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  • Larnaca
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  • Polis
The Guide to the Most Remarkable Zoo Parks in Cyprus
The Guide to the Most Remarkable Zoo Parks in Cyprus
Dmitry Gridin
Author: Dmitry Gridin
Translation: Inna Guseva

There is a zoo or an animal farm almost in every city in Cyprus. In this article we want to share with you the information we gathered about all more or less known places where you can see or even contact with animals.

Of course there are zoos in the world that are interesting to visit even when you go there without the kids, for example Berlin Zoological Garden or Moscow Zoo. But, alas, there aren’t zoos of this size on the island. The main target group of zoos in Cyprus is children. That’s why we paid a special attention to the details that are important for the parents in the first place.

Ocean Aquarium

Where: located in the Protaras village near the Trinity beach.

Opening hours: 10:00 – 18:00 from April to October and 9:00 – 16:00 from November to March.

Ticket price: 14 Euros for an adult and 7 Euros for a child.

The average time you will spend there: 20 – 30 minutes.

What’s inside: technically the Ocean Aquarium is the best aquarium in Cyprus. Because it is the only one on the island. Nobody knows why, but this is not a well-developed area in Cyprus.

Ocean Aquarium, Cyprus

Well, you buy an entrance ticket, walk to the door that is quite easy to pass by, make some effort to pull it and enter the dark labyrinth. The distance is quite short by the way. If you walk fast enough, it would really take about 30 seconds to go through it all.

The aquarium has a simple design; you will not find something extra original here (by the way, is it necessary for the only ocean aquarium in the country?): ordinary aquariums are built into the walls of the labyrinth. No sign of glass arches with the stingrays “flying” above your head, no artificial rivers or waterfalls. Just aquariums. Plenty of them. The variety of fishes is amazing though. I saw about 5 different species I have never known about before. So everything is great in that regard.

However the arrangement of the aquariums is not well thought, in my opinion, especially while taking into account that the target audience of this sort of attractions is children. And the aquariums are at a level that is more convenient for the adults. Children should take a few steps back or constantly look up in case they want to see something.

It is also a bit strange that the labyrinth is not circled, so you should take the same way back.

After you pass the aquariums, the labyrinth will lead you to the open-air inner area. Here is a tiny zoo with crocodiles, penguins, monkeys, raccoons, birds and other animals. The attraction that will take another 10 minutes. There are also a café and a quite good playground.

All in all, if you want to spend 20-30 minutes with your kid for 21 Euros (the total cost of one adult and one children entrance ticket) in an interesting and funny place, the Ocean Aquarium is your choice. Of course it is not the cheapest and the most diverse one comparing to aquariums in other countries. And you can find places in Cyprus to watch the animals at a better price.

Ocean Aquarium, Cyprus

Limassol Municipal Zoo

Where: in the middle of Limassol on the seafront promenade.

Opening hours: 10:00 – 16:00.

The average time you will spend there: 2-3 hours.

Ticket price: 5 Euros for an adult, 2 Euros for children from 5 years to 15 years. Free for children under 5 years old. Frankly speaking, it’s not a typical pricing policy for Cyprus.

What’s inside: it is one of those rare cases when the proverb “a diamond is small, but valuable” describes it very well. On a quite limited area there is a very well thought, beautiful, comfortable and nice zoo. The low cost of the entrance ticket allows you to walk there with the children every day if you want.

The diversity of the animal world is represented quite well. You will see a hippo, a crocodile, a kangaroo, llamas, otters, roe deers, Patagonian maras (resembling long-legged rabbits), meerkats, oxen, horses, sheep, tamarins, baboons and many other animals. There is also a lot of different birds in the zoo.

Apart from that there is a small reptile house with snakes and spiders located on the separate territory. No big predators live in the zoo.

All the enclosures are designed so that the children may observe the animals at maximal close range safely.

There are a small café, mainly suitable for buying something to drink and have a short break and a playground for children. The enclosures for small cattle are located nearby. It is prohibited to feed the animals in the zoo but some children are not stopped by this rule. The safety is at a high level. Actually I should admit that I had to be quick once pulling my son off the beak of a raging pelican. So, please, be careful.

Melios Zoo Park in Nicosia

Where: near Ayioi Trimithias village, 15 minutes away from the centre of Nicosia.

Opening hours: 9:00 – 20:00; Monday is the day off.

Ticket price: 3 Euros for an adult and children above 13 years. 2 Euros for children under 13 years.

The average time you will spend there: 1,5 – 2 hours.

What’s inside: it’s the third official zoo in Cyprus. This one is way less famous and popular comparing to zoos of Pafos and Limassol. Probably it is because its location that is far from the main tourist areas.

