Thursday, January 5, 2012

A damp day at Bird World, Farnham

When Mr T suggested Bird world for an outing I immediately offered up about 15 other suggestions, based on the vague memory I had of my last visit to Birdworld, which must have been a good 20 years ago. But it was the day after his birthday, and he does like to drag out the birthday card for a surrounding week or so on either side, so i capitulated and we bundled up against the crazy winds and cool temperatures and headed off to Farnham.

we stopped at Sainsbury's on the way to buy some lunch as the website had warned that there is limited availability of food during the winter, conjuring up images of a lone vending machine offering limp lettuce sandwiches, dusty  Taxi bars and faded cans of cherry tango. 

I thought the entry fee was a bit steep for winter entry to an outdoor attraction at 9.25GBP per adult, although under 3's were free. We were given a map and informed that all the daily events listed on it wouldn't be taking place that day. After passing through the shop and cafe (which was open, with a limited menu available) we started looking around. we saw a wide variety of birds, many endangered, and often accompanied with stories of how they had been brought back from near extinction a few years previously. The littlest hobo loved the flamingos and the huge owls, and the dead fish laying on the path that had obviously missed it's calling as a tasty snack for one of the nearby spoonbills that morning. Some of the enclosures looked like they were a bit on the small side, especially for the larger birds, and could do with a bit of smartening up, which was a memory I had from my previous visit too.

Chatting with the Spoonbill's lunch

Mandarin duck 

The park has a long thin layout and we had reached about half way when it started to rain quite heavily and we were starting to loose the feeling in our toes, so we retreated to the cafe, where we bought hot drinks and a sausage roll, partly to warm up and partly to justify sitting there in the warmth while we ate our supermarket sandwiches, which we got away with without any problem. 

Umpa lumpa wannabe

When the rain had died down and we had warmed up a bit we dressed the littlest hobo in her puddle suit (nice one father Christmas, I'm sure we will also be able to make good use of this once we get to New Zealand, and it adds to the amusement of all the adults present to have a miniature decontamination suit/umpa lumpa running at your heals) and headed back out to explore the rest of the park. The second half was better, the enclosures were a bit bigger and some were newer too - especially the penguin beach exhibit, which ended up being our favourite in the whole park. We also really enjoyed chatting to the parrots and hearing them talk back. At the end of the park is Jenny Wren's farm, which had a good selection of farm animals including a couple of reindeer which were lying about having a rest after their recent busy night out. 

Santa's little friends

The park had 3 play areas and a second cafe at the far end, which wasn't open when we visited, but I assume it would be in the summer. There were plenty of grassy areas which would be great for a picnic in the right weather. There is also Underwater world next door to Bird World, which is also included in the normal entry price, but again this wasn't open for our visit. I would imagine that on a drier warmer day you could probably spend about three hours there, but I wouldn't really expect to pay more than we did for entry and I think standard entry price is higher at other times.

On a very exciting side-note... two weeks today we are off on our big adventure! 


  1. At least you could sit with a hot drink, food and then go back out to explore - love the cute little umpa lumpa wet suit that your little girl had on - and the animals are so cute!


  2. Yes, I was reeeeaaaallly glad that the cafe was open to buy a hot drink! And the other plus side of visiting these places in the off-season is that you can scoot around them so easily.