Top 5 things to do this summer at Washington Wetland Centre

Families across the North East can follow in the muddy footsteps of Washington Wetland Centre’s rangers this summer, with a host of daily hands-on activities designed to teach conservation skills while having fun outdoors.

Read on for our Top Tips of what else to see and do while you’re here to make it a wild day out to remember!

1. Visit the duckery

The sight of a tiny baby duckling taking its first wobbly steps is core memory making stuff indeed. Bring your little ones to meet ours up at our specialist breeding duckery and share in that moment together. With white-headed ducklings, barnacle goslings and new species hatching all the time, it’s guaranteed fluffiness throughout the holidays.

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2. Spot birds from a hide

One of a wetland ranger’s top skills is birdwatching. Whether you’re new to birdwatching or are a dab hand at telling your avocet from your curlew, the hides never fail to impress. Northumbrian Water hide is one of the first hides visitors come across and it continues to bring them closer to nature, with recent views of common tern, avocet, curlew and oystercatcher. We'd definitely recommend a trip there which is just down towards the river from the otter enclosure.

If woodland birds are more your family's thing, pop to Hawthorn Wood where many juvenile birds are now practising their flying skills and flocking to the regularly topped up feeding stations.

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3. Do a daily Junior Wetland Ranger activity

Add to your Junior Wetland Rangers experience with one of our hands-on, staff-led activities; designed to connect visitors of all ages with wetland nature through wild play and exploration. Dates and times vary – please see our What’s On pages for full details.

  • Nest Detectives – immerse yourself in interactive role-play with a wetland ranger twist. Can you help our team search for hidden bird’s eggs and ID the ones you find?
  • Pond dipping – what fascinating underwater creatures will you discover in our ponds? See how many different species you can identify, just like our real-life wetland rangers.
  • Health Check Heroes – enjoy hands-on keeper-themed role-play and help give an otter or flamingo (toy!) an essential health check.
  • Moth mornings – get involved in our survey work and check our moth traps with us to see amazing species up close and learn all about them.
  • Den building – practice your wild building skills as you design and create your own den using a mixture of materials.
  • Mini-beast hunts – unearth amazing mini-beasts hidden in our woodlands with your wetland ranger equipment and some top tips from our team.
  • Animal tracking – find out how to look for the special signs and clues left behind by wildlife: one of the most key wetland ranger skills used in the wild.

PLUS as part of Junior Wetland Rangers, pick up a FREE record book on arrival and tick off Junior Wetland Rangers tasks while you explore our wonderful wetlands, discovering incredible wildlife and amazing habitats as you go. Self-led, available throughout the day, all summer long.

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4. Be dazzled by pink

Our Chilean flamingos are out daily from 10am until 4.30pm for visitors to enjoy. Watch as they display with their wings outspread and perform the 'head dance' around their exhibit.

Their sandy island is the perfect place to rest their feet, giving you great views as they preen those famous pink feathers. Sit on the bench opposite their enclosure to watch them and see if you can spot any eggs!

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5. Switch on your senses

Turn nature sleuth and switch on all your senses as you walk around to discover summer wildlife on a whole new level. As an extra challenge (particularly with little ones in tow!) stand still, stay quiet and close your eyes…

What do you hear? What does it feel like as you lift your face to the sky on a sunny day? Summer has a smell too! You could turn this into a fun game and use our special senses scavenger hunt activity sheet on your visit or at home.

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Check out our handy timetable of events here or see our What’s On pages for full event listings.

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If you've been inspired to explore Washington Wetland Centre this summer, find out more and plan your visit online.

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