Tag Archives: Ribby Hall

Days Out: The Capybara Experience at Wild Discovery

Every summer the boy and I have a week at Ribby Hall in Lancashire. Since we started going there in 2017, we’ve been visiting the on site zoo, Wild Discovery. Each year we’ve watched it grow, visited their new animals; and every time we visit we spend at least a couple of days at the zoo, just hanging out and learning more about the creatures who share this planet with us.

Days Out: The Capybara Experience at Wild Discovery

Wild Discovery is a brilliant place, it’s really welcoming and very educational; we just love it. The last time we visited, we booked the capybara experience, so the boy could get up close and personal with these giant, and very adorable animals. The session costs £25 and you get to meet the capybara, help to feed them and put together some enrichment activities for them. You also get to spend lots of time with a keeper who will tell you all about the capybara and answer any questions you may have.

Days Out: The Capybara Experience at Wild Discovery

Capybara are a giant rodent native to South America and they are the largest living rodent. The capybara is a close relative of the guinea pig and they usually live in savannas and dense forests. They have webbed feet, which help to make them really good swimmers. They are a highly social species and can be found in large groups. Capybara are not a threatened species, but they are hunted for their meat. They are incredibly docile, which makes them ideal for meeting and greeting the public at Wild Discovery.

The three capybara at Wild Discovery (Mo, Curly and Larry) live in a good sized enclosure with their own pool. They like a good dip on a hot day and love nothing more than having a nice scratch.

Days Out: The Capybara Experience at Wild Discovery

We were welcomed by keepers, Alex and Grace, and we had to wash our hands and wear a mask before we could meet the trio of capybara. There were some safety rules to remember, which is important because they’re still wild animals. We were asked to sit on a log and wait for the capybara to come to us. We enticed them over with some chopped up butternut squash and we got to give them a scratch and feed them by hand, which was incredible.

The boy helped put together some enrichment activities; whilst keepers, Grace and Alex gave us the low down on all things capybara. We were the only ones booked for the capybara experience, so it felt like a really exclusive experience.

The boy was thrilled with his hour in the capybara enclosure. For £25 per person, you get a real once in a lifetime experience. Who else do you know who has given a capybara a good scratch behind their ears?

Days Out: The Capybara Experience at Wild Discovery

If you’re visiting Ribby Hall, or Wild Discovery, it’s well worth seeing if you can book in for one of their animal experiences. The experiences change throughout the year; but at the time of writing you can book onto the capybara experience or the tortoise experience.

We paid for our visit and experience in full.

Days Out: The Capybara Experience at Wild Discovery

What’s on our Summer Bucket List for 2018?

I am more happy than you can imagine that the summer holidays are here. Sure, it means more work for me, juggling my job and child care, but it’s so nice to be able to just hang out with my boy for the summer and just do nice things. I’ve been thinking about some things we can do together and as a family over the summer. This blog post will serve as an informal plan for us and a summer bucket list of suggestions we can pick and choose from. Having a list of options is always a useful thing, especially when you’re stuck for inspiration or ideas.

What's on our Summer Bucket List for 2018?

We’ve got some day trips planned; a holiday to Devon and our annual jaunt to Just So Festival to look forward to, so here is our summer bucket list for 2018.

summer bucket list for 2018

⇒ Visit Manchester Museum and look at the frogs
⇒ Visit and explore Ordsall Hall in Salford
⇒ Go crabbing and have fish and chips in Appledore in Devon
⇒ Visit Tintagel Castle and find out more about King Arthur
⇒ Fill the paddling pool with gelli baff and have a paddling pool party
⇒ Visit Launceston Castle in Cornwall
⇒ Visit Tamar Otter and Wildlife Centre in Devon
⇒ Go back to Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall in Lancashire
⇒ Go glamping in a yurt in the Lake District
⇒ Take part in the dog show at the Woolsery Agricultural Show
⇒ Go to the playground in the park and have a picnic
⇒ Visit Westward Ho! and see if the shipwrecks are still visible
⇒ Sing around the Just So Campfire
⇒ Visit the Gweek Seal Sanctury in Cornwall
⇒ Go on some treasure hunts using a Treasure Trail maps
⇒ Visit the castle fort in the park in Bideford in Devon
⇒ Count the stars at night, when camping at The Just So Festival
⇒ Rest, read and reconnect
⇒ Visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester for family fun
⇒ Bake and decorate cakes for our nice neighbours
⇒ Join the Tribal Tournament at The Just So Festival (we are buzzing!)

