Free Bird: Slimbridge Wetland Centre Review
Slimbridge Wetland Centre
I’m going to be completely honest, I’ve never really thought of myself as a bird person. Don’t get me wrong, I love the look of a happy quacking duck and the odd festive robin, but having grown up in Stratford Upon Avon where being chased by swans was a daily occurrence and working on a farm where I was stalked by the resident geese, birds have never been high up in my list of favourites.
I was offered the chance to visit Slimbridge Wetland Centre with my four and six year old and was massively surprised to be completely won over by hundreds of winged creatures, (none of whom tried to chase me!) The centre won the Family Day Out of the Year award in the SoGlos Gloucestershire Lifestyle Awards this year and I can wholeheartedly see why.
Experiences and facilities
The experience offers up so much more than just birds with seasonal trails, a selection of amphibians to spot in Toad Hall, interactive wildlife talks, feeding times, Welly Boot Land for splashing and indoor activities for all ages including a small soft play area and cinema.
I was completely blown away by not only how beautiful the site was, but also just how vast it is. 325 hectares of world-class wetlands set against the spectacular Severn Estuary, boasting a wealth of wildlife and beautiful landscaped grounds which instantly relaxed me as we walked around.
The site is fabulous for little ones, with great paths for pushchairs, a huge free car park, a well stocked restaurant to suit even the pickiest eaters and a gorgeous gift shop where the prices won’t give you heart palpitations!
Exploring the area
We had an amazing time at Slimbridge. There are more than enough things to do and different areas to visit to spend a full day here. My two loved feeding the birds, seeing the otters, exploring all of the nooks and crannies of each area, spotting the Flamingos and cranes, and learning all the names for the different species of geese and ducks, (pig goose was a particular fave…who knew?!)
We also made bug hotels inside when it got a bit too chilly with some super friendly park staff. On our way back to the visitor centre we took a trip to the top of the Observation Tower which the kids had spotted as we arrived. This is well worth taking a peek at for a heavenly 360-degree panoramic view of the entire site which the kids absolutely loved. You can either take the (70!) stairs or a lift to the top of this viewing platform and there were stools provided for guests with little legs!
One of the great things about the centre is that they organise themed activities throughout the year for visitors of all ages. When we visited they had the Giant Bionic Bugs on show with a trail to follow which my two loved. Now it’s getting a bit chillier, Slimbridge have a huge amount of events on between now and December as part of their Wild Winter to celebrate their winter birds.
From breakfast or afternoon tea with the elves and visiting Santa in his magical grotto to Swan Supper Evenings, there’s something for everyone and we’ll definitely be back.
Slimbridge is open 7 days a week from 9.30am to 5.00pm, excluding Christmas Day. For more information or to book tickets call (01453) 891900 or visit their website.