We’ve had Leicestershire, we’ve had Nottingham, but I’ve saved the best staycation post for last because you are going to love Tropical Birdland Desford, Leicestershire. Plus, it’s a bank holiday coming up this weekend, so I hope this will give you the heads up of where you need to be heading!
|We were made to coordinate.
Tropical Birdland Desford is truly a Staycation classic for me. It’s less than 8 miles from my house, and we could easily have cycles there on any pleasant day. I knew it existed, I thought it sounded good. But in my 12 years in Leicester I have never been.
|Gimme yer nuts!
So as part of our programme of activities this summer (that makes it sound a lot more formal than it was to be fair) we made our way across. As soon as we entered, we were welcomed by two small green parrots, begging for treats by the entry booth. Just wandering around, touting for peanuts. They were super cute. And there were some lovely spacious aviaries for some beautiful owls, in particular the Snowy Owls caught my eye – absolutely gorgeous.
And then, as you’d expect, it’s a lot of brightly coloured and interesting birds! First you follow a trail around a large number of aviaries and you can also follow a ‘Woodland Walk’. Make sure you arrive with a pocket full of meal worms to give to your new feathery friends, or you can buy a bag of treats upon arrival.
There were a huge number of birds, some in perches that they can easily take themselves in and out of, like the large macaws and the military macaws, some which are too fragile and flighty to have ready access to the outside world. I absolutely loved seeing the Kookaburras – birds which I remember from books in my childhood but have never seen in real life. Getting up close and personal with the emus was also amazing – they make the most spectacular growl. I’m pretty convinced, having seen two in real life, that they don’t exist. In fact, so sure am I that I pointed out to them they aren’t real. They bellowed.
|This bird does not exist. I took a photo of it as proof.
The walk in aviaries are lovely too and if you’re lucky you might have a sweet parakeet or cockatiel visit you and try to steal your jewellery. Which is an excellent way to support charity. I also really liked looking through the window of the nursery where all of the baby birds are being cared for. I had a particularly adorable ET/Sistine Chapel touching fingers through the glass moment with one baby parrot. Needless to say I wanted to take him home.
|Meeting of minds.
Then it’s on to the Parrot Walk, where there are a whole range of different species, just hanging about waiting for you to interact with them. They will also try and steal your jewellery, or in my case, your Def Leppard badge. Some of them are a little more shy, or perhaps full of peanuts, but they’re generally pretty happy for you to give them a little bit of a cuddle. We had a nice chat with one, consisting of:
Genuinely attention grabbing stuff. I also got wolf whistled by one tiny bird. He was my favourite. Clearly an avian of impeccable taste.
|They are big into their selfies.
|Look how happy I am! SO HAPPY!
There’s a cafe and it’s all kinds of fun throughout for any age group. We were all over 30 and had a fabulous time. If you don’t have your own transport the bus into the city runs about 5 minutes walk from the sanctuary and doesn’t take long at all. Plus all of your lovely entrance fees will help support the birds – including those rescue animals that they take fantastic care of. I 100% guarantee that if you visit you will enjoy it. I want to go back. Every day.
|Just gonna leave this here. When you see it…