Category: Wildlife

Family Day Out at Anglesey Sea Zoo

Anglesey Sea Zoo StarfishWe had a great day out at the Anglesey Sea Zoo during our Summer holiday in Anglesey. Our kids loved getting close to the sea creatures. We have been to various Sea Life Centres over the years and this is a similar set up.

I checked the website prior to going to make sure it was open and to check for any special Covid advice. The numbers are limited, there is a marked route around the place and visitors are asked to wear masks. we found that most people were wearing masks and following the routes whilst a couple of families just ignored all the advice, which was a shame for the staff and owners of the place.

Sea Creatures at the Sea Zoo Anglesey

The kids loved looking at all the tanks of sea-life and they particularly liked the lobsters and the starfish.

Seahorses are always a hit with the kids, although there were just a few small tanks with seahorses.

The jellyfish tanks were spectacular with short facts about them alongside the tanks.

Food and Drinks at Anglesey Sea Zoo

There is a cafe serving food and drinks on site.

I don’t know if we caught them on a bad day, but the service was shocking and the food was very average. We waited over an hour for basic lunch items. The coffee was poor, which made the wait feel even worse. Maybe Covid was to blame (like so many things)!

Extra Outdoor Facilities for KidsAnglesey Sea Zoo Octopus

There is a decent play area outside, including wooden obstacles to climb and play on. Also there are some bikes and trikes for younger ones to play on. There is an inflatable bouncy castle with slide and obstacles. Due to Covid restrictions, numbers were very limited and kids had a short turn. Luckily it was quiet and a bit cold during our visit so there weren’t many kids about and our kids got on the bouncy castle quite quickly. I wouldn’t have fancied queuing on a busy day.

Anglesey Sea Zoo also has its own crazy golf course which is an additional cost.

The sea zoo is a fairly small site, but there is enough to see for a wander with kids for an hour or two. We paid just over £30 for a family of four which we felt was good value, especially given that we returned for free for a second visit. We booked in advance due to Covid and paid by card on the door.

See the link for the Anglesey Sea Zoo to book your place.

Overall this was a good place to visit as our kids loved it so much that they asked to go back again later that week.

Alpaca Trekking in West Yorkshire

During the Summer we spent a day trekking with alpacas in Oxenhope, West Yorkshire.

Alpaca trekking West YorkshireMy husband heard about Thornwood Alpacas and Care Farm from a colleague at work and we thought this sounded like a great activity for our family.

On a cold wet morning we travelled to Thornwood Alpacas and Care Farm for our guided walk. The farm is in Oxenhope near Haworth and is well signposted once you get near. We arrived along with a handful of other people and we were greeted by the owner Lucy Thornton. She was lovely and clearly loves her alpaca adventures. Lucy introduced us to our guide Meg. She talked about the alpacas and answered any questions people had.

We were there with our two young daughters and the lady selected the alpacas that she felt were most suited to each person (or pair).

Alpaca Walking in Oxenhope

We walked with Kai and Theo who were both very cute and a bit cheeky. They were friendly and calm as we connected their harnesses and they were clearly used to walking with children.

Walking alpacas in the Yorkshire countrysideThe alpacas like to be together so they don’t run away, but they can get a bit preoccupied then suddenly rush to get back to their group, as my daughter discovered.

We walked around the fields and gave our alpacas carrots and snacks at various intervals. They tend to move at a steady pace unless they decide to have a little sprint to catch up with their buddies.

It was a lovely walk in the Bronte countryside. The weather was disappointing, but it did not stop us having a lovely time. We would have loved to enjoy a nice warm drink after the walk, but there was no cafe open nearby. I think there is normally a tea rooms open, but this was closed during our visit due to Covid.

This is a lovely not for profit organisation and the money raised funds various educational and well being projects. I would certainly recommend Thornwood Alpacas and Care Farm if you fancy a scenic walk in the countryside with a cute and cheeky alpaca.

Canal Boat Hire for the Day in Skipton West Yorkshire

On a sunny day in July 2020 we enjoyed a family day out on a canal boat in Skipton in West Yorkshire.

We had a great day out on the beautiful Leeds and Liverpool Canal. We booked our Canal boat with Pennine Cruisers as my brother recommended them.

