Having purchased our tickets we emerged from the Visitor Centre beside a lake. At first we weren’t that impressed. There were plenty of ducks, swans and coots and at the far end we could see – and hear – the children’s play area. However, we soon discovered that this was just for starters. There was much more beyond..
Highlights for us included watching the otters doing acrobatics in the water at feeding time, a first sighting of an avocet on the wader shore, little blue beaked ducks called ‘white headed ducks'(!), sleeping tree frogs in the tropical house looking like porcelain figures, all six different species of flamingos (but what a stink they make!), a walk along the estuary at low tide beside the swirling sands.
The place is very family friendly and well equipped for groups. There is plenty to interest everyone; as well as the vast array of birds and hides on a myriad of lakes – including one where you can canoe at an extra charge – all intertwined with footpaths, there are exhibitions, picnic areas, a tower you can climb (or use the lift) for stunning views over the centre and estuary, plus a large souvenir shop and restaurant.
We were there 4 hours and could probably have done with longer. As we were leaving we heard one little girl of about 7 in a pink jacket and purple wellies saying to her teacher: ‘That was the best day ever!’
Slimbridge Wetland Centre beside the River Severn estuary is approximately 25 miles away from Lower Mill Estate/ Somerford Keynes. The journey – via Tetbury, then Dursley and over the M5 to Slimbridge – takes about 50 minutes.
The entry cost for adults in 2013 is £11.50.
Opening times are from 9.30am to 5.30pm (5pm in winter)
For more information see their website www.wwt.org.uk/slimbridge