Wednesday 26 July 2017

WWT Arundel Wetland Centre

Arundel Wetland Centre, West Sussex

This week we enjoyed a lovely day at the Arundel Wetland Centre with friends. Despite living close by we've never been, although my friend is a member and has been recommending it for ages, so we finally managed to plan a visit! We visited on a sunny day during the week when a number of local schools hadn't yet broken up for the holidays, so it wasn't too busy.

Arundel Wetland Centre, West Sussex

The Wetlands Centre covers a large area, and there are lots of different things to do. The children were given a free Wildlife Ranger log book (something which is running throughout the summer holidays) which contained a number of different activities. When they had completed each one they were given a sticker, and when they had collected six stickers they could claim a special large sticker.

We began by buying the children some duck food so that they could feed the ducks although the ducks didn't seem that bothered, perhaps they were full! Then we spent a bit of time in one of the hides, where the children could try and spot some of the birds on the top ten list posted in the cabin. There were lots of reference books, binoculars and telescopes to help them and it was a really peaceful place to sit for a while.

Then we headed to the pond dipping. My children have never done pond dipping before which was definitely something that needed rectifying. A very friendly ranger explained the process to them and was on hand to help them identify what they found. They had a great time filling up a plastic tray with various wriggling pond creatures, then we headed inside to have a closer look. There were magnifying glasses and books to help with identification, then particularly interesting creatures could be carefully transferred to a little pot and placed underneath a microscope which displayed the image onto a screen, fascinating stuff. Mia caught a dragonfly nymph and we gathered lots of little worms and snails.

Arundel Wetland Centre, West Sussex

There are a couple of little playgrounds which entertained the children for quite a while, then we went for a walk through the reed bed to the boat safari. The small boats leave every fifteen minutes or so depending on how busy it is, and we didn't have to wait for long. The boat trip was definitely my highlight of the day, it was so peaceful gliding along through the water and the guide pointed out lots of interesting things and told us little anecdotes about things that we could see. 

Arundel Wetland Centre, West Sussex

We took a picnic and there were plenty of places to sit down and eat your own food as well as a large cafe. After lunch the children had fun carrying out some of the other activities around the site, like working out which minibeast had committed a crime by eliminating bugs based on their characteristics, and identifying a grass snake based on the markings. Then we finished with some crafting - Harry made an owl mask and Mia made a butterfly card.

I made a little video showing some of the fun that we had!

We had a lovely day out. I paid £11.18 for adult entry and £5.64 each for the children, if you live locally it's worth looking into an annual membership as you can save quite a bit by visiting regularly and it's also valid at eight other Wetland Centres.  

You can find out more information about the Arundel Wetland Centre, including current opening hours and admission prices, on the WWT Arundel website.

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