out on the shaded seats and ended up being scorched under the Sun. Although the show was about 20 minutes, we only lasted 15 minutes and decided to hit the kid pools to cool off. There’s a couple to choose from, a standard one with mini-slide and small water drop bucket. There’s also a pirate-themed one towards the back of the park. Cara spent about an hour at the standard one before we decided to take a break for lunch.
Post-lunch, we went to digest by watching the dolphin show. Luckily, the seats were shaded so got to enjoy the entire show. Lots of tricks mixed with education kept Cara engaged. Once over, we headed back to the kid pools, this time venturing to the pirate-themed one. After spending 30 minutes here and getting watered on by the big bucket, Cara decided she had had enough and preferred the smaller pool. So we headed back and must’ve spent the next 90 minutes there. As the cool breeze meant it was getting a bit chilly, we decided to call it a day on the water activities.
To help dry off, we jumped on the mini-train ride and ferris wheel, which has nice views of the entire park. Queues were 5 minutes max on our visit. If you have older kids, there’s the beach and wave pool, water slide and pirate ship to try. Although Cara was too small to test some of those activities, I was happy to share the time with her on the rides before calling it a day.
On the way out, there’s the gift shop which includes photos taken upon entry and throughout the park such as the water slide.
You can pack your own food if you wish, but there’s plenty of options available on site. We opted for the large food hall near the entrance and enjoyed the grilled chicken. Bit of a queue around prime lunchtime, but was worth the wait. The pizza was average but edible, and Cara enjoyed her chicken nugget kids meal, which included chips, a drink and small pirate toy. There’s another smaller food stand near the ferris wheel, and various ice cream and drink stands dotted around the park.
- Don’t forget to bring your own towel!
- You can rent a shaded tent or umbrella and deck chairs for the day for about €15. But we just dumped our things close to the pool under a tree.
- If you want to visit the park again during your stay, make sure you purchase the ‘2nd day pass’ near the main food hall, which I think was about €8 per ticket.
Zoomarine – https://www.zoomarine.pt/en/
Burn Time: 5 out of 5 – Spent an entire day out at Zoomarine, and could have stayed till it closed but we decided to head back earlier for dinner.
Value: 3.5 out of 5 – The rides and shows are free, so apart from the entry fee, you could not spend a single Euro more if you packed your own lunch. Otherwise, there’s food, drinks, ice creams, travel and souvenirs to cover.
Overall: 5 out of 5 – If we ever went back to Albufeira, this would definitely be on the list again.