Captain Your Own Canal Boat

Canal Boat Hire for the day in SkiptonWe arrived at the canal basin in Skipton at 9am for a short briefing before setting off down the canal South East towards Keighley. My husband and brother quickly learnt how to control the boat and they did a great job of manoeuvring us down the canal and managing the swing bridges. There are no locks on this stretch so we didn’t need to worry about that. I had a short turn controlling the boat, which was ok, but I wouldn’t have felt confident driving it alongside parked boats or passing others coming the other way.

There were 9 of us altogether, including my family of four my brother’s family and grandparents. We all enjoyed the day and it was lovely to enjoy the scenery at a slow pace with plenty of space to sit or read or colour in. We were lucky to get a mainly sunny day. I did wonder how our experience may have been hindered by bad weather. It was lovely to sit at the front of the boat enjoying the sunshine and the views. The kids even climbed on top to enjoy a rooftop tour down the canal.

Skipton Canal Boat Sights

There is a war memorial not far from Skipton right on the side of the canal and we stopped to take a look. You can park up anywhere along the canal whenever you fancy. It was interesting to read about the seven airmen who lost their lives during WW2. There are details about this at the following link – Yorkshire Aircraft.

We saw lots of birds and wildlife including herons and squirrels. There were some lovely views of woodlands and beautiful valleys.

Food and Drinks on the Canal

Around midday we enjoyed a lovely lunch of pies and picnic snacks along with Champagne and homemade scones with cream and jam (thanks to my Mum). There was a hob on board allowing us to make hot drinks, which was nice. The cupboards contained all the basic items you would need to make a simple meal and there was crockery and cutlery as well as a sink to wash up. There is also a toilet onboard.

There are various places to stop and eat and drink on the canal, but we were unsure which places would be open so we played safe with our own food and drinks.

We were told to return back to Skipton for 4:30pm. We had ventured a bit further than expected when we turned back towards Skipton, but luckily our captains made good progress and we arrived back to Skipton at exactly 4:30pm.

We paid just under £200 for the day and we felt this was good value for an amazing experience.

 

Welly Walks in West Yorkshire

Welly WalkWe have discovered the joy of Welly Walks this Summer. As a family of four, we have always enjoyed getting outside and going for walks, but recently we have been getting our wellies on (all 4 of us, not just the kids) and walking in our local streams and rivers.

Many of the wellies for young kids are short, sitting just above the ankle, but we were lucky to get hold of some Hunter wellies for my five year old, which come  a lot higher. This means we can all enjoy getting into the water and exploring together. I also bought welly socks for each of us as this makes the whole experience a lot warmer and more comfortable.

Recently we encouraged our extended family to join in the fun so we have all put on our wellies to go and explore.

Welly Walks Wildlife

It is a fun way to discover wildlife. We are lucky to have nice clean waterways close to where we live. The kids have spotted frog spawn and tadpoles as well as fish, crayfish and insects such as boatmen and pond skaters. We have looked up various creatures to discover what they are and we looked after a couple of tadpoles before returning them to their natural habitat.

Welly Walks Adventure

With limited options for entertaining the kids due to lockdown restrictions, we love getting outdoors for an adventure. Welly Walks are a great way to have a fun and free adventure with the kids.

Discover Welly Walks Near You

If you are wondering where would be good for a Welly Walk, then the National Trust may be able to help with a list of local welly walks. We usually set off wandering from home, but I would like to check out the suggestions in the National Trust’s Welly Walks in Yorkshire.

Family Day Out at Exmoor Zoo

Whilst staying in North Devon for our Summer holiday we went to Exmoor Zoo, which is in Bratton Fleming. We spent a few hours there and enjoyed the day. It was about £50 for our family of four, if I remember correctly. My parents also joined us so there was six of us altogether.

What to do at Exmoor Zoo

We had a lovely family day out at Exmoor Zoo. To begin our day out, we went to the play area and we then struggled to get the kids out of there to go and see the animals.

We all enjoyed seeing the wallabies, which were lovely and friendly. We were able to get up close in the enclosure and feed the wallabies. There were staff about to make sure the wallabies were safe and help the kids get close, without annoying the animals. Areas were kept clear of visitors to allow the wallabies to get some privacy if they wished.

