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10 fun outdoor activities with kids on the Costa del Sol

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By Raymundo Larraín Nesbitt
8th of September 2021

Please excuse me this month for not writing up a legal article, I’m still busy playing catch up after the long holiday break.

I was stunned to overhear a tourist conversation claiming there wasn’t much to do on the Costa del Sol with kids besides going to the beach. So, I took it upon myself to write a brief article on the matter.

The following list (collated in no particular order) is recommended for young children mainly on the basis of doing an outdoor activity, but also to nurture in them the love and need for wildlife preservation.

  1. Selwo Aventura

In Estepona, you will find this nature wild reserve. From ferocious lions to gentle elephants, and everything in between. Personally, I loved Margarita and Florian, a couple of hippopotamuses that loved showing off their teeth to tourists (someone needs a dentist appointment btw). One of the major highlights is the bird show, where you will have the opportunity to see several majestic birds. You will be taught valuable lessons such as not to poison the food chain as this kills birds and allows harmful critters to multiply unchecked becoming a health hazard. There is also a zipline which takes you across a huge lake which is great fun!

Info: Selwo Aventura

  1. Selwo Marina (Delfinarium)

In Benalmadena, you will find this marine park which is the home of orcs, dolphins, seals and several other marine creatures. The major highlight for me is the dolphin show and especially when the little ones get the opportunity to interact with dolphins (additional fees apply); it is well worth it.

Info: Selwo Marina

  1. Bioparc

In Fuengirola, you will find nestled in the middle of the city a self-contained nature reserve that is the home of hundreds of creatures. The animal enclosures are built to the last detail to carefully mimic the animal’s natural habitat. A far cry from Fuengirola’s 80’s zoo which I visited back in the day and made me cringe at how bad animals were mistreated. One of the major highlights is the Baobab tree replica which is the home of several species of Lemurs and Meerkats. You also can’t miss out on the bird show, those parrots will steal your heart! Bioparc is hands down a personal favourite of mine and whenever time allows it, we pay it a visit with the family.

Info: Bioparc Fuengirola

  1. Mariposarium (Butterfly park)

Have you ever fancied being surrounded by huge beautiful butterflies? Well, look no further. In Benalmadena you will find this amazing place that harbours hundreds of different species. This will be the delight of the wee ones.

Info: Butterfly park

  1. Orchidarium

In Estepona, the garden city, you will find in the middle of the town this unique place that is home to hundreds of different types of orchids. The whole place resembles a Noah’s Ark devoted to orchid care. For a moment there, I felt a bit like Rod Taylor venturing in the 60’s classic H.G. Wells’ The Time Machine movie (fortunately for us, no Morlocks). The major highlight for me was the huge waterfall at its heart, with its impressive fishpond, where you could close your eyes and feel for one waking moment being transported far away to some wild jungle in South America.

Info: Orchidarium

  1. Fort Naguelle’s

Who hasn’t imagined as a kid defending a besieged cowboy fort against a ferocious Indian attack? Well, you now get the chance to relive your childhood fantasies with your kids at Marbella’s Naguelles Fort, surrounded by a beautiful pine forest which is a natural preserve. It’s a real size replica of a U.S. West Fort that has it all (well, less the Indians). It’s free.

Info: Fuerte de Nagüeles

  1. Tivoli World

Benalmadena’s theme park is a classic of the Costa del Sol. Only its name brings back fond childhood memories. It’s the perfect place to spend a family day and have your kids ride all the attractions. I assure you that when you get back home for the evening, they are going to fall asleep fast and you’ll have a wonderful night’s sleep! Guaranteed or your money back!

Info: Tivoli World

  1. Aquamijas

In Mijas you will find arguably one of the best and most fun water parks I’ve visited. It’s the perfect place to take the young ones and explore with them all the wild water rides. I guarantee you will be exhausted by the day’s end!

Info: Aquamijas

  1. Aventura Amazonia

Do you like Indiana Jone’s movies? Well, then this is the right place for you. In Marbella, you will be able to find this unique treetop zipline themed park for kids and for those of us who are still kids at heart. Only the dauntless may apply!

Info: Aventura Amazonia Marbella

  1. Wolf Park

Well, not strictly on the Costa del Sol granted, but close enough. In Antequera, only an  hour’s drive away, you can find this unique place in all of Spain (and Europe) that offers you the unique opportunity to visit wolves. Have you ever fancied dancing amongst wolves (property exhibitions aside)? Well, now you get the chance! You will have a guided visit that will explain how wolves live and just how unfair humans have been to them, from fairy tales to hunting them down to nigh annihilation.

Info: Lobo park

Me ha bastado pensar que la naturaleza pertenece a los niños para reanudar mi batalla encaminada a la conservación de la fauna.” — Félix Rodríguez de la Fuente

“I need only remind myself that Nature belongs to our children’s morrow, to give me strength in the battles to come in defence of wildlife preservation.”

Félix Samuel Rodríguez de la Fuente (1928 – 1980). Decades before the BBC’s brilliant Planet Earth, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, there existed Félix. He was a Spanish precursor of what is now branded as ‘ecologist.’ The son of a reputed Notary, he was expected to dutifully fall in line and follow on the wake of his father’s footsteps. But following social conventionalisms were not his cup of tea. After graduating in medicine, he heeded his calling and would go on to become a naturalist and broadcaster defending what he thought mattered most – Nature and the endangered wildlife. He would become world-renowned for his much-acclaimed tv series El Hombre y la Tierra (1975 – 1980). His calm, collected demeanour and rugged commanding voice, coupled with powerful images of an unleashed Nature the likes viewers had never witnessed, bewitched Spaniards and other nationalities, for decades to come. His enduring legacy would be to imbue and imprint on younger generations his indelible passion and love in defence of Mother Nature. This constitutes all unto itself a wondrous feat, given how Félix managed single-handedly to change the whole country’s mindset, which was not particularly renowned for its love and protection of wildlife at the time (seventies). He had a soft spot for wolves, which had been driven by Authorities to the brink of total annihilation. Decades on after his death, young generations of Spanish ecologists and eco-activists, who grew up watching his show, took the torch and would follow on the path laid by him, steadily bringing back wolf packs into a land which was once their rightful domain. He would tragically meet an untimely death in a plane crash aged only 52. No accolade can honour enough what this man achieved in benefit of us all. Almost four decades on after his tragic death, he is still mourned and is credited as the father of Spanish environmentalism. There isn’t a single town in Spain who does not pride itself in having a street or plaza named after him. So much for adhering to social conventionalisms, eh?

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