Enjoyed Springwatch? Hopefully you’re now inspired to get outside and find out more about wildlife this weekend. And there’s plenty to see and do at WWT London Wetland Centre, whatever the weather! Most of these activities are undercover, but there’s still plenty to see if you’re dressed for the odd shower.
Top ten weatherproof things to see and do at London Wetland Centre this weekend
1) Meet the Asian short-clawed otters!
You can see the new family of four otters in their new home in World Wetlands. Watch them feeding, playing, and swimming among the waterfalls.
The otters don’t mind the rain – their waterproof fur means they’re perfectly adapted for an aquatic life. Find out more about the otters
2) Spot the orchids
The rain has made the reserve extra green and lush and the wetland plants are thriving. Look out for the striking southern marsh and bee orchids, particularly on the South Route.
It’s been our most successful year so far for bee orchids, with 128 flowering spikes recorded by the time of writing this blog.
If you love plants, don’t forget to sign up for our plant walk later this month.
All of the following activities are indoors or under cover…
3) Explore the hides
We have six hides on site, including the impressive three storey Peacock Tower where you’ll get amazing views across the reserve.
The Headley Hide has extra large windows looking out over the main lake.
To help you with bird ID, there are copies of the Watching Waterbirds book in each hide.
At weekends we even have “guides in the hide” in the Peacock Tower to point out interesting bird species and answer your questions.
4) Visit the Sand Martin nest bank and get a glimpse into the world of a sand martin nest burrow
There’s live camera footage from inside the nest so you can watch the chicks: stay for a few minutes as youre likely to see the parent birds coming in with food.
5) Main Lake view
There are two great places where you can look across the Main Lake without even leaving the main visitor centre. The two storey glass-fronted Observatory offers a stunning view across the lake, where you can even pick out London landmarks in the background.
Use your binoculars or our fixed telescopes to watch the activity on the tern rafts, where common terns are bringing in fish for their chicks. There are also lapwings, mute swan cygnets and little ringed plovers to spot. The Tower offers a slightly different view: its higher up, and from here you can look down on some of the closer islands.
6) Watch a wetland film
We’re screening two films at the moment. In the Theatre you’ll see an inspiring 15 minute film about the importance of wetlands, and up in the Art Gallery (above the shop) there’s a fascinating 15 minute film looking at how London Wetland Centre was developed, how it is maintained, and the wildlife you can expect to see.
7) Tea and cake
Our cafe serves a delicious range of hot meals and sandwiches, and its also great for a mid morning or mid afternoon cup of tea. There’s a good selection of cakes and scones too.
8) Family activities
We have a range of activities lined up for children this weekend, most of which will be indoors if it’s raining. These include craft sessions, making picture frames with natural materials, and butterfly feeders to attract these beautiful insects to your garden. Find out more about our family activities
9) Explore with the family
Children love the Discovery Centre, an indoor play zone that takes you on a journey through the wetlands of the world. Our high-tech Pond Zone has three great features all of which are undercover, and they can take a trip Down the Plughole to follow water on its journey from sink and toilet, through a real sewer pipe, into the wetlands.
10) Wildlife gifts and treats
Looking for a birthday present for a nature lover? Our shop has beautiful wildlife cards, a great range of nature books, and a variety of gifts to suit all ages. We also have a dedicated binocular and telescope shop on site, in focus, where you can choose from a selection of optics and even test them out on the shop’s covered balcony.