First stop on our journey around the biggest attractions in Tenerife was the beautiful Siam Park. This Thai-inspired water park, situated at the south end of the island, was opened by Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn of Thailand (yes, really) over two years ago and features every single sort of watery entertainment you can imagine: from the Tower of Power, which whooshes you down 28 meters of near free-fall drop, through acrylic tubes in the middle of shark tanks (yes, really) to the more sedate artificial beach with waves that can top 4m (they break quite gently on the shore though so it’s safe for tiddlers).
We had a cabana (a snip at €800 for the day, although there are cheaper options) which allows you all sorts of special treatment, including all-inclusive service in the restaurants and a nice free minibar with snacks, and even WiFi:
…with an amazing view over the park and beach…
Also not to be missed is the amazing Mai Thai river – thought to be the largest lazy river in the world, and the kids’ own area, Lost City, with loads of watery fun including waterfalls, bridges and pools.
For tickets, try www.attractionticketsdirect.com - also look out for the free double decker buses that run from most of the major southern resorts.
Owned by the same family as Siam Park, Loro Parque, up in the north of the island, started years ago as a parrot park (the owner has a real thing about parrots – you can still see parrot shows at the park today). Also Thai inspired (in fact, most of the main buildings were made in Thailand and shipped over for construction) the site covers over 30 acres and the parrots have now been joined by gorillas, white tigers and orcas, as well as many other species, all looked after at this immaculate, and enormous complex. We took a behind the scenes tour, seeing how the gorillas are looked after and watching the trainers sort the kilos of fish needed to feed the park’s six orcas. The place is spotless, and the standards here are very high. We were all mightily impressed:
My top tip is to do all the animal shows back to back as soon as you get to the park : sealion, dolphin and then orca. The shows are more crowded, but the atmosphere is fantastic and this then leaves you with the whole afternoon to tootle about the rest of the park. Don’t miss the gorillas (the pack is all-male and often takes males excluded from other groups from zoos right around the world):
The food is pretty darned good here too – we feasted on tender barbecued pork skewers with a delicious ratatouille and baked potatoes and they well surpassed your usual theme-park fare (all washed down with some very decent local red wine as well):
Don’t miss the beautiful white tigers (and the monkeys if you must – I hate monkeys), oh and the gorgeously pink flamingos (I do love a flamingo):
There are so many things to recommend, I almost can’t decide, but the aquariums are fascinating, and the penguin enclosure is fantastic and managed with some real skill (even down to plunging the little fellas into darkness during arctic winters):
The park is open from 8.30 am until 6.45 pm every day (last entry at 4pm) and tickets can be purchased in advance from the website. You can also buy a twin ticket that gives you access to both parks at a discounted rate (but bear in mind they’re at opposite ends of the island, especially if you don’t have a hire car).
I travelled to Tenerife with Monarch. Here’s some more information about travelling with Monarch to Tenerife:
Monarch, the scheduled leisure airline, operates year round flights to Tenerife from Birmingham, London Gatwick, London Luton and Manchester airports with fares, including taxes, starting from £58.99 one way (£99.99 return).
In addition to year-round low fares, Monarch also offers a bespoke “build your own class of travel” range of products and services both on the ground and inflight. All customers are allocated a seat at check-in; however seats can be pre-allocated on scheduled Monarch flights for £5.99 per one-way flight to ensure that families and groups are seated together. For customers looking for added comfort, extra legroom seats are also available offering up to six inches of extra space from only £24.99.
Customers travelling on scheduled flights can also avoid booking charges by paying for their flights using a debit card or a PayPal payment option (which can be funded by a credit card for free). There is a small 4% fee for credit cards transactions, with a minimum value of £5. This fee, which covers the airline’s cost of processing the credit card payment, is applied per transaction and not per person.
They can also take advantage of online check-in, which is available between 18 days and four and a half hours prior to departure. With a great range of tasty hot and cold meals that can be pre-booked or purchased onboard, flying with Monarch really couldn’t be simpler.