The zoo doesn’t look posh. Looks like the administration decided to invest money not in the interior and décor but in the animals and their comfort.

You will not see any alabaster sculptures, forged fences, stylized buildings or shining pavement here. The whole zoo looks like a common animal farm where people keep the livestock.

Small animals are accommodated in same wire-netting cages, the big ones — inside the common ordinary enclosures. The most part of the territory is not even paved. The only thing that differs this zoo from the animal farm is a small café in the middle of it. The design of the café is also extremely modest.

The variety of animals that are presented in the zoo is very interesting! There are two lions here: it’s a pair — lion and lioness. Their enclosure is a fence made of a chain link, so you can observe lions just few meters apart from them.

The lion seems quite peaceful and calm and is sleeping most of the time. It opens one eye from time to time scanning the environment for potential threats. Standing there, few feet apart from the lion you have strong doubts the chain link fence will be serious obstacle for the giant paws of this predator if it would decide to attack.

Except the lions there are another two big predators in the zoo: hyenas. You can observe them at a short distance as well. The hyenas, unlike the lions, are scared of people and try to run away.

The Guide to the Most Remarkable Zoo Parks in Cyprus

The enclosures with hoofed animals are located at the remote corner of the zoo. You will see several kinds of reindeers, oxen, roe deers and Vietnamese Pot-bellied pigs here. Their neighbours are kangaroo and capybara.

The main part of the zoo is set aside as an aviary for birds. There are a lot of them here; it is mainly different kinds of doves and parrots but few birds of pray are also living in the zoo.

Most enclosures and cages are quite spacious; the animals look well fed and fit.

I would give the safety of the zoo like a B-. Big and dangerous birds are also separated from the observers by thin netting with no further additional fence. It could be dangerous for a child that will decide to come closer to the chain link. What is more, there is an ostrich aviary with 2 meters tall birds near the entrance that are increasingly attentive to the guests. However they probably looking for some food, you just feel insecure near such big birds.

By the way it is allowed to feed animals in the Melios zoo. You can buy a special package of carob tree pods for 1 Euro at the main entrance. But there is no need to buy it actually because lots of carob trees are growing on the territory of the zoo.

Melios zoo will probably not impress you at the first sight. It looks small and not so beautifully designed. But you will definitely find something to keep you busy with. The animals are really many and interesting. Taking into account the price of 3 Euros for the entrance ticket, you might say it’s a great place to go to.

The Guide to the Most Remarkable Zoo Parks in Cyprus

Agios Neofytos CatPark

Where: in the Tala village not far from Pafos.

Opening hours: 10:00 – 14:00.

Ticket price: free of charge.

The average time you will spend there: 40 minutes – 1 hour.

What’s inside: it’s the most unusual place on our list. The cat park is free and is located at the Agios Neofytos monastery.

No one will meet you at the main entrance or pay any special attention to you inside. Because the main stars here are cats.

In theory you can walk the entire length of the park in one minute. But it is impossible when there are so many cute cats all around. They are everywhere: sitting and lying on the floor, on the shelves, inside the enclosures, on the roofs and even on your hands. Wherever you look, you will see dozens of cats.

Cats of Agios Neofytos CatPark are very sociable and gentle. Some visitors come here just to enjoy sitting in an armchair covered with cats from head to toe. Everyone is happy with that both the guests and their feline “hosts”.

You may not only pet the cats but also become a volunteer. This park is a good opportunity for small children to learn about the respectful treatment of animals. The amount of visitors on a weekday is about 15, so everyone will find some cats that will be happy to tag along.

The Guide to the Most Remarkable Zoo Parks in Cyprus

Pafos Zoo

Where: on the Xylomantrou Street, in the Peyia village after Pafos.

Opening hours: 9:00 – 19:00 daily.

Ticket price: 16,5 Euros for an adult and 8,5 Euros for a child from 2 to 13 years old. Free of charge for children under 2 years.

The average time you will spend there: 2 – 3 hours.

What’s inside: it’s the biggest, the most famous and expensive zoo in Cyprus. The total area of the zoo is 100.000 quadrat meters. The diversity of the animals complies with its size. You will see giraffes, monkeys, meerkats, crocodiles, kangaroos, albino wallabies, mouflons, white lions, tigers, elefants, bats, maras, porcupines, reindeers, camels, donkeys, llamas, zebras and god knows who else here. There is also a reptile house and a bird aviary on the territory of the zoo. Taking into account that the zoo firstly worked as a “bird park”, you will see more than two hundred different species of them.

