Summer days out: Wildlife and Animals

30 examples of two kinds of days out with an animal theme. Choose from creatures in captivity, at zoos and petting farms, and those living in the wild, but observable at nature reserves. No prizes for guessing that we favour the latter, and, if your family shares our appetite for discovering wildlife for itself, head for the websites of the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, RSPB, county wildlife trusts, or Scottish Natural Heritage. Meanwhile, this wide selection of animal days, ranges from lambs to cuddle andcaged captives, to rare birds in the wild.

1. Amazon World, Arreton, Isle of Wight

Two hundred species of exotic animals, from parrots to giant African land snails. Daily falconry talks and displays. Open: daily, 10am. £6.50; child, £5; senior, £5.50; family (two plus two), £22. (01983 867122).

2. Ash End House Children's Farm, Tamworth, Staffordshire

Admission price includes food for the animals and a farm badge. Children can bottle-feed the lambs and hold a newly-hatched chick.

Open: daily, 10am. £3.90; child, £4.90. (0121-329 3240).

3. Beale Park, Reading, Berkshire

Extensive wildlife collection, including owls, plus national collection of model boats. River cruises available.

Open: daily, 10am. £6.50; child aged two to 15, £4.50. (0870 7777 160).

4. The Big Sheep, nr Bideford, Devon

Not one for the animal purists, this features sheep-racing (with little woollen jockeys), sheep dogs, lambs to bottle-feed, and, bizarrely, horse-whispering, plus play areas.

Open: daily, 10am. £7.50; child, £6.50; family (two plus four), £29.50. (01237 472366).

5. Blackbrook Zoological Park, Leek, Staffordshire

Special focus on birds, from swans to kookaburras.

Open: daily, 10.30am. £6.95; child, £4.25; concessions, £5.75; family (two plus two), £18.75. (01538 308293).

6. Blair Drummond Safari and Adventure Park, Stirling

Sea-lion shows, five-seater pedal boats and a boat safari to the chimpanzee island. There are also antelopes, big cats, apes and rhinos.

Open: daily, 10am. £9.50; child, £5.50; senior and concessions, £5.50. (01786 841456).

7. Caerlaverock, Dumfries and Galloway

A 1,400-acre nature reserve with hides and observation towers linked by a network of screened approaches and nature trails. Huge variety of birds. Open: daily, 10am. £4.40; child, £2.70; seniors, £3.60; family, £11.50. (01387 770200).

8. Cwm Clydach, Craig Cefn Parc, Swansea

Flycatchers and buzzards are among birds in this mixed broadleaved woodland. (01792 842927.)

9. Deen City Farm, London

Runs young farmer days where children can help out around the farm and stables. Riding school also attached.

Open: Tues-Sun, 10am. Free. (020-8543 5300).

10. Dungeness, nr Lydd, Kent

One of England's most important breeding colonies of gulls and terns. Five hides and a visitor centre.

Open: daily, 10am. £3; child, £1; family (two plus two), £6. (01797 320588).

11. Exe Estuary, nr Exeter, Devon

A great place for watching seabirds. Ferry links reserves across the Exe. (01392 824614).

12. Folly Farm, Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire

Children can milk cows and goats, and there is a zoo with zebra and other exotic animals. Plus funfair, go karts, theatre shows and pet handling.

Open: daily, 10am. £6.25; child 3-15, £5.25. (01834 812731).

13. Fowlmere, Cambridgeshire

Natural chalk springs feed the reedbeds and pools, leading to a rich variety of wildlife including kingfishers. Donation requested from non-members of RSPB. (01763 208978).

14. Freiston Shore, Boston, Lincolnshire

At high tide it is possible to get very close views of roosting birds. Skylarks and owls can also be sighted here. (01205 724678).

15. Garston Wood, Dorset

Ancient wood with turtle doves, badgers, deer and dormice. (01392 432691).

16. Glenborrodale, the Highlands

Ancient oakwood has wood warblers and other birds, with otters and seals common along the shore. (01463 715000).

17. Horton Park, Epsom, Surrey

Aimed at two- to eight-year-olds, this large farm has llamas, alpacas, ponies and pigs, plus an adventure playground.

Open: daily, 10am. Child £5.45; one adult free per paying child; additional adult, £5.30; senior, £4.45. (01372 743984).

18. Jedforest Deer and Farm Park, Jedburgh, Scottish Borders

Several herds of deer, farm animals, llamas and wallabies, in 800 acres. Good walks. Children may feed the animals.

Open: daily, 10am. £4; child, £2.50; family (two plus two), £12. (01835 840364).

19. Knowsley Safari Park, Liverpool

Five-mile safari drive with elephant paddocks, lions, tigers, plus reptile house and otter pool.

Open: daily, 10am. £9.50; child, £6.50; senior, £6.50; family (two plus two), £28. (0151-430 9009).

20. Langstone Harbour, Havant, Hampshire

Shingle islands and saltmarsh provide habitat for gulls and terns and the area is particularly popular with migrating geese. (01273 775333).

21. London Wetland Centre, Barnes

Ducks, lapwings, great-crested grebes and sand martins in 40 hectares of wetland. Miles of tracks to explore. In our view, the best day out in London.

Open: daily, 9:30am. £6.75; child, £4; family (two plus two), £17.50. (020-8409 4400).

22. National Wetlands Centre Wales, Llwynhendy, Llanelli

Hides, a maze, "water vole city". A superb place to watch dragonflies.

