A Journey to Cabárceno Park: More Than Just a Zoo in Cantabria
Cabárceno Park offers an exceptional experience for those traveling to Cantabria, whether with family or solo. Situated less than 30 minutes from Santander and about an hour from Bilbao, this expansive nature reserve spans approximately 750 hectares and serves as a home to a myriad of animal species, evoking the landscapes of the African savannah and other global ecosystems.
Drawing around 600,000 visitors annually, Cabárceno Park is one of the most visited attractions in Cantabria. It's not just a conventional zoo; it's a unique space created on the grounds of a former open-pit mining operation. Unlike traditional zoos, animals here roam in large enclosures, coexisting with other species in a natural setting.
Why Visit Cabárceno Park?
The park is so expansive that it allows animals to maintain their natural behaviors. For instance, African elephants here are pioneers in reproduction thanks to the ample space and excellent care they receive. Even bears, although fed year-round, still go into hibernation.
Practical Information for Visiting Cabárceno Park
The park is located in the town of Cabárceno, in the Pisueña Valley, just 17 kilometers from Santander.
- Summer: 9:30 to 18:00
- Winter: 9:30 to 17:00 (Weekends and Holidays until 18:00)
The ideal is to dedicate a whole day to visit the Cabárceno Park. In fact, in the park itself you will find several cafes and restaurants so you can take advantage of the day.
- Do not feed or touch the animals.
- Observe a speed limit of 20 km/h within the park.
- Parking is allowed only in designated areas.
- Dogs are allowed but must be leashed and are restricted from certain areas.
Visitors can explore the park by private car or bicycle, with numerous parking areas conveniently located next to viewpoints. Alternatively, guided tours are available for those interested in a more informative experience.
Experiencing Cabárceno Park
The park offers more than 20 kilometers of roads that wind through gorges, lakes, and striking rock formations, leading to various animal enclosures. Two cable car lines are included in the admission price, offering panoramic views of animals like elephants, hyenas, watusi, and cobos lichi on Line I, and bears, zebras, and hippopotamuses on Line II.
- For a unique experience, try to get on cable car number 1, which has a transparent floor.
- If you're interested in bears, plan to be at their enclosure at 14:00 hours when they are fed. It's a spectacle not to be missed.
- For an unforgettable experience, consider booking a private safari tour within the park. Though not cheap, it offers a thrilling, close-up view of the animals.
- Cabárceno Park is not just a place to observe animals; it's a destination for a full day of family fun. The park features recreational areas, picnic spots, viewpoints, cafeterias, and restaurants.
Moreover, Cabárceno Park is a hub for scientific research and conservation efforts, particularly concerning endangered species. It collaborates with various universities and conservation centers, making it a must-visit for anyone interested in wildlife conservation.