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“Compact but plenty to see”
Review of Zoo Santo Inacio

Zoo Santo Inacio
Certificate of Excellence
More attraction details
Attraction details
Recommended length of visit: More than 3 hours
Owner description: Zoo Santo Inácio is the largest and greenest zoo in Northern Portugal and is located only 10 minutes away from Porto, at Vila Nova de Gaia. With barely more than a decade of existence and more than 1.5 million visitors, Zoo Santo Inácio is already the reference zoo in Northern Portugal. Find out more about Lions, Snow Leopards, Cheetahs, Camells, Humboldt Penguins, Pygmy Hippopotamus, Spider Monkeys, Crocodiles, Tarantulas, among many other animals and enjoy amazing Birds of Prey, Reptiles and Wildlife Demonstrations, and the funny Penguin Feeding.A fun day guaranteed!
Useful Information: Bathroom facilities, Wheelchair access, Activities for older children, Food available for purchase, Activities for young children
Reviewed 2 April 2018

A lovely zoo with many animals- including lots of big cats and all the usual animals- except elephants.The zoo cost us 12 euros from Gaia as it is hard to get to on public transport.There were several animal feeding sessions throughout the day and there was a great Perspex lion tunnel,where the lions lie in the sun.You can really get close up to the lions here.Food and drink prices are very reasonable too.Entrance 14.5 euros

Thank sproffitt00
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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"prairie dogs"
in 5 reviews
"free shuttle"
in 3 reviews
"reptile house"
in 2 reviews
"birds of prey"
in 2 reviews
"tunnel"
in 8 reviews
"lion"
in 4 reviews
"enclosures"
in 3 reviews
"snow"
in 2 reviews
"nature"
in 3 reviews
"driver"
in 2 reviews
"picnic"
in 2 reviews
"demonstration"
in 2 reviews
"wild"
in 2 reviews
"cathedral"
in 2 reviews
"exhibits"
in 2 reviews
"restaurant"
in 6 reviews
"gaia"
in 3 reviews
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Reviewed 28 August 2017 via mobile

Website advertise that there is a free shuttle service. However the shuttle bus can only fit around 8 people. We were the third family and there was no space on the bus.

Pls note that you get priority to the shuttle if you buy the tickets in advance.

The bus was late as it arrived at 10.25 rather than 10.00 as stated on the website.

1  Thank fun00001
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 August 2017 via mobile

There's a really big variety of animals, places to rest, cafe, restaurant, eating areas, big lakes and much comfort, an adventure I recommend

Thank VaniaRocha
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 July 2017

The zoo is on the outskirts of Gaia (opposite bank of the Douro River from Porto) and is not directly accessible by the Metro subway system. However, the zoo provides a very helpful free shuttle service (between 1st April and 31 October) that gets you to the zoo with ease.

The shuttle departs from the bus turnaround at the Porto Cathedral (just up the road from the Sao Bento subway station). Opposite the Cathedral, on the street corner, is a small tour company that has a zoo advertisement board outside (their staff all wear blue shirts and stand outside). You can buy your zoo tickets at this tour company and they will notify the shuttle driver that you are waiting. The scheduled shuttle departures are at 10.00, 11.00, 12.00 and 1400. The shuttle takes about 15 minutes to reach the zoo.

There is plenty to see at the zoo. We spent almost 5 hours there and could have been there longer had we attended more of the demonstrations that are scheduled through the day. Unfortunately, our 10am shuttle was running late, so we missed the 10.30am lion feeding.The 11.00am birds of prey demonstration was well done. The trainer brought out several birds, including a Bald Eagle, a vulture and an owl. All of the birds flew freely during the demo. We couldn't understand the trainer's Portuguese commentary, but the demonstration was enjoyable, nonetheless. There are other feeding times and demonstrations spread throughout the day (they are listed on the map handout brochure and on the zoo's website).

The highlight of the visit was probably the clear glass lion tunnel. It certainly gives a different perspective to lion viewing (and the lions were frequently on top of the tunnel). The lions seemed happy in their enclosure and the females were running around playing with cardboard boxes, like overgrown house cats. Unfortunately, the same couldn't be said for the African Wild Dogs, as they seemed to be pacing back and forth with little in the enclosure to stimulate them. But that was the exception to the norm. Most of the animals seemed happy and engaged, and the enclosures were clean. It was also nice to see several species mixed together in the same enclosure, such as the African Savanna exhibit (zebra, giraffe, rhino, etc.), as that is how they would be found in the wild.

The Zoo Restaurant provided a reasonable lunch. There were many groups of children at the zoo during our visit, but all of the groups were catered for in a separate section of the restaurant. That meant that only small family groups had to line up in the self-service section. Food choices included salads, sandwiches, soup, pies and some rice and pasta dishes.

The return shuttle service is scheduled for 1430, 1600, 1700 and 1800 (the zoo closes at 1900). But we were ready to leave about 1515 and let the staff at the exit booth know. They called the shuttle driver and he was there to pick us up within 15 minutes.

We had an enjoyable visit and can recommend the zoo, particularly to families with young children. Don't go on a rainy day though - most exhibits are in the open air.

3  Thank Craig M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 15 February 2017

This is a smaller than normal, but very well designed and maintained zoo. Worth the visit if you are from nearby or have some time to kill and can find it (a bit off the path).
Highlights are:
A big savannah like environment where different animals roam together.
A lions den where you can cross trough a glass tunnel
Some rare animals like tigers, cheetahs and baby hippopotamus
The prairie dogs live almost free around their enclosure and are very friendly (i dont even know how they can handle so many kids wanting to pet them).
Several animal dens are very well designed...you dont feel they are "constricted" as much as other zoos (although...there are steel bars, so...)
Very nice shows...animal feeding's, birds demos, reptiles, etc...

Thank AVSF6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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