Since I had two weeks off work recently, I wasn’t wanting to waste the time doing nothing or simply just doing cleaning, so I decided to take a big step and visit the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre that’s located in North Anston.
Why a big step?
Because it was my first time going on my own and also my first time having to work out a bus journey on my own. I’m fine with train journeys mostly, but because I never really travel on buses, they were a lot more daunting for me to get on because the bus routes weren’t familiar to me, even within my own home town.
That said, I bit the bullet, worked out the bus I needed to take and travelled out to North Anston. The Centre was only a short walk away from the bus stop, which was quite handy.
I arrived roughly when the Centre opened at around 11am. I actually thought I must of been the first person to arrive there, but there was already a family with a young child there when I got in.
The first place I visited was the brand new aviary for the Parrots, which they’d only just moved into days before. The enclosure has a glass front which makes it easier to see them and take photos of them. I hung around here for a while to see an event with the parrots, displayed within the enclosure itself. The display of the parrots was really nice an informative and really showed off their abilities and how clever they are. Very entertaining for children and adults alike.
After this, I had half an hour to kill before the next display I wanted to see, so I hung out around the barn that was nearby, which is where you’ll of course see the more farmyard animals, such as chickens, goats, pigs, a pony, a turkey and also there were a lot of Peacocks/Peahens wandering around. I swear when I last went about a year and a half ago, they only had one Peacock!
One of the Peacocks had his tail all fanned out and he seemed to be trying to scare the chickens with it, the chickens took absolutely no notice of him!
The next event I went to was the bird aerial display, which is where they show various birds to the crowd, talk a bit about them and let them fly about. They showed off their brother and sister Green-Winged Macaws, Bonnie and Alfie, their Kookaburra named Kookie, their Barn Owl named Wispa and to finish off they showed off one of their newest additions to the centre, which was Vernon the Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture, who was a very handsome looking fellow. He walked amongst the people watching and I got to see him up close, as he walked right up to me! So fantastic!
There was also another aerial display on in the afternoon that I went to, which was roughly the same birds, but the last bird displayed was different from in the morning, so instead of Vernon, it was Ché and Esteban who are Hahn’s Macaw brothers. They were very entertaining and were obviously quite mischievous little creatures. During the Parrot display earlier in the day, while their trainer was cleaning up, they wouldn’t leave her alone!
After the first display, I walked around for a bit, talking some photos and then wandered over to the where the Meerkats were. As soon as I arrived they ran over to me, thinking I had food for them (As visitors can feed them mealworms through the day I believe) once they realized I didn’t they soon lost interest! It was lovely to see them though and the family has certainly grown in number since I last saw them. I hung around that general area until the next event I wanted to see, which was the talk at the Meerkat pen. I got to feed them live mealworms during this!
After that, I wandered around to where they keep the Prairie Dogs, another new addition since I last visited. They were adorable to watch, especially when they greet each other with little kisses! They also share their enclosure with a Skunk, but he was hiding!
Also around this area they keep some chipmunks who wouldn’t stay still for photos unless you enticed them with food that was there to give them!
I walked around to the area where they keep their birds of prey, including Owls and Harris Hawks and then visited the small animal house where, of course, they keep things like Ferrets, Guinea Pigs ect. Though here they had a new events addition, which is to watch the feeding of two baby Meerkats, which are currently being hand-reared at the centre after their mother abandoned them. The two babies were only 3-weeks-old. I got to stroke one of the babies, his fur was so soft!
My last stop was the Butterfly House itself, which is always a lovely experience, being able to walk amongst so many beautiful butterflies. A guy showed off one of their snakes and when he asked it anyone wanted to hold the snake, I was the only one who originally wanted to hold it! It’s funny, I’m so terrified of spiders, but will happily hold a snake (I think snakes look adorable though!)
I feel bad that I didn’t really have the time to browse their gift shop on the way out, as I needed to catch my bus home, but now that I’ve travelled there on bus once, I can now go there any time I wish too!
The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre makes for a lovely day out. It’s both very informative and entertaining for anyone of any age and it’s great that you can interact with a number of the animals there. The staff are all very friendly. You can tell that they really enjoy the jobs they do and all love the animals they work with very dearly.
I’ve been a few times previously with my dad and it’s amazing how the place has expanded and keeps expanding. I remember the first time when I visited it when I was maybe about 12-14. Back then it was just the butterfly house and a small nature trail (I think they had a few birds of prey at that time too). When I visited a few years ago, the first time since my first visit, I was amazed at how big it had gotten and how many different animals they had now!
It really does make a great day out for any animal lover. If you’re not to fond of crowds, visiting the centre during the weekdays while children are at school is of course your best bet. When I went, it was amazingly comfortable to walk around and there were either just families with very young children there, or older people.
Their opening/closing times and prices can be found on their website: http://www.butterflyhouse.co.uk/
Now that I’m a lot more confidant with buses, I’m planning to also visit the Yorkshire Wildlife Park that’s near Doncaster, which I visited with my dad last year. I plan to maybe go sometime after Easter, as I believe they’re getting some Leopards around that time. I originally thought there was no easy way to get to the place, but I’ve since found a bus that stops within a 15 minute walking distance from the park.
Now that I’ve found the confidence and more independence to go on my own, I think I’ll be visiting both these places quite a bit now!
I took a number of photos while at The Butterfly House, which will eventually be found in the Photos section of my website, Chocolate Orange.