Birds of Prey Centre

Star Travel Rating

5/5

Review type

Things to do

Location

Birds of Prey Centre

Date of travel

2012

Product name

Product country

Product city

Travelled with

Family including children under 16

Reasons for trip

Last year I noticed a Groupon offer for a "Birds of Prey" experience costing £18 instead of £75 for a 3 hour Birds of Prey experience. It was worth every penny and more!! So when I noticed a similar deal on Time Out offers I booked a few vouchers so we could take a grandson and nephew too. The session started at 2pm which gave us plenty of time to travel there (it's easy to find if you are coming off the A1-well signposted). There is a car park, shop and a cafe as you enter Old Warden Park (it's also a venue for old plane displays etc. and other exhibitions) but the Birds of Prey centre car park is past these. However there is a picnic area in this first area if you wanted to make use of that plus toilets etc. (Please note the toilets in the main building are far better than the ones in the Birds of Prey centre!). First of all you have a briefing of "do's & don't's" and then the first hour is where you experience a bird of prey landing on your arm and taking off to land on another person in the group. The group size is approx 12 and everyone gets to take a turn. The second hour is a fantastic. Birds of Prey display where you get to see Red Kites take food on the wing which is amazing. Peregrine falcons that fly past so quick it is breathtaking. There were also owls that glide past so silently & eagle owls to name but a few! We also saw a Condor and Pelicans (which were hilarious!!). The hour goes past all too quickly!! The last hour is a repeat of the first where you get to "handle" different birds. As well as an owl we were stunned when they brought out a magnificent bald headed eagle! You really know he had landed on your arm! In fact as he weighed 10kg and the handlers would not allow him to fly on to the children's arms but promised they could hold him at the end. We then got up close to the pelicans who really took a shine to our 10 yr old grandson! They liked to play "catch" and seemed to enjoy human interaction. The handlers at this centre were fantastic -friendly, informative and obviously really passionate about the birds – you could tell that they really cared. You were encouraged to ask questions all throughout the session and they answered all of them with enthusiasm and interest. My only regret is that I spent too much time taking photos & video (should have learnt my lesson from the first visit!). On my next visit I hope to be accompanied by a photographer who specialises in Birds of Prey photos to get some tips!! We found it best to arrive about half an hour early so you can look around at all the birds on the site especially if you are booked on the 2pm session as the centre closes at 5pm so you would not have time afterwards. Although the paths are gravel you do have to walk on the grass for the bird handling sections so don't think it would be suitable for wheelchairs, mobility scooters – might be worth phoning them if this was a concern. However you can be a spectator rather than a participant. Also they suggest that you phone the day prior to check on the weather as they don't fly the birds in certain conditions. There are many "Bird experiences" available which would be ideal gifts for a special Birthday… think 1 to 1 sessions are available but obviously the cost would be higher especially if it was a discounted offer. I really can't wait to go again… and will keep a lookout for more offers in the future! (Please note I have marked "outstanding" as value for money for the offer price of £18 per person).

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