Newest Review: ... enough for them to stretch their wings in. The cages aren't tiny but I reckon owls are such big birds that they should have more room th... more
Nature at it's best
Birmingham Nature Centre
Member Name: willtheman
Birmingham Nature Centre
Advantages: Cheap, animals, pens, great cafe,lovely position, great day out
Disadvantages: Not a full day activivty
Birmingham Nature Centre is somewhere I have been lucky enough to visit twice and both times I immensely enjoyed it. It isn't a big zoo-there's no zebras, penguins, rhinos, lions or tigers nothing like that. Its mainly small mammals and birds-albeit then not a huge collection. Nontheless, I still find this place hugely enjoyable. Maybe its becuase its so 'small'.
It is atually centred just next door to a park-Cannon Hill Park which is a rather large and lovely park complete with playground, big green spaces and a duck pond. You do actually have to park in the park's car park which is free with the Nature Centre being about a 30 second walk away. You actually enter through a Grade -something(maybe 1) listed building which is pretty magnificent.
Inside here is a little shop selling quite a few things none more than a pound -keyrings, badges and a couple of books thrown in.
Also here is a lot of leaflets and listings on events coming up in Birmingham which are pretty helpful and a couple of displays on the natural history of the area.
Winter: Weekends only 10am-4pm(last admission is 3pm) between the first weekend of November and the first Weekend of March.
Summer:Open daily 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm) from the first weekend of April to the last weekend of October
Prices: You pay at the building for an exceptionally reasonable
£1.80 for an adult
Free for children!
Now if that's not good value I don't know what is!
After passing through the building you now enter what I have nicknamed the 'farm' area. Now, hopefully youv'e had wild guess and might worked out that this means this area is like a farm. Its about a third of the centre and is mostly paddocks. The more familiar animals here are the rather fat and snoozy pigs, sheep and the madcap goats of which there are the tiny Pygmy Goats and the extremely rare Bagot Goat. There's a couple of unfamiliar faces here too. Bouncing around with the goats are the wallabies who are oddly enough-sweet. There fur looks so soft I want to stroke them! As I know from past reviews on other attractions you have had the opportunity to do this but I have not. The other unfamiliar creatures here are the deer who were in hiding when we went. Grr...
Next is Lilliput village a kind of little kids area. The main thing here is a undercover but open fronted barn like structure which is home to a massive straw area home to literally tons of guinea pigs running around and making funny whistling noises. The only differnce here is the guinea pigs hutches have been designed as buildings-houses, town halls and museums. This will probabaly be the onlt time in your life when you will see a guinea pig in a town hall. Also here is a little picnic area , some ducks and some rabbits.
Passing the Lovebird avairy you come next to the cafe. The cafe isn't absolutely massive but its still a pretty reasonable size. At the back is a nice little area for little kids. This was a great place to escape from the rain. I had a Jacket Potato-it was really tasty, pretty big portions-and it was a couple of quid(with FILLING!) . Like I said before this place just takes good value to the extremes.
Opposite them are a whole line of aviaries and enclosures. On the map this is named predators-so that means a lot of predators. Birds are represented by owls. The larger of the two species in this area(there is another species a little way around) is the maganificent Eagle Owl-big, scray orange eyes, wonderful markings, amazing wing span I was so saddened when the female in Yorkshire was shot. It would be so brilliant to see them in Britain. This cahp has a massive and wel planted up aviary.
Next to him is the Barn Owl-a ghost in the night you can't say these aren't beautiful. Here he isn't given a huge area but an interesting one-its been made to look like a bran and is pretty amazing in itself.
Next are the Polecats-smelly but quite cute they were cuddled together in bed in their favourite big surroudnings.
Then its the Scottish WildCat-it looks just like a Tabby Cat just a bit wilder with more yellow eyes. Last time we went he came out in the purring rain and just sat there and stared at us his fur sopping wet. I thought cats hated water!
The porcupines are next-really weird animals-but ones that look like they could do some damage to you-those spines are lethal! These guys have double the space of the others-a biggish area and were inside munching at some fruit.
