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An unforgettable ‘Swimming with Sea Lions’ experience at Rio Safari, Elche

An unforgettable ‘Swimming with Sea Lions’ experience at Rio Safari, Elche

What a truly remarkable and unforgettable experience at Rio Safari in Elche where we had the amazing opportunity to enjoy ‘Swimming with Sea Lions’. This opportunity exists due to the hard work of the ‘Rio Safari Foundation‘  which helps provide animal assisted therapy to a variety of people as part of a series of therapeutic sessions each year… For those visiting the Zoo at Rio Safari there is a daily opportunity to see these special animals at first hand….. Thankfully we managed to secure a 30 mins visit and it will certainly go down as it’s one of our highlights across the entire year across Europe.

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Seeing these magnificent animals tenderly kissing your daughters cheek or the deep smiles of joy after they’d been towed around the pool… just show how amazingly important animals can be to young children… the interaction and sheer fun of the visit is shown across each and every photograph.. but then again it’s not just the children, we loved every second of this magical opportunity too…!!!
Although our visit was about sheer pleasure and the chance to do a unique experience (this is the only place you can swim with sea lions in a similar safe, managed environment), it also gave us some real food for thought… just how fortunate we are to have this opportunity to discover Europe together as a family!!! Seeing the amazing work the occupational therapists do here is truly inspiring… Since the TAO project was started in 2006, it has helped provide magical experiences for children/adults with any number of challenging personal circumstances… to see the joy that touches their faces must be truly exhilarating for both parents, children and therapists alike.

animal assisted therapy

Its been amazing to show both of our girls just how fortunate they are personally BUT also just how important it is to offer equal opportunities for children less fortunate than themselves… such as ‘swimming with Sea Lions’

Set in an idyllic setting overlooked by palm trees, the specially adapted 15x20m pool is perfect for the therapies that last between May and September each year… There is also an intensive two week series of courses in June that focuses on socialisation, relaxation and interaction with animals through games and activities.

experiences from therapy participants

“Before arriving, the idea of group therapy intimidated us a little. But it was a fantastic experience, group games were surprisingly participatory and fun! With regards to the persons who prepare and run the therapies, they are both great professionals and extraordinary people with great dedication. Thank You”

“It was a beautiful, very positive experience. Aimer was great, we disconnected and spent moments of fun, complicity and love together as a family. Thank you so much”

And whats more amazing is that this is all free for those families that need this type of support… the Foundation exists to offer opportunities to families from across the world! They’ve helped over 2000 people since 2006 and last year managed an impressive 330 people!!
Its growing as an opportunity to shine a little happiness into lives and we’ve loved the opportunity to share this as part of our families experiences across Europe. Will we speak glowingly of this to others? Absolutely! This is the very essence of what we believe should be widely open to families that need a chance to have a little fun in what must be at times a challenging everyday life… Will we continue to stay in touch? We really hope so, it has truly inspired both girls who have plans to try and raise money to help this amazing Foundation…
Once again,this European Adventure throws us an opportunity to see beyond our own experiences and broaden our horizons… 

Elche safari park

so where did we park the bus for the night?

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About The Author


Ever wanted to pack your bags, just jump in a motorhome and go off and explore Europe as a family? Well, that’s exactly what my family has done since September 2015. Visiting 35 European countries, travelling over 54,000 miles and grabbing over 450 family experiences on the way… enjoying Bobsleigh in Norway, Climbing into Mt Etna in Sicily or Kayaking the River Dordogne.

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