Not only had our grandsons wanted to get there, I too had really wanted to get there attracted as I was by the thought of seeing lots of pretty butterflies flying around freely in their Butterfly Garden.
It was pouring down when we arrived and I was a bit concerned that much of Tropical World would be outdoors. What made me think the world "tropical" and "outdoors Donegal in the autumn" would be an idea anyone, much less a man operating an attraction here would have is a little beyond me. I was glad to hear that only one small part of Tropical World is outside. And later, as we went for a wander around there it was great to see they had provided lots of large umbrellas for those of us brave enough, or interested enough to wander into the rain.
So, Tropical World.
Inside we paid our very reasonable fee of €20 for two adults and two children and began our trip around Tropical World. I have to point out here that in such a hurry were we to get into Tropical World proper that we completely missed the rackoon compound just outside the front door! Leaving much later, we noticed it but Carlos and Minguel, the Coatimundi Rackoons were hiding inside their house.
|One of the meercats at Tropical World|
Off the reception area is a visitors information centre with a seats and a film running giving the visitor information on the exhibits in Tropical World. But more eyecatching are the huge toy polar bears which offer a great photo spot for parents to take photos of their children beside them.
|Passion flower thriving in the Butterfly Garden|
|Some of the beautiful butterflies in the butterfly garden of Tropical World|
|The delicate beauty of the Glasswing Butterfly|
|Take time to find some of the better camouflaged species in the Butterfly Garden|
At the end of the Butterfly Garden there is a little wooden bridge with water rippling below ~ an ideal place to stop to take a photo of the children and adults with you on your trip to Tropical World's Butterfly Garden.
And then out from there and into the Reptile Area. Of course this area was much more interesting to two little boys. Curious eyes peered into the various glass enclosures to try to find the lizard or snake enclosed there. I am not crazy about reptiles but that said, there were some fabulous small and slightly larger lizards to catch the eye and we ended up spending quite a while looking at and discussing them.
|Some of the lizards which can be seen at Tropical World|
In the Reptile Area too there are various breeds of tortoise together with a small pond of terrapins.
|Just some of the fabulously coloured species of bird at Tropical World|
Some of the other species include: Chinese Painted Quail, Rock Pebbler, Barraband Parakeet, Kakariki, Indian Ringneck Parakeet, Bourke's Parakeet, Red-Rumped Parakeet, and Crimson Rosella.
|One of the cactus plants in the raised cacti garden|
The Exotic Bird area concluded the inside tour of Tropical World and we exited back into Reception and then across the Reception Area to the doors to the Pet Area. Taking three large umbrellas, the youngest child just choosing to skip for shelter between the three, we passed through the picnic area which has tables and benches where visitors, on a sunnier day, can enjoy a picnic and area allowed to take their own sandwiches if they wish or alternatively buy food and drinks from the cafe there.
|One of the chipmunks in his house within a house|
The boys loved watching the little chipmunks whizzing about their house and they loved too all the different coloured rabbits munching food and playing among the sawdust on the floors of their large wooden houses.
At the end of the pet area sat a very wet, stoic looking snowy owl, called, well ... Snowy of course. Despite having a covered area he had chosen to sit getting his feathers wet in the downpour. Who said owls were wise?
Back inside, the boys enjoyed having a look around the gift area which has shelves of all manner of small animal and reptile keepsake toys to look at and there is absolutely no pressure to buy.
We then wandered back out to make our way along the entirely covered path, through the many beautiful plants on display in Alcorns Garden Centre and back out to our car, all happy with a pleasant afternoon spent at Tropical World.
THE NITTY GRITTY
Location: Just outside Letterkenny on the Ramelton Road
Open April - end of September
Opening Times: Monday - Saturday 10 - 5.30 (last admission 4.30), Sunday 1 - 5.30 (last admission 4.30)
Entry fees (2011) Adult €12. Children under 14 €6.50. Family (2 adults/2 children) €20. Children under 3 years of age, free. School/youth groups €6 per child and teacher/leader free.
Disabled Access: All ramped but inside there is bark chippings on the floor which may make wheelchair progress slow (but still possible).
Parking: Ample parking and no charge
Lavatories: Yes, beside Reception Area
Cafe: Yes (closed Sundays). Also picnic area where visitors can bring their own food.
Contact Details: Tel: +353-74-21655
Website: Tropical World Letterkenny