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Where to take 'wildlife' mad child?

(33 Posts)
Gunznroses Thu 03-Oct-13 17:56:45

Ds2 is absolutely passionate about anything to do with wildlife. Nat Geo is his favourite tv channel and is becomming a bit of an expert on animal habitat lifecycles etc. He is also into spotting rare birds, over summer we breeded catepillars and watched them turn into butterflies.

Ive recently subscribed him to Nat Geo kids magazine but does anyone have ideas where i can take him to visit, possibly meet other like minded individuals, are there kids clubs or associations ? We have a local RSPB group but doesnt sound very.....exciting? Are there any MUST join or visit places?

HavantGuard Thu 03-Oct-13 17:59:47

How old is he? What area of the UK are you in (roughly).

HavantGuard Thu 03-Oct-13 18:10:53

Some RSPB centres and WWT centres are very good. Others less so. Some of them are best in summer, some in winter. Your local area will also have a wildlife trust (try putting your county name followed by wildlife trust into google) that lists sites that often aren't much more than places to walk but can be very pleasant and good at particular times of year for example when the waterfowl have young or in the summer for butterflies and dragonflies.

Check out the places in your area online. The WWT and bigger RSPB places have special children's days and events during school holidays when they'll do group activities like pond dipping and guided walks with an expert on hand so you get a break from being asked the questions.

HavantGuard Thu 03-Oct-13 18:12:11

If you want to try out a WWT place the last time I checked you could use Tesco vouchers to cover the entry price.

HavantGuard Thu 03-Oct-13 18:13:04

At Barnes at least.

HavantGuard Thu 03-Oct-13 18:16:53

RSPB reserves by area
WWT centres by area

lottiegarbanzo Thu 03-Oct-13 18:31:14

The Wildlife Trusts have children's clubs in every county, with lots of activities throghout the year and they have a lot of nature reserves in every county. Google your county Wildlife Trust.

lottiegarbanzo Thu 03-Oct-13 18:32:56

Where to go depends on where you are. There are a lot of spectacular places around the UK and lots of interesting smaller ones as well. Can you give us an idea of location?

bebanjo Thu 03-Oct-13 18:54:43

How far are you from a canel, river, pond, woodland, waist ground, park, stately home, open fild, the floristry commission land, a reservoir?
Anywhere that is outside and green will do.

Gunznroses Thu 03-Oct-13 19:10:23

Thank you! Lots of good information, we're in Herts. Ds is 9.

ErrolTheDragon Thu 03-Oct-13 19:17:21

Second Wildlife Trust - if you've got a local group that might suit him very well.

devonsmummy Thu 03-Oct-13 19:23:11

Rye Meads nature reserve in Hoddesdon
Run by the RSPB it has a wide variety of birds to observe in their natural habitats - including a pair of kingfishers that nest in the bank.
Lots of different hides to stop & view in.
There's even an otter hide (not spotted any yet though!)
My kids are 4 & 6 and both love it there.
Plus it's free - just pay £2 for parking

Taz1212 Thu 03-Oct-13 19:30:07

See if anywhere near you runs bat walks! Our local country park does them and we took DC on one at the end of August. They absolutely loved it! They got to hold bat detectors which bleeped every time they picked up bats "chirping" and then they cold watch the bats swooping around them. Great fun!

BlissfullyIgnorant Thu 03-Oct-13 19:38:12

How about a simple, easy hire cottage in the Lake District or one of the many country parks? One can spot all manner of things. The country park HQs and Visitor Centres will have walk maps and guide books. We went to North York Moors a few years ago and DS (then 12) said he lived it and it was the best holiday he'd ever had. Whitby was fab for rock pool hunting (live starfish and crabs!) although not in the park but there was tons to see and do - my fave was the ride in the steam train from Goathland, aka Hogwarts Station past moorland and beautiful villages.

Gunznroses Thu 03-Oct-13 20:19:00

Thank you so much, lots of very good tips. Will start by finding out about our local WWT and visiting Rye Meads. The bat walk sounds like something Ds will absolutely love.

Department Thu 03-Oct-13 20:33:26

My DS is a Junior Range at our local wildlife trust and also at the country park (both once a month on different weekends)

He loves it.

Cubs/Scouts is great for this kind of thing too

Noggie Thu 03-Oct-13 23:15:42

Family holiday to the isle of Islay? (I grew up there- amazing and lots of wildlife!)

ErrolTheDragon Thu 03-Oct-13 23:38:42

Or Mull - we were there this may and saw ~60 bird species (inc 2 types of eagle), seals, otters, porpoises, and a whale! We're probably going back next year.

Clavinova Fri 04-Oct-13 10:23:37

The WWT centre at Barnes (as mentioned by HavantGuard) is fab and we love our visits there - a whole day out with activities in the school holidays - well worth a special trip on a nice day. They have an annual pass which you can use to visit other WWT centres.

iseenodust Fri 04-Oct-13 10:30:46

Agree Wildlife Watch (junior Wildlife Trust). DS has enjoyed releasing traps for water voles, pond dipping, bat walk with sound equipment, rock pooling, met owls, visited a heronry, built dens.... you get the idea. All with experts for free!

ReallyTired Fri 04-Oct-13 10:37:47

Boxmoor trust does some lovely weekend and summer holiday activites.

Artesia Fri 04-Oct-13 10:42:55

Have you tried Ashridge Forest? We take out wildlife mad 7yr old there regularly- spotted lots of animals, including a huge stag just a few feet away from us. Also, lots of information at the visitor centre there, including a board showing recent animal sightings although I am sceptical about the alleged yeti sighting on there

They are doing a guides bat and owl walk there for Halloween if that might be of interest

Gunznroses Fri 04-Oct-13 13:11:30

Well we've got lots to go on now. Yes we've been to Ashridge, beautiful! But despite watching for hrs didn't spot any deer sad

MrsPnut Fri 04-Oct-13 13:14:57

Our 7yo goes to a wildlife watch group ( as members of RSPB) and she has a great time. Her knowledge has increased massively since she started going and she is regularly the class expert at school about nature.

The staff and volunteers that run the Watch group deserve a medal imo.

iseenodust Fri 04-Oct-13 14:40:51

How could I forget examining pellets with tweezers ! Very Chris Packham grin

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