I know what you probably think – Butterfly Park – how exciting could that be for an adult, right?
Well, you couldn’t be more wrong!
Mariposario de Benalmadena is the largest space in Europe dedicated solely to butterflies and it is truly impressive. The sheer number of the butterflies you will see as soon as you enter is breathtaking. They buzz around looking like they just hit the rush hour on the highway and you are not sure where to look first – admire the plants, try to see one of them land on flower or follow the sound of the waterfalls coming from the back of the greenhouse.
Let me take you for a stroll because pictures tell the story better than any words.
The park is located right off the main road leading to Benalmadena Pueblo, right next to the Buddhist Temple. I’m not sure if the location was a coincidence, but the building matches the style of temple and has a lot of elements of architecture from Thailand.
There are bus connection that will allow you to get here easily, but its also accessible via short taxi ride from Fuengirola or Benalmadena Costa. Instructions on the location & driving directions here. Parking is available on the side road next to the park or close to the temple.
I highly recommend to buy tickets online as its saves you quite a bit of money, especially if you’re visiting as a family. Tickets are 10 eur for adults and 8.50 eur for kids (only under 2 go free) and you can buy them cheaper online here.
We were greeted by a lovely lady who quickly checked my ticket number from my email and handed a small leaflet for kids to track & trace the butterfly on a checklist.
Right behind the reception is a small gift shop and on your right side by the entrance you will see a small cafeteria – unfortunately closed when I visited. They have a lovely outdoor terrace overlooking the Buddhist temple.
First thing that hits you is the humidity – prepare and take off any heavy clothing before you enter. The greenhouse seems massive and its filled with plants, from ground to the roof.
The plants in here are carefully chosen to complement the lifecycle of the butterflies and create natural habitat that will help them thrive.
The plants fall into three categories – ‘host plants’ are the ones used for reproduction and feeding of the caterpillars, flowering plants which provide the much needed nectar for butterflies and rest of them are decorative plants that perfectly complement the surroundings.
All the butterflies in the park have been bred in captivity and transported at the early stages of development from places all over the world – including Costa Rica, Belize and Kenya.
75% of the butterflies in here come from their own butterfly farm in Tenerife (the dream job of ‘Butterfly Farmer’ looks like really exists), while the rest is supplied from farms around the world. The farm also provides butterflies to other parks in Spain and Europe.
There are over 1500 butterflies (of 150 different species) in the park and you really get a sense of the sheer number of them as soon as you walk in. As with any beauty – it fades with time – these butterflies have a lifespan of 2-3 weeks but are constantly being replaced by newborns.
Scroll down further to check out the ‘butterfly nursery’ station.
Due to the short life cycle of the butterflies they are constantly being replaced with new ones born here in this nursery.
You can peak through the windows to see butterflies in different stages of development, waiting to hatch, or even see some that just got out of their little shells.
This was certainly one of the highlights of the visit as you rarely get a chance to experience this in nature, yet alone in these huge numbers.
Right across the road from the park and just under the Buddhist temple is a viewing platform with gorgeous views of the coast – I imagine the sunset views from here must be spectacular!
Have I convinced you yet to visit?