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).

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
i100
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Life and Style
The Zinger Double Down King, which is a bun-less burger released in Korea
food + drinkKFC unveils breadless meat beast
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
The cartoon produced by Bruce MacKinnon for the Halifax Chronicle-Herald on Thursday, showing the bronze soldiers of the war memorial in Ottawa welcoming Corporal Cirillo into their midst
news
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into disastrous conflicts
Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Arts and Entertainment
A shared vision: Cerys Matthews has been familiarising herself with Dylan Thomas’s material, for a revealing radio programme
arts + entsA singer, her uncle and a special relationship with Dylan Thomas
News
In other news ... Jon Snow performed at last year's Newsroom's Got Talent charity event
people
News
i100
Life and Style
Text messaging changes as a relationship evolves
life
News
The comedian, 42, made the controversial comment following the athlete’s sentencing to five years for the culpable homicide of Reeva Steenkamp on Tuesday
peopleComedian's quip about Reeva Steenkamp was less than well received at music magazine awards
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

    Junior Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    IT Systems Analyst / Application Support Engineer (ERP / SSRS)

    £23000 - £30000 per annum + pension, 25days holiday: Ashdown Group: An industr...

    SCRUM Master

    £30 - 50k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a SCRUM Master to joi...

    Franchise Support Assistant

    £13,520: Recruitment Genius: As this role can be customer facing at times, the...

    Day In a Page

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

    Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

    Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

    Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

    The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

    Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
    Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

    Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

    The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
    The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

    Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

    The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    11 best sonic skincare brushes

    Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

    A crime that reveals London's dark heart

    How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
    Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

    Lost in translation: Western monikers

    Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
    Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

    Handy hacks that make life easier

    New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
    KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

    KidZania: It's a small world

    The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
    Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

    'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

    The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

    From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
    Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

    Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

    A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
    The 10 best smartphone accessories

    Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

    Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

    Liverpool v Real Madrid

    Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?