Zoo, Zoo, I go for Zoomarine


“Zoo, Zoo, I go for Zoomarine. Zoo, zoo, Zoomarine.” The last time I heard the Zoomarine song, I was in the mother park of Mundo Aquático SA, which has been entertaining visitors of the Algarve since 1991 as the only amusement park in Portugal worth visiting. Apart from the really good water parks Slide & Splash and Aquashow Park, there are also few alternatives in Portugal. However, as the shows are well produced and the animals are housed in sufficiently large enclosures, a visit is still not recommended for animal welfare activists, but it is safe for everyone else.

In 2005 the sister park near Rome opened, where the group concentrates mainly on the animal shows on a much larger area and built rather large stadiums for this purpose. Additional animal enclosures, aviaries and the aquarium, for example, are almost completely missing, which makes the park, officially designated as a zoological garden, less credible in its own statements regarding the conservation of species. However, the mission of Zoomarine is to respect and appreciate nature in a passionate way, to accompany children and adults into a world full of emotions and to let them discover the animals living in the park.

As in Albufeira, all the buildings are kept simple and so the entrance in the form of a tent is not very representative. In the park itself, you will find a very well-kept garden and paved paths throughout Zoomarine, which makes a good first impression and makes Zoomarine a decent theme park.


Right at the beginning you will come across the roller coaster Squalotto, a children’s roller coaster with the traditional Italian layout of a Brucomela. It is the much younger of the two coasters, but with the not so wild ride over smaller waves and a bigger drop, it offers enough fun for smaller children only. The train features a nice design which fits the name of the ride.


If you follow the main road you will come across a number of rides, all from L&T Systems or their successors Preston & Barbieri. Besides an interesting Saltamonte, a bouncing carousel with cogs as gondolas, you will find the Harakiri dinghy slide and a well designed carousel.

In the immediate vicinity, but still well hidden in the farthest corner of Zoomarine, you will find the large Blue River log flume with its three shots, also by L&T Systems. The ride goes in dugout canoes through a hot-galvanised channel, where first a small drop, then an equally large double drop and last but not least a bigger drop is waiting for the passengers. Due to the rainy weather on the Mediterranean coast near the Italian capital, we decided not to take a ride as it was quite chilly for a change.

The Water Park

On the other side of the amusement mile there is a small water park with a number of sunbeds for relaxation. In addition to two water playgrounds, there is a slide complex with two kamikaze slides and two spiral slides, one of which is a black hole, and, since this season, a flow rider, i.e. a wave riding simulator. But there is also a 3D cinema, a Splash Battle and the Schwarzkopf classic looping star Vertigo.


The classic funfair ride, which only started its journey through Ireland as part of the Funderland ensemble after 28 years of operation as a stationary ride in various European amusement parks, begins with a confident climb up the lift hill. After having collected enough potential energy for the only inversion of the ride at a height of more than 24m, the rider immediately makes a steep turn towards the ground to approach the loop at full speed. With a good amount of power you pass the first and only inversion of the ride. Immediately you shoot up again to make a turn in the air. But the rest doesn’t last long, because the train immediately plunges back to the ground, which can lead to unexpected airtime, especially in the back of the train. In the opposite direction to the first gradient, the train again takes on a bit of height and efficiently reduces it parallel to the lift hill. Since a straight line with a constant cross slope is a bit strange to drive, you are straightened up in between, however without considering the principle of turning around the heart line. After all, this principle had been applied for the first time in 1978 at the Shockwave in the Texas amusement park Six Flags Over Texas; however, the planning for the Looping Star was already in full swing at that time. Leaning to the left again, you pass through another elevated curve before approaching the ground again in a hill. A last fast right turn follows until you reach the braking distance and finally the station.

Although the looping star Vertigo has led a more than eventful life so far, it still rides a bit better than its direct relative at Attractiepark Slagharen. Under the Bemboom family it started its life in the, long forgotten, Freizeitpark Kirchhorst not far from the A7 motorway near Hanover, followed by the English amusement park Southport Pleasureland and the French western theme park OK Corral. As a loan the ride went to the Parque de Atracciones in the Spanish capital Madrid, followed by the short-lived Plutón Park near Vigo, also in Spain, before the ride was set up in Luneur Park, the former and future Luna Park of the Italian capital. Following the aforementioned funfair debut in Ireland, the ride has been entertaining passengers here at Zoomarine since 2010, and it is as pleasant as ever. At the same time, Zoomarine takes good care of the rides, which means that the park is in some way a conservation area.

Pictures Zoomarine

Conclusion Zoomarine

All in all, the Zoomarine amusement park in Italy is a good park, which animal welfare activists should better avoid. The shows, none of which we have seen, are certainly the main reason for visiting the park, but they are also the park’s livelihood. Neither as an amusement park, nor as a zoo, nor as a water park could the park support itself, because in the end none of the mentioned park types are developed enough. In the overall package, however, it can entertain you for a whole day, especially since the shows, if they are as well produced as in Portugal, are well worth seeing. But it is also a fact in Italy that people’s consciences have changed over time and the closure of the dolphinarium in Gardaland in 2013 at the latest marked the beginning of the end of the remaining dolphinariums. In this respect I am curious to see in which direction the Italian branch of Mundo Aquático SA will develop.

