Monday, July 16, 2012

Palmitos Park, Gran Canaria - Part 1

One day of my vacation in Gran Canaria this year - the best, I think I had during those two weeks.
It was a hot day - too hot - with little wind to go to the beach. So, instead a visit to the Palmitos park was done. 
This park had burned down in 2007 and then was re-built, most of the animals had survived. Loss was mostly to buildings and some plants. (They had a photo gallery in the picnic area. Not many even looked at it, I forgot to take photos of it.) This park is now a combination of zoo and botanic garden with many variations of cactus and palm tress as specialty. 

The path is laid as a one way track with some short cuts if you do not want to see the shows. 
There are three of them: A "bird of prey in free flight", a Dolphin show and one with parrots. 
With the parrots they also did a surprise photo (shortly after the entry before you even have seen any animals, which you then could buy when leaving the park - and most of the people had awful expressions and didn't retrieve their photo) and also photos where the parrots where placed on you. 
This was awesome to watch. The parrots being picked up at their beaks and they knew with only a few signs and words where to stay - some even lay on their backs on outstretched hands of people that were total strangers to them. Those that were not being used in the photo sat on their branch holds next to the handler, watching and eagerly waiting for their turn. Of course, as those photos were being bought by the persons on them it was not allowed to make photos of this and it was very well "hidden" all around except for the entry to this photo area where the handler could observe all persons passing as well.

The park is situated outside of the town a bit inland in a dead end canyon. Either you go there by taxi, which is rather expensive, or you go by public bus that goes there about 4 times in the morning and leaves from there hourly from lunchtime on until the park closes. And it does not cost more than a snack. 

Just before you enter the park there is a small shady area (for waiting) with a small water fall.
This place in itself is already worth the 30 minute trip with the bus. 
After paying the fee, being surprised photographed when passing the first animal, a parrot, you actually enter the zoo part. Compared to German zoos you get very close to the animals - some behind thick glass, most just in strong wire cages. But, sadly, most of the animals are left singly - no partner and no other animal within the same cage (except for the birds).

Following some shots of the different animals (taken with 2 different cameras). And some of those smaller animals were wild ones that lived at the zoo outside the cages out of their own choice (and because of the surplus of water and food to be found in this well kept area):

A  Komodo dragon -- at least 3 m long sitting right behind the glass wall; the first animal you met after entering the path.
Flamingos - together with some ducks and a single pelican (not on the photo). 

Two turtles - about 1m long only, "babies"!
A sparrow feeding of the dish for some other birds.
free living lizard
Another one basking in the sun before running off into the cooler shade again. 
A swan -- there were 2 of them in a shallow pond of about 4 m²!

I called for the owl to turn its head - and it did until I was done and then looked away again. No others wanting to take a photo while I was still close had a chance for this.
This one had its fun to pick up mud and fling it through the cage openings at anyone standing too close. 
Having some ice on a stick as snack in the heat. Surprisingly there was only those metal  "bush" or "tree" like things and a shallow water filled ditch to prevent all apes (some smaller ones, not on this photo - but noChimpanzees or gorillas) from leaving their area.

Impressions from the 3 shows; they were guided through in 3 languages - Spanish, English and German (which had a very strong Dutch accent):
The "Birds of Prey":

This eagle (female) was "allowed" to fly into the cliffs facing the park - and came back at the end of the show.
The dolphins have their own photo essay part: Palmitos Park, Gran Canaria - Part 2, the Dolphinarium

To see the parrot show would mean a wait for over an hour - after having seen all of the park and even had a small lunch at the restaurant there (which was a bit more expensive than at the beach but tasted very well); a wait that was too long in the heat. But I did get a photo of all of them waiting:
They were not chained down to their sticks, soft music was running and they looked rather bored and / or tired

Then there was a butterfly house, an Orchid house and an aquarium and all those cacti and palm tress and other plants. This too will get their own photo essay. (part 3 - still writing on that and sorting the photos)

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