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.

Wader Lake and the saline lagoon – home to a range of flora and fauna; see regionally-rare breeding avocets and lapwing, a large common tern colony, one of the UK’s best heronries and elusive wild otter on the River Wear.

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).