We enjoyed seeing the cheetahs, the wolves, laughing dogs, meerkats, monkeys, martens, alpacas, tamarins and many more. There was lots of reference to the Exmoor beast and we did see a sleepy black leopard, but that was not a highlight for us. There were also a range of reptiles and birds.

At Exmoor Zoo there are no large animals, so you can’t go there expecting to see an elephant or a tiger, but it was a nice size to walk round with young kids and grandparents.

It appeared to be a well maintained zoo with lots of staff.

Meet the Animals Sessions

Our kids particularly enjoyed the talks and handling sessions, including guinea pigs, rabbits, a very cool armadillo, a tarantula, hedgehog and lots more.

The sessions were run every half hour and we did find ourselves rushing from one to the other a bit. It is best to pick your favourites when you first arrive as you can’t manage them all. The staff that we encountered were very lovely and patient with the kids.

There was a strong focus on being considerate towards the animals and the staff did not want any children to be forced into interacting with the animals.

Food at Exmoor Zoo

We went to the restaurant at Exmoor Zoo and felt that the food was ok. Similar to what you get at many of these family attractions. There were some picnic areas, including an undercover one so you could bring your own food.

Exmoor Zoo was a highlight from our holiday in family holiday in Devon and I would recommend it to others.

If you fancy a day out at Exmoor Zoo, go to the Exmoor Zoo website to find out latest information on prices and opening times.

Getting Outdoors With the Kids

During the Summer holidays we spent a lot of time outdoors. We enjoyed many cheap and free days out and about close to where we live in West Yorkshire. We went to parks, we picked blackberries and we went for some short walks. We are lucky to live in such a beautiful part of the country, but most people can get outdoors to an open space within a fairly short time.

One day we went to an Art in the Park session run by the local council. We all had a lovely morning, despite the cool weather. The session involved collecting things from nature to make pretty artworks and sculptures. It was a sweet idea and all the kids seemed to really enjoy it. It was surprising how colourful the materials were that we found in the woods.

The kids created some lovely pictures and we were advised what we could and couldn’t pick from the woodland area. The session was quite inspiring and I would like to do it again sometime in our local woods. You don’t need anything at all, but we had some card, glue sticks and some charcoal. We collected blackberries, leaves and flowers (as advised by council organisers).

We also looked at some natural sculptures before creating our own. The kids were all very creative, making lovely patterns and structures. Some kids built dens and others made miniature forests and sculptures. My kids made patterns using different colours and sizes of leaves.

As Autumn approaches, I am really keen to get outdoors, as I find we need to make the most of the sunlight that we have. It is tempting to hibernate over the cooler months, but I think we will head out for some Autumnal art at some point. We can easily make sculptures with different coloured leaves or make a picture using natural materials.

Farne Islands Boat Trip from Seahouses, Northumberland

During our stay in Northumberland we went on a lovely boat trip over to the Farne Islands. We sailed from Seahouses with Billy Shiel’s Boat Tours and we travelled out to the Farne Islands. There were a few trips to choose from and we felt that a couple of hours would be about right with two young kids. If you have a child that struggles to sit still, then this might not be the best trip for you, but ours were pretty good.

We saw lots of seabirds, including Guillemots and Razorbills and we saw hundreds of Grey Seals. The guide was friendly and enthusiastic. He pointed out many different types of birds and he told some interesting stories along the way. Some of the seal pups had been born within the last day or two. Despite the poor photograph (apologies), we were incredibly close to hundreds of Grey Seals during the boat trip, however with a rocky boat and trying to keep hold of a couple of young kids, it was really tricky to get a decent photo. If you look closely, you will see some black animals in the water and these are the Grey Seals. Our two year old could see them clearly. She insisted they were doggies, but they are definitely Grey Seals.

The boat trips run all year round, but it is best to check the website before going to be sure. We were there in Autumn, which is the best time to see the seals, but if you would like to see the huge numbers of puffins then May, June and July is the best time to see them.

Our kids were 6 and 2. Our six year old daughter enjoyed the trip and loved seeing the wildlife, particularly the seal pups. We would like to return to see the puffins if we are there in Summer.

Our 2 year old was a little restless at times, but we could sit inside with her and we had plenty of snacks to keep her occupied. The boat did sway about a bit, at times, so we had to keep hold of the little one. There was a small toilet on board at the back of the boat, which was fine for our 6 year old.

Billy Shiel’s Boat Tours Website