This summer we’ve been over to Burscough in Lancashire to spend the day at Martin Mere, one of nine wetland centres around the country.
British summer isn’t always overly kind to us, so when we do get half decent days its always great to be able to get out and do something fun with the boys.
From Caribbean Flamingos to beautiful Barn Owls, there are many species of bird to see at Martin Mere. We learned a lot about the habitats, feeding habits and behaviour of a whole host of different birds and every part of our day was fun and interesting. There were several highlights and I honestly couldn’t say which activity the children (or we) enjoyed the most.
This was the main event for us, and was brilliant. At £6 per boat, it’s really good value, especially if you’re already a WWT member. We’ve never tried canoeing before and I wasn’t sure how difficult it would be with the kids – but it was great!
The staff are incredibly helpful, and provide all the information you need (and reassurance if necessary!) to be able to enjoy your canoe safari. It is recommended that each boats holds up to three people, but our two small boys fit well into the middle seat and were still able to ‘help’ with their own little oars.
When you’re on your own Martin Mere canoe safari, look out for the amusingly named wildlife habitats on the islands. How many can you spot?
What else can we do at Martin Mere?
As part of Martin Mere’s Nature Explorers program, children can take part in a wide variety of activities. On arrival, they are given their own Nature Explorers Passport to use around the grounds. Inside, children will find a list of activities, each of which will earn little explorers a sticker of achievement. Once they’ve collected their stickers (and had a fabulous time in the process) they can attend an award ceremony where they are awarded the prestigious gold award!
Other activities on offer are:
1 Raft Building
If the rain gets a bit much, take a break from the outdoors and try your hand at miniature raft building. Martin Mere supply everything you need for a tiny little 50p per raft. It’s great fun, and you can try out your new vessel in the pond dipping area once you’re done.
2 Wild Walk
This was another favourite from our day at Martin Mere. We weren’t going to go on theWild Walk because we were running out of time to fit everything in, but I’m very pleased we decided to go and have a look because it was brilliant!
The most beautiful wicker seats hanging in mid-air, the fun stepping stones over the river, the middle maze lodge… I defy you to go on the Wild Walk and not enjoy it!
3 Flamingo Talk
There is more to flamingoes than you might expect! We joined one of the many helpful Martin Mere volunteers for his very interesting talk about their flock of the famous pink birds – as you can see from the photo above, Rowan was particularly interested in them!
4 Pond dipping
What lurks beneath the waters of the garden pond? Will you find a water boatman, a water snail or a whirligig beetle? Adults and children are bound to learn something armed with just a net and an identification sheet, though the experience is all the more educational when you have volunteers like the very knowledgeable ladies we met at Martin Mere.
5 Hide and Seek
Not that hide and seek – I’m talking about the bird variety! There are several bird hides of varying sizes at Martin Mere. Some are on the main visitor routes and others are situated just that little bit further away – perfect for those particularly interested in watching birds’ natural behaviours.
Entry to Martin Mere is free for WWT members, and memberships are very reasonably priced. There’s also an option to pay monthly for membership, meaning you hardly notice the great thing you’re doing by supporting the work of the WWT.
Upcoming events at Martin Mere include their Bat & Barn Owl BBQ which Ted and Louis will be going to – I’ll report back on that asap!
Have you been to Martin Mere? Or to any of the WWT sites? I’d love to know what you got up to – why not pop over to the That Lancashire Lass Facebook page and leave a photo of your fun day out?
*disclaimer: We were given free entry to Martin Mere for the day, but all views are my own. If it was rubbish, I’d tell you.