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Things to do with kids in Costa del Sol

Water, animals, bright open spaces and dark and spooky ones will excite kids on days out in Costa del Sol. You can see more wildlife than you bargained for in parks and on mountain-tops, delve into gloomy caves or splash about in waterparks.

Read on to find some brilliant places to add to your family holiday itinerary.

Play parks with wildlife on the side

There are some beautiful parks to take children to in Costa del Sol.

Torremolinos' Parque La Bateria has play areas and a tower to scale, and Molino de Inca Botanical Gardens boast an old mill and ponds full of fish.

But the green space that's raved about is Parque de la Paloma, or Dove Park, in the centre of Benalmadena. Covering 200,000 square metres, the selling point for kids is the wild animals – rabbits, guinea pigs, peacocks, parrots and chickens all roam freely for them to pet.

You can also spot donkeys, pelicans, emus, goats, plus plenty of ducks and turtles at the large central lake. And everyone will be in awe of the almost four-metre cacti in the cactus garden.

Animals of all shapes and sizes

If you have some mini animal lovers in your household, Costa del Sol animal park options include everything from insects to the Big Five.

See 1,500 fluttering butterflies at Butterfly Park in Benalmadena among Thai-themed waterfalls and tropical plants. You can also see butterflies hatching in the nursery as well as hunt for eggs and caterpillars among the foliage.

But if it's safari-style animals you want, head to Estepona's Selwo Aventura. Explore the vast park with a guide by foot or in an all-terrain vehicle to see white rhinos, lions, elephants, giraffes and more. Then let the kids loose on the adventure area with ziplines, hanging bridges and trampolines.

Flying high

Not only will the kids love the 15-minute cable car ride from Benalmadena up to the peak of Mount Calamorro, but they'll also be fascinated by the bird of prey displays at the top.

The Garden of the Eagles has 160 different species, including golden eagle, bald eagle and griffon vulture, and holds a falconry exhibition with some of the graceful birds twice daily during summer.

You can also see the Bay of Malaga and all the way across to the African coastline line from the 771-metre-high summit.

Magical ancient caves

The Cuevas de Nerja network of caves and walkways runs for five kilometres underneath Nerja, with the most significant finds open to the public.

They include the world's largest stalagmite at 32 metres high and 13 metres at its widest point. The museum tells of the caves' formation five million years ago and how they acted as a dwelling up until the Bronze Age, as well as housing hyenas at times.

Coloured lighting highlight the magnificent natural wonders and certain chambers occasionally host orchestral concerts and theatre productions.

Cool them down and wear them out

Of the three main waterparks and lots of smaller ones to choose from in Costa del Sol, Aqualand Torremolinos wins the award for being the biggest and best.

Just a five-minute drive from town, it has 15 slides for kids and 19 more you can have a go on, if you dare. The 22-metre high Kamikaze slide might have you doubting yourself at the top, so instead try the enclosed twister or rapids on a dinghy. Splash together in the wavepool or have a game of minigolf.

If you're staying west of Torremolinos you could head to one of the eight Costa Water Park inflatable courses instead. Fun for kids and grown-ups, try to get as far as you can, or just whizz down the slides into the sea.

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