The Guide to the Most Remarkable Zoo Parks in Cyprus

Free bird show is organized everyday on the territory of the Pafos zoo. It is better to come a little bit early because the seats are limited.

The show is held in English. The parrots say hi to the audience and then “ride a bicycle”, drive each other in the cart and make another tricks to amuse the guests. Then the huge owls come on the stage. It’s an impressive sight to watch how they fly low just above your head. The show is quite good especially for children over 3 years of age.

There are a restaurant, a bar and a café where you can buy an ice cream in the zoo. Everything is nice and beautifully designed. All the animals have spacious enclosures.

The only downside I want to mention is that the zoo is not very convenient for the small children, which is weird. The animals are often too far away and the cages and enclosures are made so that the youngest visitors can’t see anything. Considering the children are the target audience it’s an essential flaw.

The Guide to the Most Remarkable Zoo Parks in Cyprus

Camel Park

Where: in the Mazotos village that is located between Larnaka and Limassol

Opening hours: 9:00 – 19:00 daily

Ticket price: a regular ticket will cost you 5 Euros for an adult and 3 Euros for a child. The cost of ticket that includes a camel ride will be 10 Euros for an adult and 8 Euros for a child.

The average time you will spend there: 3 hours.

What’s inside: Camel park is not an accurate name for this place. The camels are the main stars here but the variety of animals doesn’t just end with them. It’s really a full-fledged zoo, although a small one. You will meet ostriches, goats, reindeers, ponies, wallabies, llamas, turtles, fishes, birds and donkeys. By the way it is allowed to feed the animals with the special food that is sold at the main entrance. It’s a perfect addition to the whole attraction especially when you have a small kid. But be careful feeding the camels. The staff of the zoo pays not so much attention which animals you feed and how are you doing that. It could be dangerous for the small kid to feed a camel due to its size.

The territory of the park is quite small but everything is well thought. You can easily spend a few hours here. There are several great children playgrounds in the zoo. Not far from them is a café when you can taste camel milk. The taste of the drink is highly debatable speaking of its gustatory qualities. But it could be an interesting experience for those who want to broad their horizons.

Like in other zoo parks in Cyprus there is a restaurant on the territory. Camel park went ahead and added a swimming pool to the list of its attractions. The pool with sunbeds near it is located in the separated area. You can spend the whole day here just lying near the water and sunbathing. The cost is already included in the ticket price, both in that for 5 Euros and for 10.

The place is really interesting and worth to get to from Limassol or Nicosia, since there you will assuredly find activities for you and your kid for a few hours.

The Guide to the Most Remarkable Zoo Parks in Cyprus

Skarinou Donkey Farm

Where: in Skarinou village that is located between Limassol, Larnaka and Nicosia.

Opening hours: 10:00 – 20:00 daily.

Ticket price: 4 Euros for an adult and 2 Euros for a child.

The average time you will spend there: about 1 hour.

What’s inside: it’s not the only farm of this kind in Cyprus but definitely the most popular among them. The reason for it is unknown. Probably it’s because of the successful location; many tour operators add this farm to their lists of the tourist attractions.

There is a small museum on the territory that reveals the daily routines of the Cypriots. The average time you will spend inside is about several minutes because there are not so many exhibits to see.

You will find enclosures with donkeys behind the museum building. The total number of them is about 170. All the donkeys are friendly and cute. You can ride a donkey for an additional cost. The ride will take about 20 minutes. You will be offered to buy a video of your ride at the end of it. I did not buy it but I’ve read the feedback left by others complaining that they received the video with some strangers in a lead roles. Except the donkeys the guests can visit a miniature zoo with several hoofed animals and an ostrich. That’s all, folks.

The most reviews I have read about this farm were positive but I didn’t like it actually. May be it’s because my 2 years old son got bored right after he fed some donkeys. Bearing in mind the road to the farm wasn’t a short one, it seemed like the waste of time.

The Guide to the Most Remarkable Zoo Parks in Cyprus

Petrides Farm Park

Where: in Marki village, suburb of Nicosia. You can use Google Maps and road signs to drive there. But as soon as you will leave the pavement road, Google Maps will lose the connection and the road signs go to an end too. There will be hangars all along the road and it’s not clear is that already Petrides Farm Park or not. You will identify the park by the big car parking and the yellow signboard.

Opening hours: 10:00 – 22: 00 every weekend. But it can be closed earlier “in the best traditions” of Cyprus. So you’d better not to come here late in the evening. The park is closed in August. The owner says it’s too hot in this time of year.

Ticket price: 3 Euros for everyone above 3 years old. The remaining people walk in for free.

