It’s no secret that we absolutely love to visit WWT Slimbridge Wetland Centre, it’s right up there with our favourite places for a family day out and therefore we was over the moon to be invited back to take part in, and review, their summer event – Dusty’s Wildlife Rangers.
Dusty’s Wildlife Rangers is running throughout the summer holidays (from Saturday 22nd July to Sunday 3rd September) and welcomes all to come along and take on a variety of wild and wonderful challenges that are ran throughout each day.
I first found out about the event on a previous visit in June, a leaflet caught my eye, all three of us love getting up close to wildlife and Slimbridge gives you the perfect opportunity to do just that, with the added activities on offer I was very keen for us to go and check it out so I’m so very grateful to Jenny and the team for kindly inviting us along. This time around we also brought along my mum and mother in law ( the Dads were busy), both hadn’t visited Slimbridge for many years and were really looking forward to seeing what’s changed. We love family days out and It was so lovely to be able to share this experience with them and of course little one loved having her Nana’s there.
So on Sunday 30th July we woke nice and early, excited and eager to make our way to the challenges awaiting, so much so I actually got most of our gear ready the night before and I’m never that organised! There is a variety of activates on offer all of which can be found on the website along with the timings and locations so I also had a quick look through and planned out our day so we knew exactly what we wanted to do, take part in as many activities as we could and wouldn’t waste any time whilst there.
We arrived at 10:30 …
…and made our way across the bridge and straight to reception to begin our wildlife rangers adventure.
Before heading out to get up close to nature we collected our rangers logbook from the wildlife rangers stand, its a free booklet in which Information on all the activities, start times and locations is noted and where all wildlife explorers can document their adventure. For every challenge completed a sticker is earned, these can also be kept within the logbook, earn 4 or more and the little explorers will be rewarded with a special Dusty Duck sticker. I was definitely just as excited as Freya!
One of the Wildlife rangers challenges was to feed the birds! something all of us enjoy and needed no persuasion to take part in. we collected our grain from the admissions foyer (£1 for a generously filled bag) and was ready to get stuck in! Its so wonderful to see Freya’s excitement whilst she’s digging into the bags of grain and throwing handfuls to the ducks, geese, swans and anything that will gobble it up.
We made our way up to the marquee at Riverlife to join in a mini expedition with the Slimbridge Wildlife Rangers and become nature detectives!
We was the first to arrive and greeted warmly by the Slimbridge staff, not long after quite a group had formed and we was ready to begin the walk. Before we’d even left the marquee one of the rangers spotted something…
A giant moth! The closer you look at these creatures the more beautiful they appear.
The wildlife walk was fantastic and we was also able to take along little ones pram in case she got tired little legs! The rangers were happy to answer any questions and the walk was full of interesting facts not only about the vast variety of wildlife but also the environment, plants and habitats, truly fascinating, and of course beautiful sights.
Freya was curious to see what one of the rangers had brought along…
We got to have a closer look at a nest built by harvest mice, moulded badger footprints and even a skull! Considering the forecast we was very lucky with the weather and it only started to shower on our return! All of us found the Nature detectives walk very enjoyable, we collected Freya’s sticker and decided to head to the Kingfisher Kitchen for lunch to refuel for the afternoons activities.
We made a quick pitstop to shelter from a heavy shower…
Such gorgeous views from the Kingfisher Kitchen. On our recommendation our mothers chose the double Gloucester cheese and ham hock panini, as did we, delicious! Freya enjoyed a selection from the kids pick a mix lunch and then we excitedly headed to our next stop, the pond zone!
We chose Pondemonium as our next activity. The group gathered around and filled some trays with the pond water. Freya was given a net and magnifying glass and had a brilliant time discovering a variety of pond creatures, we all got involved and had a great time, Snail eggs, Water boatman and a Damsel fly nymph were just a few of what we gathered and the lovely staff member was on hand to answer any questions and help us identify what we found, she was very considerate and fetched a stool for little one so she could easily reach the pond treasures. When we finished the creatures were carefully returned to their habitat and we collected our third sticker.
Soap and warm water to wash little hands after the pond dipping, and ours of course.
On to our next challenge…Ranger survival camp!
Different activities are ran every hour including bread making, den building and whittling. We got a little distracted feeding the ducks and swans on the way to the South Lake Field Station where survival camp was being held and so arrived a little later than planned however the lovely staff went out of their way to ensure we got to have a go at the bread making which was the activity of that hour! It was so much fun and little lady loved getting hands on kneading the dough! We even got to cook it on an open fire and eat it afterwards.
We also added to the amazing giant nest which is steadily taking shape just over from the ranger survival camp! Help is wanted to make it the biggest and wildest nest ever! It’s already very impressive and it will be interesting to see how it takes shape over the coming weeks. It’s so much fun and a wonderful activity the whole family can get involved in.
There were 2 other activities on offer throughout the day, A Canoe safari and mini raft building, Freya is still a little young for the Canoe and by now we was all starting to get a little tired so we decided to start making our way back. Of course we couldn’t leave without letting Freya have a splash around in wellyboot land, she even persuaded me to get in for a quick paddle! After that we wandered slowly taking in all the sights and using up the rest of the grain. This is the 3rd visit for us this year and each time we come we see new wildlife and discover new things, there really is so much to explore and so much on offer for all ages. We simply can’t leave without a little browse around the gift shop and came away with a new raincoat for Freya as well as some Dusty Duck goodies and of course her special Wildlife Ranger sticker!
Everyone of us had an absolutely fantastic day taking part in the Dusty’s Wildlife Rangers event, there is something for everyone and honestly I couldn’t fault it! We all came away full of smiles and captured and made many memories that we will treasure. If you are looking for something to do this summer holidays I would highly recommend a visit to WWT Slimbridge and if you have any keen explorers you can’t go wrong with the Dusty’s Wildlife Rangers event!
We were kindly invited to review the Dusty’s Wildlife Rangers event, all photos are my own and opinions honest. Thank you so much Slimbridge from all of us for a truly wonderful day
Here’s a few more photo’s….
To find out more about WWT Slimbridge Dusty’s Wildlife Rangers event follow this link … Dusty’s Wildlife Rangers