Monte Selvagem: Not Your Average Wildlife Refuge

Adventure, activities and "happy animals doing happy things".

You don’t need to be a kid to go wild— Monte Selvagem (wild mountain) has the attention to detail that will bring out the wonder in us all. As the winding path from the wombat to the reindeer weaves in and out, so do the rough-hewn fences, treehouses, and viewing platforms hand-constructed from local materials. No one made a trip to the local Leroy Merlin but for the screws and drill bits.

The 20-hectare park is located in the Alentejano town of Lavre and it boasts a nature conservation center combining an animal reserve, an adventure park, and according to the park’s website, “pedagogical discovery project.” The best part of all is the over 300 wild and domestic species of animals that you can see there, both in pens meticulously pieced together to provide for entertaining living quarters and roaming free next to the lake. The animals found there have been confiscated by the authorities and surpluses from other similar parks.

Suffice it to say, if you’ve got a penchant for playgrounds with interactive water features, oversized handmade checkerboards, a bouncy house to put them all to shame (I want more of this in my life!), bamboo labrynths, interactive elements built into the landscape, or a smattering of happy animals doing happy animal things, then you really shouldn’t miss this place. Neither should your kids.

The park is open to the public from February to October. Check the website for times.

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