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