Wildlife, flamingos and family fun – Summer at Washington Wetland Centre
From den building to pond dipping and animal tracking, here's what’s on at Washington Wetland Centre over the summer holidays.
With the summer holidays now in full swing, it’s time to get our thinking caps on about what to do with the kids.
There’s nothing like spending some quality time in the great outdoors with the little ones. A chance for them to explore, run free and discover wildlife.
With birds busy raising their young, ponds buzzing with colourful dragonflies and meadows filled with flowers, WWT Washington Wetland Centre is well worth a visit this summer holidays.
From meeting some adorable animals (the flamingos are a firm family favourite) to daily fun-filled outdoor activities, there’s plenty of wild family fun at Washington Wetland Centre.
And here’s what you expect at Washington Wetland Centre this summer…
HLN TOP TIP: We recently visited and shared our highlights on TikTok.WATCH NOW
SEE WWT THROUGH THE EYES OF THE UK’S BEST-LOVED ILLUSTRATOR
Quentin Blake at WWT: Drawn to Water Trail is a beautifully illustrated guide that takes you on a journey around wetlands, woodlands and meadows. Experience nature in new and unexpected ways with the help of his distinctive drawings. Discover a selection of little before-seen wetland-themed images from Sir Quentin Blake’s personal archive.
HLN TOP TIP: Pick up your free guide from admissions which includes a detachable collectable bookmark.
GET STUCK IN WITH DAILY HANDS-ON ACTIVITIES
There’s a whole host of daily activity sessions planned across the summer, from pond dipping, den building and animal tracking to art workshops, moth mornings and warden-led walks.
HLN TOP TIP: Check out the new relaxed pond dipping sessions that are designed to welcome visitors who may benefit from a more informal setting, additional space and smaller crowds.
LET YOUR CREATIVITY GO WILD
Try your hand at natural printing with Washington Wetland Centre’s arty learning team. Explore different printing and mark-making techniques such as the Japanese art of leaf-dyeing or enjoy painting with feathers and using chalks to trace different textures. Plus, you can take home anything you create.
Or, why not help to produce a bigger picture for wetland nature by joining illustrator Emily Butterfield for an art session with a difference? Use pens, paints, tissue paper and a whole manner of crafting materials to complete your piece of an exciting, large-scale wetland mural that’ll be displayed in the Centre.
See Washington Wetland Centre’s What’s On page for full details of all their daily summer activities.
MEET SOME ADORABLE ANIMAL FAMILIES
Otter talks: 11:30am & 2:30pm
Flamingo talks: 11:45am & 2:45pm
Get the chance to meet adorable Asian short-clawed otters Mimi, Musa and their son Buster. See them rolling in mud, playing in the water and foraging for food around their enclosure. Plus, the resident Chilean flamingos are a firm visitor favourite – with their flamboyant plumage and synchronised dance moves.
Make sure to watch twice-daily keeper talks where you come up close to the animals as they are fed and learn some fascinating facts about the species. Be sure to have some questions at the ready to test their expert knowledge.
BE AT ONE WITH NATURE FOR SOME QUALITY FAMILY TIME
During summer, the wetlands are truly uplifting places to be lush, verdant and brimming with life. And spending just a small amount of time in them – with their abundance of water, wildlife and seasonal displays – can make for some incredibly mindful moments indeed.
Just outside of the visitor centre, bees buzz in large numbers through the lavender bushes. Take a wander to the wildflower meadows, filled with vibrant hues before you reach the amphibian and dragonfly ponds.
DISCOVER SOME WONDERFUL WILDLIFE THIS SUMMER
No visit to wetlands is complete without an up-close wildlife experience. Visit Hawthorn Wood Hide feeding station, where you can watch through the central floor-to-ceiling window the colourful adult woodland birds’ feed and show young juveniles how to fly and feed.
During summer, hundreds of waterbirds – including tufted duck and gadwall – gather at Wader Lake and on the saline lagoon to breed and raise their young. If you spend enough time in the circular Lagoon View Hide you might even glimpse the electric blue flash of a kingfisher or the white rump of a roe deer running past.
SIT BACK AND RELAX AND ENJOY THE FACILITIES
After a day of exploring why not sit back and relax with a cuppa and a cake in the café? Waterside Café is open from 10am daily with a range of homemade meals and snacks on offer. You have to try the new summer menu.
Let the little ones burn off some steam in the children’s play area complete with Archimedes screw, a nature kitchen and an accessible sand pit.
HLN TOP TIP: Why not buy a souvenir from the gift shop to remind you of your special day together? Every penny you spend in the café supports Washington Wetland’s conservation work.
If you’ve been inspired to explore Washington Wetland Centre this summer, plan and book your visit online.
Washington Wetland Centre, Barmston Lane, Pattinson, Washington NE38 8LE