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HOT Attractions - Variations on a Theme

The undisputed capital of family entertainment and fun days out, Benalmádena boasts the lion's share of Costa del Sol theme parks and attractions. In fact, with no fewer than six of them to choose from, the perennially popular resort is not only home to the Coast's first attraction park - Tivoli World, which opened its turnstiles back in 1973 - but also to the very newest... the Benalmádena Butterfly Park launched just this spring...


From the tiniest of gossamer-winged creatures scarcely larger than a mosquito... to others that are bigger than a bat and actually too heavy to fly, the butterflies and moths inhabiting the Mariposario de Benalmádena come in all shapes and sizes and a kaleidoscope of bright, glowing colours.

“Europe's largest Butterfly Park, Mariposario de Benalmádena is home to more than 1,500 different species"

In fact, with anywhere between 1,500 and 2,000 butterflies in residence depending on the time of year, the Benalmádena Butterfly Park is the largest in Europe, and is home to more than 150 different species from Africa, South America, Asia and Australia. And of course, since their lifespan is so short, typically from just two to three weeks, each time you visit there will be different species flying free as a bird around their exotic, climate controlled 2,000m2 glazed garden.

While it's pretty much taken as read that the youngest members of the family will be captivated by all their discoveries, since just about everyone's earliest childhood memories must surely include fond recollections of summer days spent . hopelessly chasing a Red Admiral around the garden, the Butterfly Park is an enchanting, feel-good experience for grown-ups, too!

And because many of the butterflies reproduce in the Park itself, you can observe up close and personal every stage of their life-cycle, from eggs and caterpillars... to courtship rituals and pairing. Then back to the beginning again as you watch them emerge from their chrysalises, slowly unfold their wings and flutter away tentatively in search of their first sip of nectar.

But despite the sheer number of butterflies living here, given that so many of them are masters of camouflage, it takes a few minutes for your eyes to adjust... then suddenly, you see them everywhere, and if you keep quite still, it won't be long before one lands almost imperceptibly on your shoulder, or the palm of your hand.

Carefully designed to recreate their natural habitats, it's warm and sultry in the tropical garden that comes complete with pretty lake, gently splashing waterfall and all the vegetation vital to the butterflies' survival. Every species of butterfly and moth needs specific plants both to feed on and to lay its eggs on, and so in the Mariposario there's a multitude of host plants and plants rich in nectar, as well as ornamental varieties — many of which have been imported from Bali, Costa Rica and Thailand.

Butterflies and flowers have always made a heady combination, the stuff that dreams and fairy tales are made of. But at a time when these most beautiful of insects are sadly disappearing from gardens and countryside across the globe, it's reassuring to know that Benalmadena's Mariposario also takes its responsibilities very seriously when it comes to conservation and sustainability.

Around 75% were originally reared in their Butterfly Farm in the north of Tenerife -where their Mariposario del Drago is also based - while 25% are imported direct from Malaysia, Costa Rica, Belize, Kenya and the Philippines, where both the insects and the plants on which their existence depends are bred by local inhabitants, in turn providing them with a much-needed source of income.

The Mariposario is open every day from 10.00 to 19.00.

BENALMADENA BUTTERFLY PARK / MARIPOSARIO DE BENALMADENA

www.mariposariodebenalmadena.com
T.951 211 196
Autovia del Mediterraneo / A7 - Exit 217, Benalmadena (next to the Buddhist Temple of Enlightenment)

It's a family affair MORE COSTA DEL SOL ATTRACTIONS

Antequera

LOBO PARK/WOLF PARK

Discover the fascinating world of wolves at this beautiful park. May — October: Wolf Howl Nights (advance reservations essential). Adentrate en el subyugante mundo de los lobos en este precioso parque. De Mayo a Octubre: Noches del aullido del lobo, con reserva previa. www.lobopark.com T. 952 031 107

