Great Cotswolds Day Out with the Kids at Birdland

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.

Penguins at Birdland in the Cotswolds, great day out with the kids

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.

Great Cotswolds Family Day Out

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.

Cafe

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 😉

Dinosaur at Jurassic Journey, Birdland, Great Cotswolds Day Out with the Kids

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!

 

Petting Zoo

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.

 

Playground 

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!

 

Bourton-on-Water

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.

Have fun!

Giant Tortoise at Birdland, Cotswolds Day Out with the Kids

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.

Center Parcs Longleat – amazing family break

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Jurassic Kingdom London – Mummy Review and Tips

Experience walking among “live dinosaurs” at Jurassic Kingdom London!

We’ve just got back from a great day out at Jurassic Kingdom London, located at Osterley Park in Isleworth.  The day exhausted me, but as the event is only on in London for one more week (till 17th April), I thought I would write my blog review straightaway so it can benefit more people!

If you haven’t heard of Jurassic Kingdom, it’s an animatronic display of dinosaurs, complete with moving parts and realistic sounding roars.  The setting is beautiful, in the National Trust property Osterley Park.

The display is only on in London for 2 weeks in total, after which it moves on to other parts of the UK including Birmingham and Manchester.

Jurassic Kingdom London
Pteranodon dinosaurs at Jurassic Kingdom

Getting there

We all enjoyed our day out at Jurassic Kingdom, and we were lucky to have glorious weather for it!  Getting there was not too difficult as we travelled by car.  (I’m afraid I can’t comment on the public transport links.) We were able to park on a residential road nearby, thanks to a tip from another mum.  There is a huge car park within the gates of Osterley Park, and it costs £7 to park for the whole day.  On the weekend there is some free parking on the residential roads.  Whether you park in the main car park or a residential road, you will be walking a lot.

Remember to bring comfortable shoes and your buggy!  We actually brought 2 buggies, one for our 2 year old and one for our 4 year old.  The 4 year old can walk just fine, but it was useful to have once he got tired.  The terrain is very uneven, which can be a problem for buggies, but we were able to manage ok with a Maclaren.

Caged Raptors dinosaurs escaping at Jurassic Kingdom
Caged Raptors escaping at Jurassic Kingdom

Arriving at Jurassic Kingdom

The entrance to Jurassic Kingdom is located just after the lake, to the left of Osterley House, which you can’t miss seeing – it’s the main building you’ll see with huge grand columns.

Within Jurassic Kingdom there are portaloos, or you can use the toilets around the corner from the cafe at Osterley.  I recommend bringing some tissues as by the end of the day there was no toilet paper!

There are places to buy food and drinks.  I did not heavily investigate this as we brought a picnic, which I recommend, but I noticed hot dogs, noodles, and curly fries were on sale at various stands.

There was a virtual reality game for £5.  We didn’t try it.

An impressive Tyrannosaurus Rex robot greets you immediately.

Staff will check your tickets (if you have a smartphone you can download these and save them to your phone for scanning) and you pass through some barriers you begin walking around the trail.  There was no queuing at all at this point which was great, and we sailed right through.  Just to note, no map or guide is provided.

 

Strolling Along The Dinosaur Trail

As it was a Saturday today as well as Easter holidays it was incredibly busy, and this was a slight drawback to the whole event.  In combination with the lovely sunny weather and loudly roaring dinosaurs some of our children were finding it all a little intense!  But things did improve as we found some shady, leafy spots to enjoy where the children found logs to sit on and sticks to play with.  They actually seemed to really have the most fun mucking around in the forest!  I recommend taking time to hang out and find a nice spot to play, as there are many beautiful nooks to get away from the crowd.

Halfway round the trail (about 30 minutes in, for us) there is a clearing where there are more food stands and a sandpit.  There was a moving dinosaur which your child can ride here for £2.  A little further on from the food stands is a large tent within which a documentary was playing.  There are several rows of chairs, and a few dozen people were taking a break from the trail there.  After the tent are more portaloos, and you can find a sizeable hatching dinosaur egg here.

Majestic dinosaur at Jurassic Kingdom
Majestic dinosaur at Jurassic Kingdom

 

Photo opportunities

On the final part of the Jurassic Kingdom trail there was a place where your child can sit on the back of a small dinosaur.  This makes a great photo opportunity.  There was also a large dinosaur head which you can climb into, which also seemed like a great place to take a photo.  Unfortunately the queue was quite long, so we didn’t wait to do that.

 

Souvenirs and snacks

Once you get to the very end of the trail you return to where you entered.  There are souvenirs like T-shirts and soft toy dinosaurs on sale.  All we were really interested in by then was buying ice creams, but the ice cream stall outside Osterley cafe accepts only cash, and I had forgotten to bring any!  So it was yogurts and a chocolate brownie from the cafe instead.  This was not such a bad thing in the end!  We spread out our picnic blanket on the grass by the lake and the kids enjoyed playing hide and seek in the shade of the trees.

All in all a lovely day out.  A must for all dinosaur-lovers.  You should be prepared for a lot of walking.  Bring buggies, cash, tissues, bottles of water, suncream (if you’re lucky like us with the weather) and a picnic blanket.  Enjoy!

Find out more at www.jurassickingdom.uk/experience/

I’ve noticed discount tickets are also available at groupon.co.uk

 

Escaping Raptor Jurassic Kingdom
Escaping Raptor – watch out!

Other posts which may interest you:

Kidzania London review and tips – successful first visit with my 8-year old

 

Top 16 attractions at Legoland Windsor – Fantastic family day out!

Naptime Natter

 

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