There are lots of things to do with animals in Sussex, whether you're looking for a day out or an animal experience. Here are some ideas:
Arundel Wetland Centre
Take a trip through a winter wonderland of wildlife on the Wetlands Discovery boat safari. Or relax indoors and enjoy the stunning views of kingfishers and wildfowl across wild habitats of Arun Riverlife. Go pond dipping, take a reed bed walk, and get close up to all sorts of ducks and geese. During the week of 25-31 January, they are open from 8am for the 3 Bs.. breakfast, birds and boating! You could also volunteer. Click here for more info
Sussex Beekeepers Association
If you are interested in keeping bees, or you keep them already, check out the Sussex Beekeepers Association. This is for people who live in East Grinstead, Brighton and East Sussex. There's a Bee Festival, plus other events and courses.
Ashdown Llama Park
Situated in East Sussex (Forest Row), the park is a beautiful place, and you can Walk a Llama or Walk a Donkey. (You can also ride a donkey if you weigh less than 60 kilos.) The Park is home to animals such as llamas, alpacas, reindeer, horses, donkeys, Jacob sheep, Kune Kune pigs, Peafowl and poultry, with more animals on the way. The Tea Room and Coffee Shop have a great assortment of cakes, freshly made sandwiches and hot and cold food, with legendary ‘Sussex Cream Teas’. There are also woodland walks and 33 acres to explore.
Falco (West Sussex Falconry)
The falconry offers Hawk Walks, Owl Brief Encounters and Falconry Experiences. There are also 1 to 4 day Falconry Courses for anyone who is seriously thinking of taking up Falconry and Hawking
Weald and Downland Open Air Museum
Come and discover traditional buildings in a rural landscape that tell the story of the men, women and children who lived and worked in them over a 600-year period. They have some great days out, including the Rare and Traditional Breeds Show. And take a look at their Learn section - there are heavy horse courses in Courses in Traditional Trades and Crafts. Download their brochure from their page to see them (you will need to scroll through some of the brochure to find them). This is a beautiful museum and well worth a visit.
Head to East Sussex to this small zoo - an animal and child friendly, family environment where the focus is always on involvement. Get nose to nose with nature and experience the most memorable fun finding out day out! Experience days are available with Keeper for a Day, Close Encounters, Photography Days and even a Spider Phobia course!
Head to Winchester (thereabouts) in Hampshire to visit Marwell Wildlife, a charity dedicated to the conservation of biodiversity and other natural resources. Be as active or relaxed as you want and enjoy watching the animals as you wander about. From ring-tailed coatis to majestic giraffes, endangered tigers to frilled lizards, curious meerkats to pygmy hippos – the 140-acre park is home to an incredible range of exotic and endangered species, in beautiful, landscaped surroundings. There are a number of experiences, including Keeper for the Day, and Giraffe or Penguin Encounters, and you can even volunteer!
The RSPB in West Sussexhave plenty to keep you busy, whether you just want to take part in events or join courses, classes or workshops, or enjoy day trips or volunteer. Find your nearest nature reserve here.
Sussex Wildlife Trust
The Sussex Wildlife Trust has a wide range of courses covering topics such as photography, flora, birds, ecology, mammals, invertebrates, arts and crafts - click here to see them. You can see a map of their reserves here. There are also a wide range of events for everyone. And you can volunteer, too.
Wildlife Experience, near Midhurst
Into the Blue list this Wildlife Experience in West Sussex. You can go wildlife watching on this stunning private estate near Midhurst and enjoy the beautiful views from the top of the Downs, going round the estate in one of their 4x4 vehicles. Dawn and dusk are the best times to see wildlife. A dawn safari starts at around 03:30 in the summer months and if you want to see badgers, you should arrange a dusk safari. Visit Into the Blue for more information.
Become a hedgehog helper
The East Sussex Wildlife Rescue and Ambulance Service run a Become a Hedgehog Helper placement for 3 hours - it's amazing value and will give you a chance to care for hedgehogs and learn more about them. Get more info here