There are zoological gardens and there is Rio Safari in Elche. It's not a giant zoo, but very welcoming and especially for kids. Here visitors have the possibility to both pat many of the animals and even take a ride on different species. Why not give your kids a ride on a dromedary or on a pony if they are afraid of heights?
They also have a safari, several really good shows with sea lions, elephants, parrots etc. The visitors are also in most cases allowed to feed the animals while walking through the park, as long as it's peanuts bought in the zoo. Good to know is that they are also very affordable to buy, like most of the things they have for sale.
If you never have fed a giraffe, here you will get many opportunities. If you want to impress on your friends, you can even feed her from your mouth. She's very kind and careful, so it is almost totally without risk.
For an additional fee, there is also possible to feed the small monkeys in there cage, swim with the sea lions, sit on an elephant or cuddle with a big snake.
Rio Safari also has many animals that the kids will recognize from other places than a zoo, like horses, donkeys, goats, cows, pigs, sheep, bunnies and guinea pigs.
By the entrée there is also a good water park where you can enter for free on the same ticket.