If you are looking for a day out in Surrey, you need something to do with the kids to keep them amused, or just fancy some fresh air and a stroll outside you could do a lot worse than calling in to Birdworld on the outskirts of Farnborough.
I’d never heard of Birdworld until a few weeks ago. A friend suggested meeting up somewhere between London and Reading for an afternoon out, and Birdworld was her first suggestion.Having been there a few times, she said it was a nice place to spend a few hours. So, one Sunday after a hearty roast dinner in a pub down the road (The Royal Oak if you’re interested), we headed to the wonderful world of the birds.
Birdworld opened it’s gates in 1968 and was run as a family business by Roy Harvey, his wife and children. As the park developed, a farm area (Jenny Wren Farm) and an aquarium (Underwater World) were added. The park is now owned and run by Denis E. Head Ltd who also own the adjacent garden centre.
Birdworld is separated into several areas with some of the main exhibits listed below.
Who doesn’t want to start with penguins – everyone loves penguins right?
Penguin Island is home to the parks’ Humboldt Penguins, originating from the coastline of Chile and Peru.
Penguin Beach is home to the African Penguins, originating from South Africa. A nicely themed area, you enter via a ferryboat and boardwalks lead you around the quayside. All the birds at Penguin Beach are indigenous to the region it is based around.
This is another open walk through enclosure where you can get up close with the resident flamingos.
An area themed to a coastal estuary, this is home to several species of wading birds.
The Terry Pratchett Owl Parliament
Unsurprisingly, home to the parks collection of owls, this is a nice interactive area where you can check out the parks wise owls. Newsflash, apparently they are not particularly wise at all but I’m not sure I believe this. They were sleepy, that’s for sure as you will see in the photos.
As well as all of this, there is the Parrots in Flight aviary, the Outback Landing walk through featuring many of the Birdworld’s budgies and Lorikeet Walk featuring those lovely little colourful Lorikeets.
Its important to note that the birds seem well cared for at Birdworld and the company also carries out a lot of conservation work. I am sometimes wary of visiting zoos and places that keep animals, but my visit was pleasant and the birds seemed comfortable and happy in their surroundings.
There are plenty of events throughout the day from interactive feeding sessions, outdoor flying displays and talks from the bird keepers on the various species.
It’s not all about the birds though, if you need a break from your chirping feathered friends, head over to Jenny Wren’s Farm towards the back of the park where you will be chased by chickens (yes, more birds) but you can also have the opportunity to pet some lovely little goats, some huge pigs as well as few sheep (who were lambing during our visit).
Once you are done with both your feathered and fluffy friends, directly outside the entrance to Birdworld is Underwater World with over 30 exhibits including tropical fish, crustaceans, amphibians and reptiles. It wont take too long to walk through, but worthwhile doing while you are there.
Birdworld, Holt Pound, Farnham, Surrey, GU10 4LD, UK