We visited Pensthorpe Natural Park the other day as we hadn’t been for a while and while the sun was shining it was the perfect opportunity to go and see the new wetland area. We’ve been going to Pensthorpe for a number of years now, taking the boy at various ages and now with Wilba. It features high on my Top 10 Days Out in Norfolk and is a firm family favourite mainly because of its natural charm. It’s not just a conservation area but somewhere the kids can enjoy whilst learning about the various habitats and creatures who live there.
There is not a plastic fairground ride in site, even the indoor play area is design like a tree house and the outdoor play with the man-made river running through – it’s just amazing and I could happily spend all day there, not forgetting all the trails and ever evolving activities for keeping kids busy. We went especially to see the new Wetland Discovery Area, boasting one of the largest pond dipping areas in Norfolk which encourages families to get hands on with the wetland habitats – plus Wilbas favourite flamingos were back in a brand new enclosure along with a crane hide.
The new £70,000 educational area demonstrates the different wetland habitats around the world such as lakes, rivers and garden ponds, and has been part-funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund.
Wetlands occur on every continent of the world, except Antarctica. Many of these wetland areas are home to species which both permanently live there or travel to take advantage of their food supplies. Unfortunately, in the last 100 years about half of the world’s wetlands have vanished yet they are still hugely valuable for wildlife. Whether for water provision, hunting territory, breeding sites or plant growth, wetlands are vitally important.
This new area is huge, we were pleasantly surprised and it links you through to the Wetland Hide and new area of woodland, the park really is expansive and never feels too full or overcrowded and if you are there without children there’s plenary of a walks and woodland to go to enjoy some peace and quiet in the sun.
The boy absolutely loved the pond dipping and was determined to find everything on his card. I thought the chalkboard signs with things to spot were a nice idea and couldn’t get over how big the new area was – the flamingos really are very lucky and I did think about moving in too. Wilba loved the crane hut, especially when they started to call out – the noise was deafening but sounded like a maniac’s laugh much to Wilba’s enjoyment. I can’t recommend Pensthorpe highly enough, the kids loved it and I love that they are also learning so much about wildlife and habitats without realising. A solid 5 out of 5 cookies.
For a great day out for all ages (with hidden learning) visit www.pensthorpe.com.