23rd April 2017
Betty loves animals, from a distance, and I needed a photo of an animal for a competition so we combined the two with a family day out to the British Wildlife Centre. It’s quite tricky to get there on public transport so we drove, but they have ample parking.
The centre has exactly what it states, about 40 different native species of British animals. From tiny harvest mice to mighty red deer. Some are quite shy and hard to spot but we saw plenty in one afternoon. Each area has scheduled talks about the relevant animals but the little ones were less interested in that so we mainly just looked for animals and birds with lots of running around. The centre opens some days especially for photographers and allows closer access but we manage to get lots of shots from the railings.
The foxes were basking in the spring sunshine, the deer were grazing in the fields and even the nocturnal badgers came out for a look around. One small stoat was going crazy around the piping channels of its enclosure, looked lots of fun. The polecats came out for some sunbathing when they knew feeding time was getting close. And the otters appeared just before their talk was about to start which was handy.
There is an enclosed area which is the red squirrel walk, it has pathways raised from the ground and at first it seems there are only small deer and rats to see, but if you stay quiet for long enough the squirrels appear and then aren’t shy at all. I much prefer them scampering along the rail next to me than the rats. There is also a small area for nocturnal animals where we sae a hedgehog snuffling around.
Close to the cafe, and toilets, is an indoor area with mice, rats, rabbits and other small creatures. Most were too easily camouflaged but we saw some sleeping bunnies and lots of active mice. They were so tiny and cute we could have spent the whole time there.
After a snack in the cafe we went to some nearby woods for a bluebell walk. A National Trust owned area in Limpsfield so they had added animal houses for us to discover. A great end to the day.
Baby/Toddler friendly info:
The whole area is pushchair friendly, just a bit fiddly using the squirrel walk doors.
The cafe has highchairs and lots of child friendly options. The toilets have baby changing.
There is a picnic area next to the playground, so you can take your own food to keep costs down. The kids loved the playground and had to be enticed out with cake.