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).

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
PROMOTED VIDEO
Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
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

    SQL DBA/ C# Developer - T-SQL, C#.Net

    £45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...

    Sales and Office Administrator – Sports Media

    £23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...

    C++ Software Engineer - Hounslow, West London - C++ - to £60K +

    £40000 - £60000 per annum + Pension, Healthcare : Deerfoot IT Resources Limite...

    VB.NET and C# developer (VB.NET,C#,ASP.NET)

    £30000 - £45000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: VB.NET a...

    Day In a Page

    Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

    Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

    In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
    Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

    How has your club fared in summer sales?

    Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
    Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

    'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

    Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
    The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

    The best swim shorts for men

    Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

    Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
    Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

    Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

    Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
    Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

    Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

    When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
    5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

    In grandfather's footsteps

    5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
    Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

    Martha Stewart has flying robot

    The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
    Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

    Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

    Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
    A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

    A tale of two presidents

    George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

    The dining car makes a comeback

    Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
    Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

    Gallery rage

    How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

    Eye on the prize

    Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
    Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

    Women's rugby

    Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup