Animals, including extinct animals and a bit of beach action makes for a fun packed day on the Isle of Wight.
After an early start from the mainland, we arrive at the Wildheart Animal Sanctuary (previously known as The Isle of Wight Zoo) even before the doors have opened.
The Sanctuary is conveniently located right next to a sandy beach at Yaverland. We quickly admire the long stretch of sand, grab a drink and then head off for our day full of animals.
The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary is a relaxed and simple affair. The staff are exceptionally friendly and knowledgeable. There are plenty of interesting animals to keep the little ones entertained (and the parents too, I love a lemur).
Right from the start, there is a feeling of caring in the air. It is obvious their number one priority is the welfare of the animals.
The Wight Place Gang tagged along to a few talks given by the staff. We learnt about some of the big cats stories. Although sometimes the cats have quite sad stories, my daughter loved hearing about the happy endings and knowing they were now being looked after well at the Sanctuary.
Along with the many animals, the Madagascan adventures and talks, there is an education centre to visit (plenty of colouring in and interesting facts). There is a trail of stamps to collect. You will also find a small park area, plenty of picnic benches and a cafe serving light refreshments. On the day we visited there was some pottery painting taking place courtesy of Arty Shakes (they didn't have any shakes with them so I am going to have to visit the shop next trip over).
The Wildheart Animal Sanctuary is maybe not a full day out, but it certainly kept us busy for a fair chunk of the day.
With a few hours to spare, we headed off to Dinosaur Isle - which is literally 5 minutes away. Dinosaur Isle is a museum dedicated to all things dinosaur. After a pretty quick walk around the museum (The small person was a bit freaked out by the dinosaur noises, fuelled by the fact we were the only ones in there!), we went upstairs to the education room. Be careful not to miss it when you visit - it was good fun. Colouring in, painting, dressing up outfits, toys and more learning to be done. We found out here that they do walks on the beach looking for fossils and dinosaurs on certain days. I think we maybe back to try one of those in the future... maybe we will bring Daddy to escort us around the museum and keep us safe from those Tyrannosaurus Rex's and their friends.
- Don't go expecting a massive zoo that will take you all day to go around. Expect a chilled out day with plenty to see and do. You won't be left feeling like you have walked over 25 miles and spent a days wages in just 20 minutes!
- Bring a picnic to save a few pennies. There are plenty of places to sit and eat (providing its not raining!).
- The Dinosaur Isle gives you 10% off the entrance fee if you have visited the Zoo that day (not that well advertised, so ask).
- Stick some beach clothes in the car. When you have finished at the zoo and dinosaur museum, run around on the beach and build a sandcastle before you head home.
Verdict on Our Day Out - Chilled out day with plenty of learning.
If you have a toddler in tow, check out our guest Blog from Mum On an Island