What are you going to get up to this summer? What’s on your summer bucket list?

What's on our Summer Bucket List for 2018?

Days Out: Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall

At the end of August I took the small boy away for five days at Ribby Hall in Lancashire. We had a brilliant little break, but one of the highlights was visiting the small independent zoo which is on the site, Wild Discovery. We’ve been to zoos large and small, but never have we experienced anything like the interactive and hands-on experience we had at Wild Discovery.

Days Out: Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall

From our cottage at Ribby Hall we could see some of the enclosures at Wild Discovery, which is quite special if you’re staying in the village. We set aside an afternoon to spend exploring Wild Discovery. It’s the kind of thing you can whip around in half an hour, or you could easily spend a day exploring and interacting. We went twice during our stay, which tells you how much we enjoyed it.

There are lots of different animals and birds at Wild Discovery; from farmyard animals like rare breed pigs, pretty little calves, a reindeer, chickens, rabbits, guinea pigs, sheep and even an orphan duck. There’s an exotic house with bats, insects, reptiles and some fish, as well as tortoise, armadillo and lovely little marmoset monkeys.

The favourites with the children were the meerkats, obviously. The family group at Wild Discovery are great fun, especially at feeding time. We were lucky enough to be there a few times when they were being fed. They are such funny, cheeky little creatures.

Days Out: Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall

There is a safari walk which takes you past all the birds, past the Asian small-clawed otters, the capybara, pelicans, alpaca, wallaby’s, rhea and the porcupine (adorably called Pricklelilly).

My son was particularly taken with the Asian small-clawed otters Ollie and Geoff. During a keeper session we helped to put together an enrichment activity for them, putting live mealworms into a ball for the otters to play with and eat. We ended up spending quite a lot of time watching Geoff and Ollie playing in their enclosure and ultimately adopting them both. (We’re planning to visit them again soon).

Days Out: Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall

There are regular sessions throughout the day which you are free to join in with. The sessions are listed on their website, but they currently include; the Farmyard Talk; an Enrichment Activity; Otter Talk and Feed; Pelican Feeding Talk; Meerkat Talk; Farmyard Talk; Armadillo Talk and Meet the Keeper.

These sessions are what made Wild Discovery so special for us both. We really loved that you could spend time with the staff learning about the animals. The keepers would often let you touch the animals or feed them if appropriate. One of our highlights was discovering a freshly laid (unfertilised) rhea egg and getting to touch it while it was still warm.

Days Out: Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall

We learned so much at Wild Discovery, it’s such a friendly place and so hands on. It’s still quite new, I know they have plans to build and extend what they have and add new animals over the next few years or so. It’s such a great place to visit, even if you’re not staying at Ribby Hall.

Wild Discovery will also feature on popular the Cbeebies TV programme “Fern & Rory’s Vet Tales” in 2018. The programme will feature Wild Discovery and showcase several of the animals in the zoo. They will also feature a behind the scenes look into the work of the Exotic Veterinary Team. Worth looking out for!

Tickets to Wild Discovery (with unlimited access for one day) are £7 for adults and £6 for children. Under 3’s go free. For more information about visiting Wild Discovery  visit their website.

We paid for our tickets to Wild Discovery. We’ve not been paid to write this post. We are just sharing a lovely experience of a great attraction.

Goodbye summer, hello again relentless routine

When I wake up tomorrow morning two things will happen. It’s my birthday so I’ll get smothered by my menfolk and the dog of questionable pedigree and loved to bits, which is nice. The other thing tomorrow brings is the return to school and the start of Year 2 for my precious little baby (now a big, tall and strong nearly 7 year old). It’s time to say goodbye summer!

As I tucked him up in bed tonight I shed a quiet tear to myself. We have had the most incredible summer. Seven weeks of fantastic memories, quality time together and just really fun stuff, much of which I’ve not yet had time to blog about, so do watch this space!

We’d sat down this afternoon with a pen and paper and listed all the really fun, memorable stuff we’d done together and it was quite a list. Reading the list back and remembering everything just made my heart burst a bit. We’ve been very lucky, there’s been a budget of sorts we’ve stuck to and the cost of expensive days out has been tempered by packing a picnic and using vouchers or deals where we could. We did well and I am very sad it’s over.

