Just a short journey by car from Coimbra to Miranda do Corvo awaits the biological Park – Parque Biológico da Serra da Lousã. This is not your ordinary zoo displaying various exotic animals living in confined spaces. It is solely representing the wildlife found in Portugal. The animals occupy vast plots of land in a rural and rugged landscape, which mirrors they natural habitat. Only the pack of wolves at the very top of the hillside are fenced in to protect other animals and visitors. They can be quite challenging to detect though, but once you discover a wolf getting within close proximity, likely, another is slowly sneaking up on you from the other side. They are some 50 different kinds of animals living there, and it is very safe to walk around the complex, but watch your steps because the terrain is rugged.
The park also prides itself on having the most extensive Pedagogical farm housing over 30 species of traditional agropastoral breeds. Visitors will also enjoy a labyrinth of fruit trees and a beautiful garden with all types of flowers and crops. An interesting museum about human evolution is located right at the entrance. This morphs into a hall of copper craft and later on a display of technologic advancements depicting milestones in history.
The idea behind this project is multi-purpose. One of its missions is to educate the public about Nature. More specific to promote biophilia, and thus raise awareness of how important it is to protect and shelter our precious Natural habits. Their second mission is to integrate people with disabilities, mental illness and/or chronic diseases. I had the opportunity to sit down with some of the community members who shared their life stories with me and also explained what the farm has means to them at this point in their life. It was very touching, and once again manifested my belief in the fact that the only handicap in this world one can suffer from is a bad attitude.
One guide enlightened me about Hippotherapy, which is a form of neuromuscular therapy that can improve the posture and coordination of a child with disabilities. There have been many successful cases where this technique has worked and Quinta da Paiva’s intention is also to “bring back” this therapeutic custom, – this method can be traced back to the Greek civilisation!
The guides are very proud of their ‘Quinta’, animals and eager to show off their hard work in the field! Also, their handicraft, at the small stands, includes “homemade” shoes, pottery, clothes, baskets, furniture, figurative woodwork and jewellery to the visitors. Are you kidding me? Wow, most of their stuff was impressive and not expensive. Quinta da Paiva is now internationally acclaimed by representing Portugal after winning the national competition for the European Enterprise Awards in the Human Investment category in 2007. It is the ADFP foundation behind this successful project, and they got my utmost respect. You can read more about their project on
My overall experience was superb, and next time I am in the area, I am definitely going to pay all my friends at the ‘Quinta’ a visit.
Did I mention the park also has a hotel now??
Click below to learn more your next stay at this great place
Once again, a HUUUUGE thank you to all of the guides, people at the Quinta, workers and volunteers, not to mention the ADFP Foundation for this unique experience.