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From birdwatchers to families there is plenty to discover all year round. With experiences to suit all ages offering access to a huge variety of wildlife, it is no surprise we are an award-winning day out!

Tips for making the most of your day

  • Arrive early to avoid the crowds.
  • Check the daily walks and talks schedule before you go to make sure you don't miss anything.
  • When you arrive, check the information board for updates on what's happening that day.
  • Pick up a centre map and day planner on arrival - for free! Or download our leaflet and map now and see all the amazing things you can do.
  • Birds have ears too! You'll see much more around the site and in hides if you are quiet and approach slowly.
  • Don't forget to buy a bag of grain at reception to feed the birds. Grain is better than bread for healthy birds and clear water.

Don't miss

Eurasian cranes – unrivalled views of these magnificent birds, once extinct as a breeding species in the UK.

Hawthorn Wood feeding station – a magical spot, where colourful woodland birds flit and feed among shady tree branches. Bullfinch, nuthatch and great-spotted woodpecker are regulars.

Chilean flamingos – our flock of pink Chilean flamingos can be seen dancing dramatically in the summer and looking stunning against snowy backdrops in winter. (During the colder months between November and March, the flamingos will be out from 10.30am until 3pm, when they will then go into their house for warmth and essential UV light.)

Wader Lake – enjoy seasonal highlights including grey heron (winter/spring), regionally rare avocet (Spring/Summer) and a large common tern colony (summer) and a fantastic curlew spectacle (winter).

Saline lagoon – nestled on the river bank sits the Lagoon View hide with views over our saline lagoon, reedbed and the river Wear. Enjoy views of cormorant, elusive kingfisher, secretive wild otter and the occasional grey seal.

Dragonfly and amphibian ponds – buzzing with life in the warmer months and a great place to see nature up close.

Asian short-clawed otters – watch our cheeky, sociable otters as they play, swim and devour tasty fish.

The duckery – our specialist breeding nursery, where some of the most endangered waterbirds on the planet are hatched and raised (seasonal).

Playscape play area – let off steam in our water-themed play area (wellies recommended!).

Pond zone – enjoy interactive fun for all the family as you discover what lurks beneath a pond’s surface (seasonal).