 

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At the start of the summer we wrote a bucket list. But how did we get on? This is what we managed to tick off…

⇒ Build sandcastles on the beach in Devon
⇒ Sleep lots (Ben’s suggestion)
⇒ Visit Ben’s cousins in Devon
⇒ Go to the playground in the park
⇒ Visit the Sealife Centre at Weymouth
⇒ Go on a treasure hunt in Bude using Treasure Trails maps
⇒ Visit the castle fort in the park in Bideford
⇒ Count the stars at night, when camping at The Just So Festival
⇒ Sing around the Just So Campfire
⇒ Feed the animals at Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall 
⇒ Have a Cornish pasty picnic on the beach
⇒ Join the Tribal Tournament at The Just So Festival (we were bees!)

 

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But we also managed to do this…

Rockpooling in Woolacombe (and found an octopus)
⇒ Joined in the dog show at the Woolsery Show (and won!)
⇒ Went foraging at Just So Festival and ate dried mealworms & crickets
⇒ Built a den in the woods at Just So Festival
⇒ Joined in the massive Just So pillow fight!
⇒ Went out for lunch and ended up splashing in the water-features in Cathedral Gardens in Manchester 
⇒ Went to Chester Zoo with Daddy (loved the gibbons the best)
⇒ Found a Rhea egg at Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall
⇒ Went up the Jurassic Skyline attraction in Weymouth
⇒ Adopted Geoff & Ollie the otters at Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall
⇒ Massively grew in confidence with his swimming, loved the pool at Ribby Hall!
⇒ Met and touched the armadillos, a gecko, a cockroach, tortoise, rabbits, sheep, calves, pigs and reindeer at Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall

We’ve done lots, we’ve hardly fallen out with each other and every night we’ve gone to bed smiling with our heads and hearts full of adventure. I’ve loved it and so has he. It really has been the best summer ever.

I’ll have very mixed feelings in the morning, seeing him skip off to school again and hearing the house fall silent once more. It will be nice to catch up with some jobs and to tackle my to do list, but not as nice as doing what I love best, spending time with my boy.

PS. Happy birthday me x

 

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What’s on our Summer Bucket List for 2017?

I was speaking to a teacher this morning who excitedly told me there were “seven more sleeps” until the school holidays begin, this is a number which fills me with terror and excitement in equal measure. It may seem like a long time to fill with activities, but I think those six weeks will go in the blink of an eye. I asked him last night what he wanted to do over the holidays and together we came up with a summer bucket list of sorts.

We have some sketchy plans for the six weeks our six year old son will be off school and out of routine. I want him to relax, have fun and enjoy being six. We also want to really work hard on getting him ready for the big leap into Year 2, so lots of reading, some work books and lots of counting in twos, fives and tens.

During the school holidays we are going on holiday in North Devon (right on the Cornish border) and there’s lots to do there. We will be going to the Just So Festival in August and Ben and I will be leaving Daddy and the dog at home and going to Ribby Hall for five days. In between we have trips out and fun things planned, plus plenty of rest days at home so we can chill out and get bored.

What’s on our Summer Bucket List for 2017?

⇒ Build sandcastles on the beach in Devon
⇒ Sleep lots (Ben’s suggestion)
⇒ Visit Ben’s cousins in Devon
⇒ Go to the playground in the park
⇒ Visit Westward Ho! and see if the shipwrecks are still visible
⇒ Go crabbing and have fish and chips in Appledore
⇒ Visit the Sealife Centre at Weymouth
⇒ Have lunch at the River Cottage Canteen in Axminster
⇒ Go on some treasure hunts using Treasure Trails maps
⇒ Visit the castle fort in the park in Bideford
⇒ Go fossil hunting in Lyme Regis
⇒ Count the stars at night, when camping at The Just So Festival
⇒ Go for a dip in the Bude Pool
⇒ Sing around the Just So Campfire
⇒ Visit Elizabeth Gaskell’s House in Manchester
⇒ Feed the animals at Wild Discovery at Ribby Hall
⇒ Bake and decorate cakes for our nice neighbours
⇒ Build a bug hotel for our garden
⇒ Have a Cornish pasty picnic on the beach
⇒ Join the Tribal Tournament at The Just So Festival (we are buzzing!)

What's on our Summer Bucket List for 2017?

Check back at the end of the summer to see how we got on!

What’s on your summer bucket list?