This week we’ve found a couple of great destinations for the family. On Wednesday we went to Amerton Farm, enjoying a walk around their animal rescue centre – for £2.50 we came face to face with some garden birds including a magpie that said hello, we met a baby fox, saw some owls/birds of prey/parrots, hand fed some wandering chickens and made friends with some very forlorn looking ducks that were being nurtured back to fitness in their new home. It provided a great opportunity to identify the birds that we normally see flitting in and out of the garden and a chance to walk with the chickens. There’s also a few farm animals, an excellent playbarn with climbing walkways, sit on tractors and a huge bouncy castle, and a couple of craft workshops where you can make something to take home including handprint mugs. With some extra shops, a weekend steam train and a lovely tearoom it makes a cheap day out for all!
Even better for wildlife (although a little dearer and further afield) was Blackbrook Zoological Park just outside Leek, Staffordshire. This is again mainly birds (following our love of our feathered friends) but it provides a home to pelicans, penguins, flamingos and peacocks, wetland birds from all over the world and lots of long-legged stork type birds. These are interspersed with a few animals including some friendly big tortoises, a family of meerkats and a guinea pig patch which you can climb in with and handle for as long as they’ll take it! I’ve never seen as many peacock exhibitionists in one place before so you’re certain to see their feathered displays and there was even a white peacock. I don’t think I’ve been to a venue like this that is more child friendly – everything could be viewed at a low level so nobody really needed to be picked up, the pathways were interesting and varied and the picnic areas were never far from something of interest. A big thank you to the staff too who went out of their way to make us feel welcome and earn a recommendation from TonkyTots to anyone who is travelling in that direction 🙂