The average time you will spend there: 1 – 2 hours.

What’s inside: you will notice it right after taking the first step inside: the scope is impressive, the quality — the exact opposite. Saving space was definitely not the main task. The most part of the territory is “dominated” by empty spaces. Everything looks shabby and evokes a feeling far from excitement.

The animals living here are common for any non-touristic farm in Cyprus: donkeys, ostriches, partridges, geese, turkeys, pigs, goats etc. Frankly, it’s not a Berlin Zoological Garden.

However it’s quite funny place for kids. By the way the safety is at a high level. The animals that could be dangerous for little visitors, for example ostriches, are living behind the netting that is so thick a finger can’t get through.

Except the zoo there is a café, indoor playgrounds for children, cacti park, numerous benches similar to those you will see in picnic areas and even a football field on the territory of the park. People come here not only to go to the zoo but also to have a picnic or to visit an event. Many of them chose Petrides Farm Park as a place for making a birthday party. It’s a remote and quiet place for an acquired taste. I would not recommend make it a special trip from Limassol.

Argonaftis Donkey Farm

Where: in Kelokedara village, in the mountains of Pafos. It’s one of a few touristic places in Cyprus without good pavement roads. After you leave the main route you have to drive on the poor road for quite long.

Opening hours: 9:30 – 17:00 daily. The farm isn’t closed at 17:00. It’s time when the groups of tourists come for shows and events that are held till 22:00. It’s difficult to join these events if you are travelling on your own; it is better to search for tourist agencies offering this kind of activity in advance.

Ticket price: free of charge. 7 Euros if you want to ride a donkey.

The average time you will spend there: 20 minutes – 1,5 hour.

What’s inside: Argonaftis Donkey Farm is a popular place due to its partnership with travel agencies. Many excursions starting in Pafos include visiting this farm.

The farm itself is not so big. There are enclosures where 85 donkeys live and a café. That’s all they got.

Let’s add a few details. The donkeys are cute, friendly and calm, looking very neat. They let the visitors pet, feed and even hug themselves. You can also have a ride. It will be not common circling around the farm, but a small trip to the old monastery 15 minutes away from the farm. So the whole trip there and back will take about half an hour. After your return you will receive “driver license”, permit D (Donkey) as a souvenir.

A café is spacious, with the small exhibition dedicated to traditional daily life in Cyprus arranged at one of the walls. You will see an old still, a plow, bread baking tins, a wine squeezer etc. Quite interesting. You will spend there about 5 minutes. I didn’t taste the food, but Google maps reviews are flattering.

There are only two reasons why it could be worthy to visit this place: you are a donkey fan and you want to see them and only them. The second one — you are living in Pafos and too lazy to go somewhere far away to see the donkeys.

The Guide to the Most Remarkable Zoo Parks in Cyprus

Kouklia Snake & Animal Park

Where: in Kouklia village not far from Pafos.

Opening hours: could not be determined. I have been there on Sunday morning and the park was open.

Ticket price: 2 Euros.

The average time you will spend there: 15 minutes.

What’s inside: I’ve decided to visit this place and write about it because the one reason: if you will type “Zoo” in the Google Maps search bar, it will be listed together with the other parks. That’s why you probably will be curious, what kind of park is that.

Let me tell you:

I’ve already mentioned that I was there on Sunday morning. The gates were open. Not a soul inside. I stood there for a while, trying to call someone but no one came out from nowhere. So I walked the territory. I most solemnly declare that this place is not a park at all. There are: a big house, a big yard and some cages with snakes standing nearby. The total number of cages is 6. The total number of different kind of snakes is 6. As far as you remember, the place is called Snake & Animal Farm. What means there should be another animals in the park. Oh, here they are, at the remote corner! The animal world is represented by few hens and doves.

The box on one of the snake cages is used as cash desk. You should toss 2 Euros there — the payment for the entrance ticket. Frankly speaking it’s not an easy task to find it and to figure out its purpose. They also organized something café-like on the territory of the farm. You can buy coffee or juice here. In theory. In practice I’ve never seen any living being there except snakes and birds.

A very strange place to put it mildly. I have no idea why Google Maps adds it to the list. I can’t think of a single reason to visit it.

The Guide to the Most Remarkable Zoo Parks in Cyprus

In this article I’ve tried to tell you about all more or less well known and popular places where you can meet different animals. Of course there are many more on the island. There are dozens of donkey farms and animal shelters I haven’t mentioned. But I see no point to tell you about each of them because these kinds of facilities are all built the same. Hope this article will help you to navigate the places where you can explore the animal world of Cyprus.