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Top 4 wildlife adventures in Bedford

For the ultimate family adventure full of cute animals, Bedford is the perfect choice with a zoo, safari park, RSPB reserve and bird of prey center to keep the kids entertained.

Watch the faces of your children light up with excitement as they set eyes on their favorite animal for the first time. Here are our top four tips for an eventful short break in Bedford, one that is sure to capture the attention of young and curious minds.

1. Go wild at Whipsnade Zoo

ZSL Whipsnade Zoo is the largest in the UK with over 600 acres of land dedicated to over 2500 animals. The park’s main goals are conservation and education. Many species are endangered and take part in global breeding plans. The zoo gives many children, and indeed adults, the unique chance to see animals they may never get to see in the wild. During the day there are many special events including feeding time and keeper talks. Remember to plan what you want to see and walk around the zoo according to those times. Events include the Lemur Breakfast, Chimp Chat, Sea Lion Splash, Elephant Talk and much more. At Hullabazoo Farm, kids can experience an up-close visit with farmyard animals, which they can pet.

New at the zoo is the Butterfly House. As you walk amidst hundreds of colourful butterflies, you will be mesmerised as they fly around you and even land on you. Keep your eyes open for over thirty vibrant species as they feed on nectar plants and fruit. In the puparium, you can see each stage of the life cycle as this zone is home to hundreds of hatching species in the process of metamorphosing.

Things to do in Bedfordshire - ZSL Whipsnade Zoo , a combined picture of an elephant and monkeys on a man's shoulder

©ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

2. Look to the skies at the Bird of Prey Centre

The Bird of Prey Centre is one of the largest in the UK and offers excellent value for money for a family day out. In addition to regular flying displays, there are a number of ticket options you can choose from. How about a Summer Afternoon Tea with Owls? Spend time with some of Britain’s most loved owls, including handling and free flying them, before sitting down to afternoon tea and discussing the experience. There are other tickets that offer the opportunity to handle and fly hawks, eagles and kites. To create the perfect family memory, select the Family Half Day Bird Ticket for a more personal experience and chance to meet the residents. There is plenty for the adults too, with Falconry Days and Half Day Photography Tours where you will learn special techniques behind the lense for capturing the birds of prey in flight, gliding and diving to the ground. The keepers have unlimited passion and enthusiasm which shines through during displays and talks. Get up close to magnificent birds we rarely get to see in the wild and even get the chance to handle and fly them. Aside from the birds, there is a range of summer activities including the bouncy castle village, zorbing, tractor rides and the critter encounter.

Things to do in Bedfordshire - Bird of Prey Centre , a bird landing on a man's hand ©Bird of Prey Centre

3. Take a walk on the wild side at Woburn Safari Park

For the ultimate family day out take your troop to Woburn Safari Park. The road safari will take you on a journey through some of the world’s wildest environments including northern plains, Savannah grasslands and the African forest. Along the way, you will also enter the Kingdom of the Carnivores and Giraffe Junction, encountering bison, zebras, rhinos, lions and monkeys. If you decide to ditch the car and take a walk on the wild side with the walking safari, you will discover animals from across the globe, including meerkats, elephants, birds of prey, penguins and kangaroos. This is just a taste of what you can see here. The park is home to over 80 species. Throughout the day, there are various opportunities to learn more about the animals, their habitats and the park’s conservation efforts through keeper talks, demonstrations and feeding times. Don’t forget to stop by Junglies Gift Shop for animal-themed souvenirs and cuddly toys. If you want to add a little more excitement to your day, Go Ape at the tree top adventure park. Swing though the canopy with zip wires, rope bridges and other challenges.

Things to do in Bedfordshire- Woburn Safari Park - Elephant Meadow, lose enough to touch

©Woburn Safari Park

4. Bring your binoculars to The Lodge

If you have any aspiring young ornithologists at home, take them to discover Britain’s birdlife in natural habitats and teach them tips on how to observe and identify birds in the wild. The Lodge is a RSPB reserve made up of woodland, heath and grasslands, perfect for spotting native species. Walk around the landscaped gardens, along five miles of walking trails, visit the Iron Age Galley Hill and spot woodland birds such as woodpeckers, hobbies and nuthatches from the hide. Hire binoculars and purchase bird books and bird food from the shop.

There are plenty of options in and around Bedford for a family day out at nature and wildlife parks. Educate the kids about animals and conservation and at the same time enjoy unique moments as they encounter animals, possibly for the first time. The Park Inn by Radisson Bedford Hotel is just a short drive to each of these attractions.

Things to do in Bedfordshire - reserve made up of woodland, heath and grasslands, perfect for spotting native species, The Lodge is a RSPB

©RSPB The Lodge

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