AS visitor attractions go Benalmadena takes some beating.
There is a huge range of things to do with all the family… probably the best range in all Andalucia.
One of the main places to visit is Sealife in the marina, which has a superb range of fishes to see, including sharks.
The first walk-through underwater park on the Costa del Sol, you are taken on an amazing stroll along the seabed, passing aquatic species from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans and the Red Sea.
It is a fascinating voyage of discovery watching the starfish, stingrays and sharks, plus many other exotic species.
With over 30 tanks in nine different rooms, you see creatures living in a reproduced natural habitat, from above, below and alongside.
The journey is unforgettable, especially the turtles, sharks and moray eels, as well as colourful tropical fish and seahorses. There are also crabs, jellyfish and octopuses, and much, much more.
Sick and injured sea creatures are nursed back to health here and a new exhibition features marine lifeforms dangerous to humans in their undersea habitats.
There are also feeding demonstrations, special presentations and other themed attractions, as well as a terrace bar with excellent views of the port.
Based inside a huge hothouse, Benalmadena’s Butterfly Park – the biggest in Europe – offers visitors the chance to see an incredible 1,500 exotic butterflies from all around the world in what it describes as, ‘a tropical paradise of waterfalls and flowers’.
With a group of chameleons and iguanas to boot, it is an educational experience and visitors of any age can learn how butterflies are born and how they reproduce.
With over 200 crocodiles, including the largest in Europe – Big Daddy who weighs a terrifying 600kg – the park provides the chance to get up close and even hold one of the world’s most fascinating creatures.
Another option is Selwo Marina, which is home to dolphins, sea lions, penguins, turtles, piranhas and tortoises as well as reptiles, parrots and tarantulas.
Visitors can swim with a sea lion, make friends with dolphins, explore a forest of squirrel monkeys, or if that sounds like too much – just sit back and watch a display of exotic birds from around the world.
Thrill-seekers will want to make their way to the Disneyland of the Costa del Sol, Tivoli World which has 40 rides for various ages, including a roller coaster, a 60-metre sudden drop, a giant ferris wheel, go-karting, a ‘passage of terror’ and pony rides.
Finally, The Parque de La Paloma – a public park – covers 200,000 square metres and – back with the animal theme – is home to ostriches, turtles, peacocks and goats, as well as a cactus garden.