Destination UK

Meeting the Burrowing Owls at the Hawk Conservancy Trust

Posted on
October 14, 2020

As the kids get older, finding fun days out for them gets more of a challenge, but one last weekend got the official thumbs up from my 3 as the “BEST DAY EVER”

We visited the Hawk Conservancy Trust and enjoyed a magical day exploring their 22 acres of woodland and wildflower meadows, in between watching their wonderful feeding and flying displays.

Like most venues, pre-booking your visit is essential as they are restricting the number of visitors coming to the Trust to help with social distancing.

We have visited a few attractions since they re-opened and Hawk Conservancy is by far the best. There are staff at each show reminding you to use hand-sanitiser before you enter and then seat the groups 2 metres apart. I also saw several staff out cleaning everything from rails to bins and play equipment throughout the day.

I highly recommend you allow a full day to explore, to be able to complete the young explorers top trump trail and see all three flying displays that take place during the day.

The first display starts at 11:30am and takes to the savannah with “Wings of Africa”, which shows how their awesome African birds fly as they would in the wild.

Each display has its own arena and the attention to detail is out of this world. You really do feel like you are in the African savannah, apart from the cooler temperatures.

Although the Hawk Conservancy is all about the conservation of their beautiful birds, they make the shows fun as well as informative. I didn’t expect to start with a Mexican wave, albeit one where you duck instead of stand.

Birds on display included white storks, vultures, kites, an eagle owl, an African Fish Eagle (don’t sit in the splash zone) and the kids favourite Secretary Bird, which demonstrated its magnificent hunting skills as he annihilated a rubber snake with its kick!

The finale showed how a bushfire and African rainstorm provided the birds with great hunting / scavenging opportunities and we all left loving all the birds, even the vultures, who get a bad press but are incredible creatures.

The displays are well spaced throughout the day, allowing you the chance to explore, see all the birds, let off some steam in the adventure playground or get some delicious food in Feathers restaurant.

At 2:00pm, it’s the World of Birds of Prey which is set in Reg’s Wildflower Meadow. The meadow is sadly past its best at the moment but the highlight of the show is watching the aerial show and listening to the fun banter.

Just like the previous display, the passion of the falconers really shone through as they chatted about the birds they were displaying and the wild birds that had decided to come and join in too.

The final display of the day is the Woodland owls, set in a gorgeous woodland area for a much more intimate demonstration.

The beautiful owls skim silently over your head and if you are lucky, will even land beside you.

They display a variety of owl species including the Barn Owl, Great Grey Owl, Long-eared Owl and Eagle Owl.

The finale of the day for us was getting to meet the Burrowing Owls, which is available at the end of the day for an additional £19.50 per person.

Meet the Burrowers VIP Encounter at Hawk Conservancy Trust

The Meet the Burrowers VIP Encounter allows you to get up close and find out all about these small, long-legged owls from the prairies and grasslands of North and South America.

The cute and curious Burrowing Owls are adorable and fly, hover, walk and run around you in their burrow. If you are lucky, they will even use you as a perch.

As you are inside, all participants, regardless of age are required to wear a face covering, but that did not detract from the experience at all and you could see the joy on the kids faces throughout.

Sessions last for 30 minutes, which is plenty of time to get to know these cheeky creatures and pose for some fun pictures to remind you of the experience.

Bookings can be made onsite on the day of the encounter up to 4pm, dependant on availability, although pre-booking is recommended to avoid disappointment.

A Family Day Ticket for 2 adults and 2 children costs £45.91 with the Meet The Burrowers an additional extra.

As I said at the start of my post, my kids described our visit as the “best day ever” and thoroughly enjoyed everything that the day had to offer. We cannot wait to return!!

Disclaimer: We were guests of the Hawk Conservancy Trust for the purpose of a review. All thoughts and opinions are our own

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13 Comments
  1. Reply

    Claire

    October 14, 2020

    Look at those gorgeous pictures of the children with the owls! Absolutely lovely.

    I love owls, but I’ve never held one. A huge one did land on a bench next to me at a display once, he was incredible x

  2. Reply

    Valerie

    October 15, 2020

    Owls are so neat, I’d enjoy doing this too. I did a behind the scenes tour at a zoo once and held an owl, it’s something I will never forget.

  3. Reply

    Claire M

    October 15, 2020

    Oh wow these birds are magnificent. We love going to places like these, always a hit with the boys

  4. Reply

    Sabina Green

    October 15, 2020

    Such wonderful photos! It looks like a fab day out, my children are also getting older now and would really enjoy a day here.

  5. Reply

    Samantha Donnelly

    October 15, 2020

    What an amazing day out, this is something I would love to do as love birds of prey my daughter used to love seeing displays when she was younger and would have loved this

  6. Reply

    Kimberly Hogg

    October 15, 2020

    It looks like such a great day out! My youngest has a bit of a bird obsession at the moment so he’d love it

  7. Reply

    Yeah Lifestyle

    October 15, 2020

    These birds of prey look magnificent and I can’t believe how close you are able to get to them. Hawk Conservancy Trust sounds like a place I would love to take my kids to

  8. Reply

    Rhian westbury

    October 15, 2020

    I find things like this so fascinating to see how the birds act. I got to hold a really big bird once and just seeing it up close (while trying to avoid eye contact) was just magical x

  9. Reply

    Laura

    October 15, 2020

    Alice went on a school trip here a couple of years ago, but we’ve never been as a family. It looks a lovely day out.

  10. Reply

    Bethan Taylor-Swaine

    October 15, 2020

    This sounds like an absolutely epic day out, and I love how the sheer joy on your kid’s faces shines through the photos! I bet this will be one they talk about for years to come (and want to adopt and owl for Christmas!) x

  11. Reply

    Elizabeth Williams

    October 16, 2020

    Looks like a fantastic day and a memorable experience. I love owls they are beautiful and so majestic.

  12. Reply

    What Mum Loves

    October 16, 2020

    When three kids say that it was ‘the best day ever’, this is the best recommendation for me 🙂 They look so happy on the pictures!

  13. Reply

    Rebecca Smith

    October 16, 2020

    This sounds like such a wonderful day out. I love owls so it would be a great day for me but I also know my kids would love it too!

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KARA GUPPY
Bournemouth

Are we nearly there yet? is a new online blog run by me, Kara Guppy, and is named as such thanks to my daughter Eliza who always asks that very question when we are less than 5 minutes up the road heading off on our adventures. You may know me from my other family blog chelseamamma.co.uk