Benalmadena

SEA LIFE AQUARIUM

From starfish and seahorses to sharks and giant rays — enjoy close encounters of the fishy kind, Estrellas y caballitos de mar o tiburones y rayas gigantes. No tienes que irte mar adentro para disfrutar del gran azul. www.visitsealife.es T. 952 446 784

CENTRO DE LAS AGUILAS /GARDEN OF EAGLES

Bird of prey displays at the top of Mount Calamorro — access via the Benalmadena Cable Car. Las ayes rapaces planean en el Monte Calamorro, junto al Teleferico de Benalmadena. www.benalmadena.com

SELWO MARINA

Andalucia's first Ice Island penguinarium and dolphinarium, plus swim with the sea lions! El primer delfinario y pingainario de Andalucia, con espectaculos que incluyen tambien a leones ma rinos. www.selwomarina.com T. 902 190 482

TIVOLI WORLD

Fairground rides and attractions for youngerchildren, also flamenco and Wild West shows, and more. Un completo programa de actuaciones, flamenco, recinto del Salvaje Oeste y, por supuesto, atracciones para los mas jovenes. www.tivolicostadelsol.com T. 952 577 016

BENALMADENA TELECABINA /CABLE CAR

Eye in the sky! Take a ride to the 770m summit of Mount Calamorro. Options include hiking, plus bird of prey displays (as above). Los mas atrevidos estaran pendientes de un hilo ascendiendo 770 m de altitud hasta el Monte Calamorro, para hacer senderismo o avistar ayes. www.telefericobenalmadena.com T. 952 575 061

Estepona

SELWO AVENTURA

Out of Africa! A safari-style big game animal park with a choice of different routes, plus optional overnight accommodation in thatched lodges. A modo de safari, podras recorrer este parque • animal como si estuvieras en Africa, con distintas rutas e incluso alojamiento en cabanas. www.selwo.es T. 902 190 485

Fuengirola

BIOPARC (Formerly Fuenglrola Zoo)

140+ different species inhabit this stunning urban jungle recreating the tropical forests of Madagascar. (Open'til midnight in July & August.) Mas de 140 especies conviven en esta espectacular jungla, que recrea los bosques tropicales de Madagascar. Abierto hasta medianoche en Julio y Agosto.

Málaga

JARDIN BOTANICO-HISTORICO LA CONCEPCION

One of Europe's most captivating of botanical gardens, home to more than 1,000 different species and extending over 23 acres. Una de los mas hellos jardines botanicos de Europa, que alberga mas de 1.000 especies vegeta les en mas de 230.000 m2. www.Iaconcepcion.malaga.eu T. 952 252 148

Mijas Costa

AQUAPARK Wet & wild!

A family-friendly waterpark with bodyski, wild river rides, labyrinth slides, wave pool, kiddie slides... and more. Descarga de adrenalina en familia, Un parque acuatico con pistas blandas, laberintos de toboga nes, rios de rapidos, etc. www.aquamijas.com T. 952 460 404

Torremolinos

AQUALAND

Attractions include Europe's highest kamikaze slide, crazy race, black hole, superslalom... so water babes will be in their element! El punto fuerte es el tobogan kamikaze, el mas alto de Europa. Un dia de emociones se completa con superslalom, boomerang, twister y zona infantil. www.aqualand.es/torremolinos T. 952 388 888

 Please note: Every effort was made to check the accuracy of the information contained within our archived HOT Properties Magazine articles at the time of originally going to press, but may well have been superseded over the ensuing years. They are now made available as historical archival information only. The said information has not been reviewed subsequently for present day accuracy nor has it been updated and we expressly disclaim any duty or obligation to do so. VIVA cannot accept responsibility for any errors or omissions, nor for the authenticity of any claims or statements made by third parties. We therefore strongly recommend that readers of these archived articles make their own thorough checks before entering into any kind of transaction. Prices were correct at the time of publication but may now vary due to circumstances beyond our control. The views and opinions of editorial contributors do not necessarily reflect those of VIVA .

HOT Properties Magazine Issue 91 - 2011

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