Animal lovers are certain to find something of interest in Cyprus all year round. The island is home to a number of large zoos that offer a loving home to exotic animals, donkey farms, where one can play with a donkey and try donkey milk products, camel and ostrich farms as well as an aquarium. We have put together a list of the best places for a family visit.
Limassol Zoo is located at 28 Oktovriou, 307/7 in the center of the city. You won’t find any cages or cold concrete walls there. Instead, animals are housed in spacious enclosures made of rock, wood and other natural material that aims to recreate their original environment.
The zoo not only provides an opportunity to meet exotic and rare animals, birds and reptiles, but is also home to a full-scale research and conservation center, where students of different ages can participate in educational programs, attend lectures and group trips. There is a petting zoo for younger children, where they can practice taking care of domesticated animals. And if you are tired or hungry, stop by the Flamingo Cafe overlooking the sea.
Limassol Zoo is open all year round and can be enjoyed in the summer as well as in the winter.
Melios Pet Park opened in Nicosia in 2000. Its large collection of birds was first started by Menelaos Menelaou, whose passion for birds started when he was only eight years old and eventually led to the creation of the largest bird park in Cyprus. All of the birds are housed in large outdoor cages and include species such as hawks, eagles, falcons, vultures, owls, pelicans, pigeons, parrots, flamingo, sparrows and many others.
The bird park gradually grew to the size of a full-scale zoo and finally became home to dozens of different animals that include deer, alpacas, kangaroos, mouflons, zebus, capybaras and many others.
There is a pet store selling food and supplies for family pet owners as well as professional bird breeders. You can also choose a pet to take home from a variety of animals such as bunnies, chinchillas, canaries, finches and many others.
There is a family-friendly cafe with a children’s playground as well as picnic tables for those who like to bring their own food.
The park is open all year round. Please purchase your ticket at the ticket window.
Pafos Zoo is located in Peyia village, near Paphos. Just like the zoo in Nicosia, it started as a private collection of birds belonging to Christos Christoforous. Later Christoforous decided to open the zoo to the public with the goal of inspiring people to appreciate and protect wild nature.
Paphos Zoo boasts one of the largest collections of parrots and venomous snakes in the entire Europe. It is also home to lions, tigers, giraffes, mouflons, souricats, kangaroos, elephants and a variety of different apes. Fans of reptiles can enjoy an exhibition of crocodiles, snakes and turtles.
A live show featuring parrots and owls takes place three times a day. There is also a small petting zoo, where you can touch and feed domesticated animals and a souvenir shop selling various memorabilia. In addition to this, the museum houses a museum of natural history, a cafe, a restaurant, a cactus garden and a children’s playground.
The zoo is open all year round. Working hours differ per season.
Dipotamos is one of the largest donkey farms in Cyprus open to the public. It is located in Skarinou (the outskirts of Larnaca) and was recently merged with the Golden Donkeys farm. The owners of the farm aimed to provide a safe home for the animals while seeking to preserve the rural traditions of the island.
The farm is surrounded by a garden, where the owners grow oregano, basil, lavender and other herbs. There is a small winery, an olive mill, a traditional Cypriot house with vintage furniture, a wax museum, a restaurant and an outdoor theater.
The farm itself is home to 200 donkeys, all of whom have their own name and unique personalities, as the farm owners claim. There is a shop selling products made with donkey milk, which is said to be rich in vitamins and to have wide-ranging anti-inflammatory properties.
The Camel Park at Mazatos is located outside of Larnaca (only 15 minutes from Larnaca Airport). Visitors are welcome to treat the camels to a bite of carob, which is sold at the kiosk next to the entrance. You can also go on a supervised camel ride.
In addition to the camels, the farm is also home to ponies, donkeys and adorable baby camels.
There is a children’s playground with carousels and rides as well as a pool table for adults. You can also visit a traditional Cypriot home located on the premises, get something to eat at a local cafe or go shopping at the gift store.
For those who like horses and want to ride one while enjoying mountaintop views of Cyprus, there is Eagle Mountain Ranch, which is located in Mesogi village near Paphos. Visitors can take horse-riding classes (available in different languages) or join a half-day horseback tour of the area.
If you are traveling or staying near Protaras, you can also visit a mini-zoo located in its vicinity in Kapparis village. The zoo is home to a variety of animals, such as peacocks, owls, donkeys, monkeys and many others. There is a sightseeing deck located near the zoo, so you can enjoy breathtaking views of the ghost town Famagusta after your trip to the zoo. You can also stop by a nearby cafe, in case you are hungry.
Donkey Farm Avgorou is located 30 kilometers from Protaras near the Achna Dam. You can feed or ride one of its donkeys, meet the local peacocks or hang out at the children's playground.
And if you are a fan of marine life, then you should head to Protaras Ocean Aquarium to meet the piranhas, crocodiles, sea turtles, sting-rays, alligator gars and many other fascinating creatures that live there. The aquarium is also home to a group of birds (parrots, quails, pigeons and penguins) as well as a raccoon. Host a birthday party for your child there or visit its cafe or gift shop.