Like birds? Love dinosaurs? You’ll have a great Cotswolds day out with the kids at Birdland.
Over Easter we visited Birdland park and gardens, in Bourton-on-Water in the Cotswolds. It’s fantastic for families with young children as it’s just the right size to have enough to entertain everybody without getting too worn out. We have actually been to Birdland 3 times now, as my 4-year old son just loves it so much! Our last visit was at Christmas time, just over a year ago. Since that visit he has been asking to go back to Birdland, probably about once a week! So I was delighted that we spent Easter in the Cotswolds, and were able to return on our way back to London.
Arriving at Birdland
Parking near Birdland is easy, as there is a pay-and-display car park right next to it where you can park for £1 an hour, and parking after 3pm is free. I noticed that on this occasion there was also some parking across the road in a field, which was being advertised as £3 for the whole day. I am not sure about public transport links but there may well be some!
There was no queue to get into Birdland. We visited on the Tuesday after Easter, which was an inset day for my children. At the ticket counter, within the gift shop, you can get your child an activity card for the Jurassic Journey, which is a brilliant dinosaur trail with dinosaurs cleverly hidden among the woodland on the outskirts of Birdland. This dinosaur trail is the main reason my 4 year old son is such a massive fan of Birdland!
Meeting the Birds
One of my favourite activities at Birdland is checking out the King and Humboldt penguins.
I really do love them! There is even a famous penguin called Seth, who featured in “Batman Returns”. There’s a large information board which has each penguin’s mugshot and name, which tells their date of birth and their story, as well as info about different species of penguins.
There’s a huge variety of different birds to see and learn about at Birdland, including splendid flamingoes and many exotic birds. Any bird fan will not be disappointed! A keeper gives a flamingo talk which we had just missed, but we have seen it before and it was very good so try to catch that if you can.
It was almost lunchtime when we arrived, so after checking out a few birds we headed to the cafe to eat our picnic, which was supplemented with kids meal hot dogs from the cafe which are served with chips and salad for £4.95. The cafe serves teas and coffees (as one would hope!) and there are toilets located within. There are some other toilets near the penguin reserve as well. Drinks cost about £1.40-£2.50 and you can bring your own soft drinks into the park, so I would definitely recommend bringing some if you can. There was a selection of the usual sorts of ice creams, that you can buy.
Jurassic Journey at Birdland
After checking out some African birds we moved swiftly onto the Jurassic Journey. About 10 different types of dinosaurs could be seen here, from the Pteranodon and Triceratops to the obligatory T. Rex, though there are a few less well-known dinosaurs too. We didn’t do the activity this time as we have done it before, but older children might enjoy collecting the “clues” around the trail, which are alphabet letters that can be rearranged to form a secret message.
Although the dinosaurs are static and don’t make any noises, this is actually appealing to my little ones. They found it less fearsome than Jurassic Kingdom, which we visited a couple weeks ago. You can also peer through gaps in the fences at some of these dinosaurs. This adds to the sense of being a seriously adventurous dino-spotter 😉
About halfway round the trail there is a covered shed which has some sandpits with brushes. Here your children can “discover” fossils. This was quite a hit with our children and allowed us to sit and chill for a few minutes!
Finally, with all the excitement of the dino trail over, we headed over to the encounters area, which is like a little petting zoo. There were guinea pigs, a rabbit, several tortoises, chickens and even some baby chicks to make friends with, under the supervision of helpful staff. Our toddler was thrilled to pet a guinea pig. His zeal made me a little nervous, but the keeper was very patient with him.
There were also snakes, spiders, and a rat (not freely roaming!) Previously they had a little owl here, which the children are able to hold (while wearing a bird-handling glove). But apparently the owl’s keeper was not around on the day we visited so we didn’t get to meet the owl this time. If you’re keen on this activity you might want to call and check before you go.
No trip is complete without a stop at the playground, and Birdland has some good equipment here which easily kept the children occupied for a half hour. Even my 8 year old thinks it is pretty good!
Outside Birdland is the wonderfully charming world of Bourton-on-Water. It is like a mini Venice, with lots of tiny bridges over little canals. It’s a little touristy, but if you don’t mind that then you’ll love it. Many little shops to browse and nice pubs to get lunch! There’s also a model railway museum which we have visited before and enjoyed.
You can find out more about Birdland on their website at www.birdland.co.uk/
Birdland is open all year round, from 10am-6pm March to November, 10am-4pm November to March.
Current prices are £9.95 for adults, and £6.95 for children age 3 and up. Under 3’s are free.
You can get 10% off admission if you book online.
If you enjoyed this post you might like to read about our trip to Center Parcs Longleat, in the post linked below. It’s a brilliant outdoorsy family holiday in the forest, with all the comforts of home, which you can do in 3 or 4 days.