We have had several day visits to the Bird of Prey Sanctuary walking amongst the collection of birds and watching the flight displays. It is as the title describes and holds something like 240 birds at any one time. As a birthday treat we booked a half day "raptor" experience. Arriving on a freezing morning with snow still on the ground was unusual in itself but this did not deter us. We were straight out in the display fields with two of the staff to fly the first bird, a Lanner Falcon. There were 8 of us split into two groups and the bird was flown from fist to fist between the groups. Two further birds were flown in the same way. The staff are giving you information about the birds the whole time. We broke for coffee and biscuits and a chance to warm up and have further question and answers with the staff. The next session was a handling session in the barn. Four birds were brought out and we all had a chance to hold each one again with a question and answer session. This session was not rushed and a great opportunity to see these beautiful birds up close and personal. Not to give the game away, further activities occurred, including returning outside and flying another bird around the fields. It was just brilliant. We paid £70 each and I felt it was well worth the money. The staff were friendly and knowledgeable, they explained the conservation projects taking place and you didn't feel the group was too large that you didn't have enough time with the birds themselves. The centre itself was closed to the public but we were free to spend more time walking around the centre once the experience was over.
We travelled from Exeter and it took about 1hr 40 (we made a weekend of it and stayed over the night before). Wear sensible shoes for comfort more than anything. It's pretty open so take layers of clothing just in case. When the centre is open to the public there is a cafe. A camera is a must. During the bird handling my other half took photos whilst I held and vice versa. You can pay £15 and be a spectator (photographer). A camera of some sort is a must as you do get up close to these amazing creatures. On a day visit I am not sure how long younger children would stay interested so be aware of this/know your children. There are three display flights per day when the centre is open, and worth seeing all three as they are all different. The commentary is great and often funny. It's great value for money at £10.90 per adult (cheaper if you book online) plus you can gift aid. You can also purchase a family ticket. The website is informative and easy to use also offering helpful advice Have a look before you travel for relevant information. If you visit only once you will love it. As I said above, we have been on several occasions, including the Owl Evening which was equally as enjoyable. Go on, give it a go. Its good fun, the birds are beautiful and the centre does an amazing job.
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