Next are the snowy owls-amazing creatures. These rather lovely birds shot to fame in Hedwig and they do actually screech like that! They are as I said before wonderful with there superb markings. Theyv'e got a big aviary too.
Now its the Lynx-big cats with tufts on there head these creatures are pretty cool. They do tend to laze around a lot though although they are truly fascianting creatures-their faces are smazing. Here they have two areas to go in both of which are pretty big. One however was pacing although why I don't know was it seemed pretty spacious. Opposite them is a small collection of waterfowl on a rather small pond. There is supposedly a beaver here too but Iv'e never seen him although I saw him swimming in his old encsloure.
Next door are the absolutely stonking cranes-graceful and beautiful they are great . Then its the Red Pandas-red and cute with stripey tails these two were in the headlines when one manged to escaped. However he returned and is now happily back. As the sign says'look in the trees' that is where they were too be found at the very top snoozing away. Aaah.
There's two more favourites here-the meerkats who the first time I went were not yet here and the second their enclosure was being renovated. The otters are right next to them -happily running around exploring or snoozing welcoming visitors and just generally making a nuicance of themselves as they squeak madly in the search of food. There area is pretty big and has a stream and pool.
Opposite these two are two indoor areas, They are both small. The first is the aquarium which is oddly enough only home to a small amount of fish. There are two tanks of fish here-one is home to Goldfish and many other small tropical and colourful fish inluding tetras and tangs. The other is home to a few more.
There's two lots of amphibians here too-axolotols who I for some reason remember being on a Sooty show and a salamander who has a mossy area and water. He must be brilliant at camouflaging because Iv'e never seen him. There are also some tortoises here.
Then its the reptile house -quiet small . Its mostly home to a pretty good range of snakes-six or seven snakes like the Rainbow and Corn snake and some bigger ones-nut no really huge snakes. Although there is a rather small boa. There's also a couple of really small geckos and a few other reptilian species like skinks. Last time a cat had come in here(probably the centres) and was sleeping in there. The snakes weren't bothered.
You will know pass the lemur enclosure formerly home to a beaver. Iv'e never seen them here because when I went they hadn't yet arrived however I did get to see there impressive enclosure-a rather large climbing frame guaranteeing hours of fun.
Also here is the rodent house which is home to a massive collection of rodents. So that means that along the way your going to meet mice, rats, gerbils and hamsters-all of which are cute. There's also a few stripey chipmuncks here and if I remember correctly degus and chinchilas. Each one only has a small area but there is plenty of sawdust to bury into and they were all very happy.
There's also an invertebrate house-which mean spiders which means a big no no for me. I don't mind the cockroaches, scorpions or Giant Millipedes(which Iv'e held) but I hate spiders so I never go in here.
There's also a nature pool which is home to plenty of flowers like water lillies blooming on the surface. Its also home to a lot of freshwater fish-like Rudd. There is an underwater viewing area but the water was a bit grimy but I suppose that is good as it gives it more of a feel of the wild about it.
Going through a short walk through the wood and over a little bridge over a little river(called the River Rea) your back in the farm now and you miserbaly trudge back out knowing your visit is now(although you could just go around again which is what I have done before).
Here are contact details and addresses.
Birmingham Nature Centre
Buses: 45 and 47 Pershore Road, 61,62 and 63 Bristol Road.
Th full nature centre is accessible to people with disbailities and people with pushchairs. No dogs are allowed in apart from guide dogs.
Telephone:0121 472 7775
Fax:0121 471 4997
Includes basic information but isn't very good to be honest.
This is a an absolute must place if your in the area-its great for families and has a pretty large amount of animals which are all housed superbly. As well as that its astonoshingly god value, the cafe is delicious, the toilets(forgot to mention them) are clean and its just an absolutely superb place to visit.
Its isn't a full day activity-anywhere bwtween and hour or two but you can combine in with Cannon Hill Pakr and it becomes a day out. It really is one of those places noboy has heard of but I wish everyone had heard of-Iv'e had two absolutely amazingly brillaint days out here both of which I enjoyed immensley-I really can't praise this place enough.
In short it isn't just a day. Its a simply wonderful day out
Summary: An utterly superb day out
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