Located in Avintes, Vila Nova de Gaia – less than 10 minutes from the city of Oporto – Zoo Santo Inácio is very well designed and maintained zoo with more than 800 animals. This Portuguese wildlife park tries to bring the community closer to nature and wildlife and has reached this year 1,5 million visitors.
Quinta de Santo Inácio, where the Zoo is located, was originally a big farm and family estate established in 1702 by the van Zeller, a family of Dutch roots who settled in Porto to dedicate themselves to the Port wine trade. The farm was transformed into a zoo, which opened its doors on June 10, 2000, under the name Zoo Santo Inácio. The space, besides the zoo itself, has a house-museum, gardens, a grove, a restaurant, a bar and a picnic park.
The park home for 270 species – some endangered, including Snow Leopards, Pigmy Hippopotamus, Cotton-top Tamarin, Humboldt Penguin, Southern white rhinoceros and Bactrian Camels.
In 2014, the Portuguese wild life park became part of the French Thoiry Group and made a huge expansion including a savannah like area and a world-class lion glass tunnel, taking you right into the middle of the lion enclosure. In the glass tunnel you are an inch way from the untamed predators. Also Zoo Santo Inácio has lots of prairie dogs that are not in an enclosure, they just run about on the grass.
There is room for improvements. The park is not very well served by transports. Only a bus from Oporto. The restaurant in not very good, but you can try to have a picnic. But all in all this Zoo is a definite must for zoo lovers, and animal lovers in general.
By Ana Rita Mendes 7/4/2017
Location: R. 5 de Outubro 4503, 4430-809 Avintes
Tickets: 14,50€ from 13 to 64 years old
Open all year except 25 December and throughout the month of January. From 10h to 19h during the Summer.Top Rides
Lion glass tunnel