Covering six counties, the Cotswolds is a large and beautiful part of the country, covered with rolling hills, forests, castles, rivers, and lots of different wildlife. Aside from the nature you’ll spot when out and about walking in the Cotswolds there are a whole host of amazing family attractions showcasing some beautiful animals in habits as closely matched to their own natural places of residence as possible. Not only does this allow us to be able to see these animals up close and personal but it also means companies are doing a great deal for wildlife conservation, such an important job, particularly with the recent extinction of the male northern white rhino.
Cotswold Wildlife Park
Set in 160 acres of parkland, the Cotswold Wildlife Park is perhaps the place where you can see the most exotic of wildlife with many, many species of animal, some of which are on the brink of extinction. You’ll find giraffes, rhinos, monkeys and gorillas, lions, camels, and many more wonderful animals. There is a little train that for a small fee will take you around the park and is great fun for the little ones, a huge play park for all ages, and a lovely cafe. It’s a great day out for the whole family and come the summer time you’ll find people picnicking in the grounds too. The entry fee is relatively high but there is a lot to do once you’re inside the park. The park is involved in many breeding programs and recently hand-reared a baby white rhino which is a real achievement and a beauty to see.
Cotswold Farm Park
The Cotswold Farm Park was first set up by Adam Henson’s father with the aim of protecting some rare breeds of farm animals. Today his goals live on through his son but the farm park has become so much more than that, jam-packed with fun activities for the children your little ones will have a blast here. There are animal feeding and petting sessions, go-karts, parks to play in, bouncy inflatables, a soft play area, and a cafe to name but a few of the attractions, there is also a lovely shop that will tempt you when you visit! Right next to the farm park is a campsite where you can go camping, glamping, or even hire a camping pod, so if you aren’t local this is such a fun way of visiting the farm park and getting to explore the local area, which is a really beautiful part of the Cotswolds.
Cattle Country Adventure Park is another great day out for the whole family, you’ll find some beautiful farm yard animals that you’ll be able to feed and handle during particular sessions in the farmyard, tractor rides up to the cow sheds, a vast array of outdoor parks, a boating lake, mini golf, several soft play barns, a cafe and shop and so much more. Cattle Country almost has too much to do in one day, your kids are going to love it! It is also a great idea to keep an eye on their website since at certain times of the year they hold events like ‘big machinerary’ weekends where all of their biggest tractors do a parade and the children can get inside and have a good nose around. The summer months are fabulous here since they have a splash pool that the kids will love jumping about in and plenty of space for nice relaxed picnics.
Birdland is a great little day out, it is home to over 500 birds including penguins and flamingoes and you can get up close and personal to all of the beautiful birds. There are also resident tortoises, fish, and reptiles to see. The place is relatively small which makes it really easy to wander around and navigate, especially with little ones in tow. There is a play area and a great dinosaur trail where you can go and spot all kinds of dinosaurs in a woodland walk. There is a small cafe too (but do bear in mind they don’t like you taking your own food in for the kids). We’d suggest taking a picnic and finding a spot in the delightful gardens.
Slimbridge Wetland Centre
Slimbridge Wetland Centre is quite different from many of the other family attractions. Run by the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust, the outside area starts with a series of boardwalks from which you can see an abundance of bird life all around you with no cages between you and the bird, a far nicer experience than seeing birds of flight trapped in cages. Wander further down and you’ll find Welly Boot Land, a brilliant idea set up for the little ones with water running down channels that they can stomp to their heart’s content (just remember the wellies and waterproofs!). Inside there is a large cafe with great food and coffee and a children’s play and discovery area with a small soft play and lots to see and do. We can’t recommend Slimbridge enough.
Prinknash Bird and Deer Park
These lovely gardens are a pleasure to wander around and see some beautiful birds, deer, and gorgeous miniature donkeys. The gardens have a really natural feel about them and the spot is very peaceful and not usually particularly overcrowded the drive down there offers some beautiful views of the Cotswold Valley below. If you are heading to Prinknash with young children just be aware that it is not hugely buggy-friendly and a carrier would be advised for young children, toddlers, and older children will love exploring on foot and coming face to face with the very friendly birds there! They have a lovely cafe to enjoy some lunch or a coffee in once you’ve finished your walk.