Open: daily, 9:30am. £5.50; child, £3.50, seniors, £4.50; family (two plus two), £14.50. (01554 741087).

23. New Forest Reptile Centre, nr Lyndhurst, Hampshire

Includes all the snake and lizard species found in Britain, including, in outdoor pens, the rare sand lizard, smooth snake and adder.

Open: daily, 10am. (02380 283141).

24. Paradise Wildlife Park, Broxbourne, Hertfordshire

Pan for gold, play safari miniature golf, and brave the new reptile house. Book and pay extra to feed the lemurs, hold meerkats and spiders or to shadow one of the keepers.

Open: daily, 9.30am. £10; concessions, £7; family of four, £32. (01992 470490).

25. Pulborough Brooks, West Sussex

Restored wet grassy meadows give refuge to thousands of ducks, geese, swans and wading birds. Nightingales are frequent visitors, and there are many species of butterfly.

Open: daily, 10am. Admission: £3.50; child, £1; student, £1.50; family (two plus two), £7. (01798 875851).

26. Rye Meads, Stanstead Abbots, Hertfordshire

This reserve is next to the river Lee and is home to kingfishers, which breed in artificial sandbanks and a colony of common terns, which nest on specially-made rafts. Tufted ducks, shovelers and green sandpipers also drop in.

Open: 10am. Free. (01992 708383).

27. Sandwell Valley, Great Barr, West Midlands

Ducks and songbirds breed here, nesting in the marshes, lakes and grasslands. Excellent visitor centre.

Open: Tue-Fri 9am, Sat-Sun 10am. Free. (0121-3577 395).

28. South Stack Cliffs, Holyhead, Anglesey

More than 4,000 seabirds breed on the cliffs at South Stack, including puffins, razorbills, ravens and guillemots.

Open: daily, 10am. Free. (01407 764973).

29. Stratford Butterfly Farm, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warks

Exotic and rare butterflies, and some of the world's strangest creepy-crawlies including scorpions and beetles.

Open: daily, 10am. £4.75; child aged three to 16, £3.75; family (two plus two), £13.95; additional child,£1.50. (01789 299288).

30. Welsh Mountain Zoo, Colwyn Bay, Clwyd

Tigers, camels, bears, the elusive red panda and lovely gardens. Open: daily, 9.30am. £7.50; child over three, £5.35; senior, £6.40; family (two plus two), £22.65. (01492 532938).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Super BowlAfter Katy Perry madness it's back to The Independent's live coverage of Super Bowl 49!
News
See what Twitter had to say about the first half of the Super Bowl
News
people
News
people
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Car Sales Executive - Franchised Main Dealer

    £30000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a great opportunity for...

    Recruitment Genius: Group Sales Manager - Field Based

    £21000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Guru Careers: Email Marketing Specialist

    £26 - 35k (DOE): Guru Careers: An Email Marketing Specialist is needed to join...

    Recruitment Genius: Tour Drivers - UK & European

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity to join a is a...

    Day In a Page

    The super-rich now live in their own Elysium - they breathe better air, and eat better food, when they're not making beans on toast for their kids

    The super-rich now live in their own Elysium

    They breathe better air, eat better food, take better medicine
    A generation of dropouts failed by colleges

    Dropout generation failed by colleges

    £800m a year wasted on students who quit courses before they graduate
    Entering civilian life 'can be like going into the jungle' for returning soldiers

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    Entering civilian life can be like going into the jungle
    Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

    Sam Taylor-Johnson: Woman on top

    Fifty Shades of Grey director on bringing the hit to the screen
    Shazam! Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

    Shazam: Story of the $1bn 'what's that song?' app

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    As in 1942, Germany must show restraint over Greece

    Mussolini tried to warn his ally of the danger of bringing the country to its knees. So should we, says Patrick Cockburn
    Britain's widening poverty gap should be causing outrage at the start of the election campaign

    The short stroll that should be our walk of shame

    Courting the global elite has failed to benefit Britain, as the vast disparity in wealth on display in the capital shows
    Homeless Veterans appeal: The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    The rise of the working poor: when having a job cannot prevent poverty
    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation? A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king

    Prince Charles the saviour of the nation?

    A new book highlights concerns about how political he will be when he eventually becomes king
    How books can defeat Isis: Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad

    How books can defeat Isis

    Patrick Cockburn was able to update his agenda-setting 'The Rise of Islamic State' while under attack in Baghdad
    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    Judith Hackitt: The myths of elf 'n' safety

    She may be in charge of minimising our risks of injury, but the chair of the Health and Safety Executive still wants children to be able to hurt themselves
    The open loathing between Barack Obama and Benjamin Netanyahu just got worse

    The open loathing between Obama and Netanyahu just got worse

    The Israeli PM's relationship with the Obama has always been chilly, but going over the President's head on Iran will do him no favours, says Rupert Cornwell
    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    French chefs get 'le huff' as nation slips down global cuisine rankings

    Fury at British best restaurants survey sees French magazine produce a rival list
    Star choreographer Matthew Bourne gives young carers a chance to perform at Sadler's Wells

    Young carers to make dance debut

    What happened when superstar choreographer Matthew Bourne encouraged 27 teenage carers to think about themselves for once?
    Design Council's 70th anniversary: Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch

    Design Council's 70th anniversary

    Four of the most intriguing prototypes from Ones to Watch