Wetland wonders for your next staycation

Get closer to nature on a wetland adventure this summer. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds and scents of the natural world while cooling off next to the water at our centres.

Wetlands are the perfect place for adventures in warmer weather. With everything from life-size LEGO® brick models of wildlife to canoe safari experiences, a visit to our attractions is a great summer day out.

Here are just some of the highlights you can experience at our sites this summer.

Dalmatian pelicans and diving ducks

A highlight this summer for WWT Arundel is the recently opened Coastal Creek Aviary and Pelican Cove. The new aviary is a walk-through experience with wading avocets, two waterfalls and sea ducks swimming underwater in a huge clear-sided tank. Pelican Cove hosts Dalmatian pelicans with wings spanning up to three metres. A trail card full of self-led Wetland Explorer activities is free for families to explore.

diving duck tank

A sculpture trail and sweet cygnets

With a name that means ‘Castle of the Lark’, it’s oh-so fitting that singing skylarks nestle at WWT Caerlaverock in summer. The 1400-acre centre in Scotland also houses mute swans, which give birth to fluffy cygnets between May and July. Admire outdoor art as well as birdlife here: Geoff Fforest’s animal-shaped steel sculptures are on display until August 28th.

Pond-dipping pursuits and meditation classes

Visitors to WWT Castle Espie can embrace a mindful experience at this northern Irish wildlife centre during the organised meditation sessions and irdwatching mornings. Biologists-in-the-making, meanwhile, might like to give pond-dipping a go during the regular summertime Wetland Explorers events. Will your little one discover diving beetles, surface-skimming water boatmen or something else entirely?

Den-building days out and info-packed nature walks

Wiggly Wood in our WWT Llanelli centre brims with the bits and bobs young nature lovers need to create wild dens. And if budding birders can bear to tear themselves away from their shelter in the trees, they can set off on a canoe safari to see wetland scenery from a different angle. Little ones could also blow off some steam while crawling through the tunnels at Water Vole City.

Lifesize LEGO® brick trails and fantastic froglets

The stars of WWT London this summer are the inanimate animals on the GIANT LEGO® brick trail. Along with a new friend for the huge brick otter and flamingo sculptures, find real-life breeding warblers, from chaffinches to blackcaps, as you cool off from the summer heat at the sheltered lagoon.

Weird, wonderful wetlands and treasure-seeker trails

During the daytime, you can set your sights on South American Inca terns with their Dali-style white moustaches offsetting dark-grey faces at WWT Martin Mere. You might hear the spectacular birds before you sight them: these new additions to the Weird or Wonderful aviary miaow like cats! Giant rubber ducks are also hiding around the centre. Hunt for 25 of the yellow critters – and identify their names – to win a yummy prize. Pick up a trail card from the information desk to kickstart your adventure.

Adorable otters and buzzing bees

Take a trip to WWT Washington to see the wetland and insect gardens brim with life this summer. Bees, butterflies and dragonflies flit around the colorful plants, while frogs croak from the water's edge. Elsewhere, the reserve’s Asian short-clawed otters could keep visitors amused for hours, especially now they have an enrichment frame to encourage natural behaviours like stretching for food. And how about checking out the Wetland Explorers timetable? These events will have the whole family hunting for itsy-bitsy beasts or getting up-close-and-personal with magical moths.

Wetland safaris and Severn Estuary panoramas

At WWT Slimbridge this summer, the fully accessible Estuary Tower is ready and waiting with its sweeping views out over the River Severn. Rather take to the water? Hire a canoe and go exploring on a kilometre-long trail in the wetlands, keeping an eye out for water voles as you paddle along. There's plenty of birdlife to set your sights on too, such as the nene, the world’s rarest goose. Hand-feed these creatures and find out how WWT founder, Sir Peter Scott, developed pioneering techniques to breed the species back from the brink of extinction, as well as behind-the-scenes look at our duckery and amazing expeditions to save wetland wildlife around the world.

Cuckoos, cranes and wetland staycations

Summer is a season of change at WWT Welney, with young cuckoos preparing for their first migration south and elegant cranes returning to the reserve. Listen out for the bugling calls of these big birds, perhaps at the Lady Fen Walk, which reopens in August. An overnight stay at the on-site accommodation is an excellent opportunity to get the reserve – and all its creatures – to yourself.

Rare black winged stilts and roe deer

On a visit to WWT Steart Marshes, you might be lucky enough to get a glimpse of the black-winged stilt family – the long-legged parents bred three chicks here successfully for the first time in July 2020. Look out for graceful roe deer grazing in the surroundings. The views of the lush green Mendips, Quantocks and Brendon Hills in the distant are especially eye-catching during the summer months.

Set your sights on visiting some of our wetland sites this summer?

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