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Great Shows and a Rapid River


After leaving the water park Slide & Splash nearby Lagoa, I reached the animal and theme park Zoomarine around noon. It exists since 1991 and should not be confused with the Mundo Aquático park of the same name near Rome. Like similar parks, Zoomarine is characterised by a large number of shows, so that despite the manageable size of the park, you can easily spend a whole day here.

When I entered the park I knew from the beginning that I wanted to see at least one of the shows, because the entrance fee is by no means low in this park either. Since the show called Flying Colours was supposed to start in about 20 minutes the time was enough to explore the park a little bit. Soon I noticed a peculiarity of the park, because the attractions in the back of the park opened staggered one after the other and so did the only roller coaster of the park.

The parrot show then turned out to be very entertaining, instructive and quite well produced. The transitions were fluid, the story was stupid, but parrots who destroy a flat are just very funny and more or less reflect reality. It’s a bit strange that Zoomarine attempts to deal with the dangers of the shrinking habitat, only to sell some animal welfare bracelets shortly afterwards. Last but not least, the tree that has been impressively chopped down is hydraulically lifted back up into the sky.

In general, animal welfare activists will not be very satisfied with the animal husbandry in this park, so a visit is not recommended for this group of people. The few animals that are shown here in the enclosures, however, have enough space for their needs. The animals shown for the presentations have just as much space in generous aviaries or basins and even the dolphins can have it worse elsewhere with their lagoon. Of course, with the best will in the world this is definitely not ideal, especially as the dolphins’ lagoon can also be visited as an up-charge attraction.

Buffalo Coaster

As a roller coaster, Zoomarine offers small Zamperla Powered Coaster called the Buffalo Coaster. The ride with the Twin Helix layout is beautifully designed and is a lot of fun due to its lateral forces during the two helices; luckily it was only a three laps special.


If you follow the path further on, you will come to a junction where you can either continue up the mountain and see this year’s novelty, or go down to the Harakiri dinghy slide or the almost non-existent rafting, which should open at 2 pm. At that time I had basically achieved my goal, but I decided to take the Rapid River as well. Because the Era T-Rex was not supposed to open for half an hour I took a closer look at the front section of the park.


Passing some animal enclosures I went into the aquarium Aceanus, which is quite inconspicuous from the outside. It is very close to the Sea Life centres, apart from the missing design and the very dark and exclusively blue corridors. The aquariums were all large and well populated, but the highlight here is the huge tank towards the end of the run, which can be seen from three sides. This is where you could spot some sharks.

Era T-Rex

Back in the daylight I quickly looked at the other enclosures before I decided against the pirate-style sea lion show called Wonderland and walked towards the rapid ride. Prior to this, I took a closer look at the tent of the Era T-Rex, which looked rather unsuitable from the outside. The inside turned out to be a quite solid museum with some animatronics in which guided tours take place regularly. Since I didn’t want to wait for the next group I joined another group that was already advanced in the guided tour.

Rapid River

Next, I headed straight towards the Rapid River, whose entrance is located halfway down the dinghy slide. You can only find it through the signs in Zoomarine, but not on the notes of the individual opening hours of the rides, nor on the park map. Nevertheless, the ride was actually open and so it didn’t take long until I was sitting in one of the round boats.

To be honest, I didn’t expect much and the waterfall visible from the outside only looked as if it would, like in other parks, wet the boat a little bit, if at all, by splashes. But as it turned out after the first few meters of the ride, this was a very wrong estimation, because in fact this small passage is enough to wet at least half of the passengers due to the rotation of the boat. The following curvy stretch is then unfortunately free of any rapids and surprises, but nevertheless, the beautiful design and the rather less beautiful foam tunnel provide enough elements to distract you and shortly afterwards to introduce the great finale. The similarities with the dark ride Bubbleworks from Chessington World of Adventures are not to be denied, but the water jets end here all inside the boat. Shortly afterwards the lift and the end of the ride is reached.

The ride, built by L&T Systems, is a magnificent and, above all, wet pleasure which, once you are in the park, should not be missed. A bit annoying is the late opening time of the ride and the resulting time spent at the park.

Zoomarine Beach

Apart from the individual shows, of which I unfortunately didn’t watch any more, you can also visit the small water park Zoomarine Beach and test the two water slides and the large wave pool. In addition to that, the park also offers a 4D cinema with a film about turtles, a nicely designed carousel, a small boat swing and a Ferris wheel.

Pictures Zoomarine

Conclusion Zoomarine

Zoomarine is a park that looks quite expensive in the first place, especially if you visit it just for its roller coaster. However, if you take the time to see the shows, the aquarium and the attractions that open later, Zoomarine is a good park where the price/quality ratio is good.


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Theme Park:Zoomarine (since 1991)
Address:Estrada Nacional 125
8200-864 Albufeira
Operated by:Mundo Aquático, SA

Zoomarine in Albufeira in the Algarve is one of the country’s largest theme parks. The park was founded in 1991 and is famous for its marine animal shows. Although the animal and amusement park offers only a limited number of rides and other attractions, the existing shows and animal enclosures are sufficient to spend a full day here. The park also has a small water park with two slides and a large wave pool.


Highlights of the Water, Animal and Theme Park


Buffalo Coaster


Buffalo Coaster

A small powered coaster




Jurassic River

A great rapid river




Zoomarine Beach

The park’s water park