“ Now closed. Address: 65a Renhold Road / Wilden / Bedfordshire / England / MK44 2PX / Tel: 01234 772 770 „
We recently had an afternoon out at Wild Britain in Wilden, Bedfordshire. Here is our experience......
We arrived shortly after lunch at Wild Britain, we found it easy enough, situated in the Bedfordshire countryside, just follow the brown butterfly signs (This was previously known as Bedford Butterfly Park!)
Payment was at the kiosk on arrival where we were told about the special events that were happening as it was during the Easter break. We paid our £6.95 each (adults and kids are the same price!) although under 2's are free. Consessions are £6.50.
We parked up in the gravelled car park and decided it was quite cold so put our coats on! We had a look at the information we were given and decided to plan our visit. Rain looked imminenet so thought we'd best start off with the 'wildlife' walk and get soem of the outside bits done before the heavens opened. The walk is actually called the hedgehog play trail and it follows the adventures of a little hedgehog called Urchin as he searches for some food in the butterfly house. There are boards around the trail which follow the story so it is imprtant that you stick to the path! Each point of the story has rather a cute staute/ornament type bit of Urchin having one of his adventures. These range from when he meets some bees and even finds a dropped ice cream on the floor which he eats. My daughter loved the simple but enchanting story although I think she got a bit confused as she started looking for a gruffallo half way round!! There are interactive bits for children to do throughout the little walk from looking for birds in a hide, to making a den from twigs to hide from the fox. There are little quiz questions on the way such as which leaf is from which tree etc and a touchy feely box in one of the hides to guess whats in there. It is quite a short walk - probably 20-30 minutes in total but is just the right length for a 3 year old.
Luckily it still hadn't rained by the time we arrived back at the start so we had a bit of a play in the lovely wooden adventure play area. I think this has recently been refurbished as it looks quite new. Just next to the play area there is Moley's Mine - a man built mole hill full of tunnels and things - don your hard hat, complete with torch on top and find your way out of the other side. If you manage it, you get a certificate at the end! You get a special voucher with your admission price for this so unfortunately you can only have one go. It looked fun and the children seemed to be enjoying it. We didn't try this though as my wee one is afraid of the dark. There is also next to this a fenced off area full of space hoppers - My daughter loved these and it was fun to see her bouncing about!
Next up we went to have a look at some of the small animals. The rabbit ranch is lovely - you can walk right through the rabbit run, stroking and feeding the rabbits and guinea pigs. Smaller children seem to love this bit!
There is also a chipmunk area, ferrets and small rodents area where you can veiw these animals and their antics through glass. The mouse bit was very good as you could see the nests they had built and watch them going through their tunnels. Right next to this there is a large goat area where you cxan feed and stroke the goats. My daughter was far from keen as it jumped up on the fence to take a bite of her coat. Still I found it quite amusing and told her not to be so silly!
We used our next voucher from our entry info which was to meet the keeper. This runs at various times throught the day and they bring out various animals for you to have a look at etc. We have been twice and seen the exact same things both times so I'm not sure if they use other animals or not. We had a look at stroke of a pygmy hedgehog, some sort of geko and a big scary looking beetle. We also had a look at a tarantula! This was very informative and the keeper kept it entertaining and interesting even for the little ones. This lasted about 15 minutes so wan't too long. Next to this there is a pond dipping area - open only in the summer but we tried it on a previous visit and really enjoyed it. If you find the things from your sheet you even get a medal!
By now it had started to drizzle so thought it was time for a cuppa. THey have a small cafe on site selling the usual sandwiches, drinks jacket potatoes etc. Prices I thought were average for this type of place. We had 2 slices of very nice cake! 2 pots of tea and an ice lolly and it was £7. Not cheap but then you expect that kind of thing at these attractions.
We popped into the craft cabin next to use our next voucher. Children are able to do a spot of painting, make masks or badges etc in here. Charlotte enjoyed her splodge painting of a butterfly so we hung it up to dry and left it there until later on.
As it was Easter we took part int he obligatory egg hunt! Luckily it wa indoor as it was raining by now. We found some 'paper' eggs and then took them to exchange for a chocolate egg at the reception. I would presume that they have other similar events for other occasions throughout the year too.
Lastly we visited the butterfly house. It is very hot in here as it is meant to be 'tropical' There are some amazing and huge butterflies here and they are all beautiful. It is full of exotic plants to attract the butterflies and there are lots flying around. They also have a 'peg' system - look out for coloured pegs the different colours indicate which stage growing butterflies are at for exampla blue pegs may represent that there is cocoon on that plant with a butterfly about to emerg. You might be lucky and see one hatching. There is a pond in here too with some giant carp as well as some ducks and other small birds. I am not a fan of being enclosed in spaces with birds but the ceiling is high enough for them not to fly past your face and scare you to death (that may just me be me though!). On exiting the butterfy house you walk through a dark room where you can see the pygmy hedgehogs, snakes and other creepy crawlies. Unfortunately we didn't stay in here too long as my daughter didn't like the dark!
Overall a lovely place to visit - everything was very clean and well kept. There is a small gift shop selling the usual wares and nothing is too dear so you should be able to find a souvenier for your pestering little one relatively cheap. You don't even have to enter the shop on exit like many places which gets a big thumbs up from me!
A great afternoon was had by all. I really recommend Wild Britain for families and especially young children as they can do the majority of the activities and the place isn't too big for them to walk round. We really enjooyed it and will be visiting again in the summer.