Washington Wildfowl and Wetlands
The Washington Wetlands Centre is a place we only discovered recently and visited for the first time in August 2011.
Situated on the banks of the River Wear just outside Washington, the Wetlands Centre is basically a large parkland full of different water habitats and lots of birds. (OK so I’m not a bird expert but I thought MissB would love to see them ).
First things first, the centre was easy to find, had plenty of parking. Another essential for us, is that there is enough space to take a double buggy everywhere. We managed to fit through every door we found and the paths around the park were all a good surface and wide enough for the buggy. There were also good clean baby changing facilities and toilets in the visitor centre at the entrance.
On arrival we were given a map of the centre and the staff kindly pointed out areas of interest for us. Our first stop on our route around the park was the close encounters area, an area where you can get up close to some beautiful birds and even hand feed them (bags of corn are available at the visitor centre for 80p). MissB absolutely loved this and I think she could have spent all day looking at the birds, although she was also very keen to jump in the water and join them! We kept a close eye on her and made sure she left the water for the ducks to enjoy instead
As we continued our way around the path, we came across flamingos which were stunning. It was a shame that they were all standing at the far side of the pond but MissB was happy to have a nature lesson from Daddy and view them from a distance. Along the path were various other ponds containing other rare and endangered species. They were gorgeous and I’m sure MissB would have stood throwing them corn all day. When I say throwing I mean as in toddler, complete lack of aim throwing and so it was hardly surprising her coat was full of corn she had thrown over herself by the end of the trip
We then moved onto the Otter enclosure, where we spent about 15 minutes looking for Rod and Musa the resident Otters, unfortunately for us we missed the feeding times (11am and 3pm) and despite all our searching we couldn’t find them so they must have been hiding (It was a shame as MissB loved the Otters at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth).
We then continued on around the path, past the Japanese Cranes which were huge and a little bit scary. We then headed down to the nursery and although it is a little late in the season there were still plenty of little chicks to be seen
At this point we continued back to the visitor centre as MasterB was getting hungry and we decided it was a good time to have lunch etc. The food was very tasty and they even had a range of toys to play with so that when MissB had finished eating she still sat happily playing at the table whilst I fed MasterB and we finished our lunch.
After a double nappy change we then set off to the play area to let MissB enjoy some fun in the Splash Zone. MissB loved it here, there are tunnels, water toys, boats and a whole variety of toys to keep the little ones happy for a while. Although she did get soaked in the water toys (note: next time packing a change of clothes might be a good idea!).
As MissB was soaked and time was getting on, we decided to call it a day after this, we had intended to go for a walk around the longer circuit taking in the reed beds, wader lake and the meadows but we will have to leave this until next time
We had a lovely day out there and would highly recommend it for a visit
Visitor information can be found on their website here