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
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Food blogger and Guardian writer Jack Monroe with her young son
people
News
people
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
Arts and Entertainment
TV
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Life and Style
The racy marketing to entice consumers to buy Fairlife, which launches in the US next month
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
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

    Investigo: Financial reporting Accountant

    £40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits : Investigo: One of the fastest growing g...

    Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luton – £25k

    25,000: Sphere Digital Recruitment: CRM Executive – Global Travel Brand – Luto...

    Investigo: Group Financial Controller

    £50000 - £55000 per annum: Investigo: A growing group of top end restaurants l...

    Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Advisor

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: Excellent opportunities are available for par...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

    Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
    Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

    Putin’s far-right ambition

    Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
    Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

    Escape to Moominland

    What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
    Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

    24-Hour party person

    Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
    Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

    A taste for rebellion

    US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
    Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

    Colouring books for adults

    How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
    Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

    Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
    Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

    Call me Ed Mozart

    Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
    10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

    From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
    Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

    Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
    'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

    'I am a paedophile'

    Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

    Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
    Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

    From a lost deposit to victory

    Green Party on the march in Bristol
    Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

    Winter blunderlands

    Putting the grot into grotto
    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

    'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

    London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital