One of the great things about being part-time, is that on my days off, the girls and I have the opportunity to have lovely days out. Wednesday was promising to be dry this week and Freyja wanted to feed the ducks at Slimbridge. This worked out nicely as we are members of Slimbridge so it is effectively a “free” day out for us.
Although it is nice going during term time as it is quieter, the geese do tend to make a beeline to any visitor holding one of the bags of grain that you can buy to feed them. As a result Freyja was a bit concerned about some of the ducks and geese getting too close to her. I love being able to hand feed them, but there was no way that Freyja was going to be happy with me doing that today.
It is Welly boot Land which is the real attraction for the girls. This is a great (duck-free) area with an artificial stream running through and various bridges across, a fountain that is powered by a roundabout and a couple of slides. The girls LOVE it here. They had loads of fun splashing around and exploring whist getting absolutely soaked. It is always worth taking a whole change of clothes and a towel when you come here.
Freyja getting soaked within about 5 seconds of arriving at Welly boot land.
Emily staying dry for just slightly longer than her sister.
This is the most exciting thing Emily has ever seen!
Soaking wellies and socks now abandoned
We bought some sandwiches with us for lunch, but having dried the girls, I wasn’t prepared to risk them getting soaked again in Welly boot Land, so we headed towards the play area at the far side of the centre. We were spotted with our picnic by a couple of friendly Hawaiian Geese (nenes), that got a bit too close to the girls for their liking, so the sandwiches were scoffed as quickly as possible, with both girls cuddled on my lap, screaming at the geese to “Leave us alone!!”.
The girls are concerned with the overly-friendly geese getting closer and closer…..
After the food was consumed, Freyja went to play in the large sandpit area, which she had to herself – although this may have been because there was no way the nenes were able to follow her into here. She then enjoyed playing on the rest of the play area whilst Emily snoozed in the pushchair.
Safe from the geese…..
We then strolled back to the centre, looking at the flamingos and wildfowl and then through the “Bank from the Brink” area where we watched several little water voles running about and swimming in the water in their exhibit. Freyja was fascinated and thought it was so funny to see them “plopping” into the water so willingly. One the way back, Freyja said “Hello” and waved to the bust of Sir Peter Scott who founded the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge in 1946.
When we got back to the centre, we went to the restaurant to have a drink and some cake, and Emily obviously sensed where we were and woke up so she didn’t miss out.
Yummy chocolate muffin
Slimbridge is such a great place to visit – there is something for all ages and there are so many events running throughout the year. My particular favourites are the “Downy Duckling Days” in May where you can go “behind the scenes” at the centre and get to see some very cute tiny ducklings and goslings, and the Bewick Swan feeds at the end of the year. There are also lots of other events on every day such as talks and guided walks. There are hides to visit if you are a keen bird watcher, but you don’t have to be one to visit the hides – the kingfisher hide is a favourite of mine. It is friendly for those who know very little about bird watching, and in any hide there is usually a visitor who is more than happy to point out a few birds for you to see. The paths around the centre are accessible for wheelchairs and buggies and there are plenty of benches and seating areas around to take a breather.
Slimbridge is a really special place for me. I used to go quite a bit when I was widowed, and sitting down watching the ducks is really therapeutic. I have been a member for about 7 years now, and every visit is different. There is always something different to see and the opportunity to learn something new. I can’t fully do justice to everything there is to see and do a Slimbridge in this one post. There are nine WWT centres across the country, so if you haven’t been to one, I would urge you to visit, support the conservation work done by the WWT and have a really lovely day out.