We found this place by pure chance whilst calling in at the Halfpenny Winery Centre.
Tucked away past the craft shops, is probably the most enjoyable and informative Bird and Animal Center I have come across.
A bargain at only £10 for the family (for the day), we were met by the volunteers who run the place. Enthusiastic and obviously loving working with the animals, we were shown the insects and reptiles, where the kids were handed snakes, hissing cockroaches and stick insects to hold.
A raccoon in the cage was great entertainment, playing with the collie puppy and being a great source of fun. A couple of parrots and macaws loose in the room also interested the kids.
We were told that the "Show" would be on at 3pm that day, and so had about 20 mins spare.
Upon going outside, there were a huge array of birds on display. Falcons, Owls, Kestrels, Hawks etc. All breeding pairs and all looking healthy and content. About 20 other singular birds were perched in one of the large tents. Staff were keen to talk about the birds and kept the kids interested.
We all sat down around a small arena for the show, which was fabulous.
I have seen numerous falconry shows at local castles etc, where they fly away, and back at great speeds.
This show was all based around the arena, showing how to handle, and control the birds at close quarters. Birds were moving around the fences only feet from the visitors, which gave a fantastic viewpoint.
Various kids were brought into the arena to experience the owls silent flight, and then were given the opportunity to handle the birds. A good piece of education about the difficulty of ownership was demonstrated by a one winged owl, which was sad but a worthy end to the show.
Even the thought of rain, and the staff instantly brought out umbrellas (just in case).
After the show, other kids who didn't get to go in the arena got the chance to get close to the birds with the handlers.
There was also a new pet corner, which was great fun, full of ornamental chickens, geese, ducks, peacocks, a donkey, sheep, and impossibly cute little bunnies.
One of the best places we have visited all year, and well worth supporting and visiting.
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