A family-friendly science park located minutes from Central Grenada, with an amazing array of galleries and living exhibits
Our daughter has picked up a pamphlet at our hotel about the bio-dome at the Parque de la Ciencias in Granada and had been pushing to there ever since. On our last day in town, we buckled under the pressure and decided to talk a gentle walk there (it is baking hot in Granada in the summer
The Parque de las Ciencias (the Science Park) is huge, much more than the Biodomo, which had bought us here. The park had an indoor section with several exhibit halls dedicated to different themes, one of them being the Biodomo. We had some while to wait before our timed entry to the Biodomo, so we headed into a pavilion with an interesting title; ‘WOW!’ This exhibit was dedicated to the movement of animals and had an amazingly creative display of taxidermy, the most spectacular being a pack of lions hunting zebra.
After getting to meet the stuffed creatures of ‘WOW’ our next experience was the Biodomo, with some real lives beasties. It was a small, but perfectly formed exhibit that started with marine creatures from jellyfish to sharks, and from there we were taken on a journey through an exotic jungle where we got closeup and personal with muntjac deer, ring-tailed lemurs and toucans. The display was set out in a number of small enclosures which blended into one another and created a feeling of one contiguous space.
Lemurs are shy animals and largely spend a lot of time clinging to each other and hugging trees, but on this day they had decided to venture out and explore their enclosure, using the handrails of the walkway to get around. They were very cute but I am sure would give you a nasty nip or scratch if you got too close.
The birds in the Biodomo were free to roam. A Scarlet Ibis was busy nest building, not caring about the passing visitors and the cheeky toucan had a fondness for using the handrail as a perch.
As we left the Biodomo we were treated to an impromptu performance of a passing opera singer accompanied by a pianist – it was spectacular. From here we moved outside. The raptor display was next on the schedule. The experience was very much the same as the dozens we had been to in the past, except delivered in highly animated Spanish, of which we didn’t understand a word, but that made it all the more fun! My favourites were the vultures, who because of their clipped wings (yes, that is cruel!) were restricted to hopping across the ground, making them look very comical.
After a quick stop at the butterfly exhibit, we headed back to the cool, air-conditioned indoors. To end our visit we toured two more pavilions; one about robots and one on human anatomy. The former took us through the evolution of mechanical aid to the present state of robotic technology, which included some rather interesting looking bomb disposal vehicles and the latest advances in prosthetics. There were also a couple of not very helpful robots patrolling the floor, supposedly there to assist in finding exhibits, but they were a magnetic draw for kids and were continually being hijacked. The human anatomy exhibit was fantastic and covered everything from the cardiovascular system to bodily functions to reproduction. It was very interactive and even as adults, we found it to be very educational. Being in Europe the displays we less conservative than you would find in the United States, openly showing sexual organs and childbirth. Come on America! It is okay to show these very natural things; it won’t damage your children irreparably.
About Parque de las Ciencias
El Parque de las Ciencias (The Science Park) is a 70,000 m² science centre and museum, located just a few minutes walk from the historic centre of Granada. Since its inauguration in 1995, it has been the most visited museum in Andalusia. More than 11 million people already know its facilities, a figure that has consolidated it as an international reference centre for scientific dissemination in southern Europe. It is open all year, from Tuesday to Sunday and holidays, and offers activities and exhibitions for all audiences.
|Address:||Avenida Ciencia s/n, 18006 Granada, Spain|
|Telephone:||T: +34 958 13 19 00|
|Hours:||Tuesday to Saturday: 10 am to 7 pm, Sunday: 10 am to 3 pm|
|Fees – Museum + BioDome:||General Admission: € 11.00; Reduced Admission (over 65 years or under 18 years) € 9.00|
Getting to Granada
If you want to fly to Granada airport, you need to catch an international flight to Barcelona or Madrid and then a domestic flight to Granada. There are many more flights to Málaga so many people fly to Málaga and then catch a bus or hire a car
It is best to use public transport to get to Granada. The bus is faster than the train. Buses leave from Málaga bus station and arrive at Granada bus station. The journey takes between 90 minutes (11.56€) and 120 minutes (13.86€). The price of a return ticket is double the price of a one-way ticket so there is no saving in buying a return.
Remember that the only point in having a car in the centre of Granada is for going on excursions. Once you are in the centre of Granada you can walk everywhere or get a taxi. Parking your car in a public car park will normally cost at least 25 euros per day but a new car park has opened which costs 40 euros per week.
The Spanish road network has improved a lot in the last 20 years and there are good roads to all other Spanish cities. It takes about 5 hours to Madrid, 11 hours to Barcelona, 90 minutes to Málaga
Best time to visit Granada
The best time to visit Granada is in May and June as well as September and October. From May to June, temperatures are cool, flowers are fully bloomed and some of the city’s biggest cultural events fill up the calendar. Though summer in Spain may sound like a romantic idea, Granada’s position in the southern tip of Europe yields daily temps in the 80s and 90s during July and August, making for a potentially uncomfortable getaway. Winter is an option for those seeking off-peak deals, but with the nearby skiing available at the Sierra Nevada Mountains, prices may vary depending on where you’re staying. In addition to May and June, September and October are also ideal times to visit. These months boast temperatures similar to those seen in spring but come nightfall, temperatures from October onward get cooler and cooler.
Where to stay in Granada
1. HOTEL PALACIO DE SANTA PAULA
An upscale option for your stay in Granada is the Hotel Palacio de Santa Paula, Autograph Collection is on Granada’s Gran Vía, a main street through the historic centre. It occupies the former 14th-century Casa Morisco, and 16th-century Santa Paula Convent, with its impressive cloister.
The hotel is a protected building, which retains features from the past, mixed with luxury modern facilities. It has a gym, sauna and Turkish bath.
2. HOTEL CASA 1800 GRANADA
Ideally located in the Albaicin district of Granada, Hotel Casa 1800 Granada is located a few steps from San Juan de Dios Museum, 350 feet from Albaicin and 1,300 feet from Granada Cathedral. With a shared lounge, the 3-star hotel has air-conditioned rooms with free WiFi.
Popular points of interest near Hotel Casa 1800 Granada include Paseo de los Tristes, Alhambra and Generalife and Basilica de San Juan de Dios.
3. ECO HOSTEL & CO-WORKING
ECO Hostel & Coworking is not just accommodation, it´s an experience. A place made by and for travellers and families. Designed for digital nomads and adventurers who want to socialize and enjoy the vibes of a hostel but with spacious, cool rooms and private areas to rest, enjoy or work. Big common areas with plenty of different options to spend your time in a funky and relaxing environment making it easy to connect with travellers, combining ECO-friendly accommodation and social hostel atmosphere ECO Hostel & Coworking is located in a beautiful 1900 Modernist building completely renovated but preserving the essence and soul of the house. An Andalusian jewel that has 4 floors: on the ground floor is the front desk, a cafeteria, a patio and a beautiful Coworking space.