It’s fast becoming apparent that Violet is an animal lover. She will put her arms out to stroke Robbie, gently patting his head and giggles if she see’s his ‘windmill tail’ circling in excitement. Last week we decided we’d go on our first family adventure to visit some animals and see how she’d react, seeing as she’s only actually seen a dog before! As this was our first day trip of this kind we didn’t want to spend lots on a zoo, which might be a bit overwhelming and a really long day for Violet – she is only 6 months old after all! We decided to go to Raystede, a lovely local animal welfare centre about 20 minutes drive from us that is also practically free to get in, all you need to do is leave a donation. This seemed the perfect place for a gentle introduction into visiting farms and seeing lots of animals, without spending a fortune!
Raystede is predominantly an animal rehoming centre – there are sections for dogs, cats and rabbits where all of the animals are looking for their forever homes (too tempting, I wanted to adopt them all!). There are then some farm animals – donkeys, goats, geese just to name a few, there is an exotic bird section, tortoises and they even keep alpacas too! The centre is quite small but they do lots of family activities like ‘meet the animal‘ talks, opportunities to feed the animals and ‘animal detective trails‘ – although Violet is too small for these yet, I’m sure she’ll enjoy these in the future!
We had a good meander through all of the sections, pointing out all of the animals to Violet. I know she enjoyed seeing them all as she’d kick her legs and bounce with excitement with every new species she saw!
After a good hour or so spotting animals we decided it was time for some lunch and stopped in the cafe. The food was pretty standard cafe food, but tasty nonetheless, plus we had cream tea for pudding so that’s always a win in my books! After lunch there is a visitor centre, charity shop and pet shop so we had a mooch around and bought Robbie a new bed, seeing as his old one had become tired and tatty to the point he has started to refuse to sit on it!
Overall, we had a lovely day at Raystede. I would say if you are looking to see LOTS of animals, you might be disappointed at Raystede as its quite small and they do put lots of the animals away during the day (we didn’t see many of the cats or dogs) but for a fun, cheap family day out it’s perfect and it was certainly ideal for us for a gentle introduction for Violet to see some animals too. I’m sure we’ll return many times as there is so much more for her to see and do when she’s a little bit older as well!
For more information on visiting Raystede, see their website here.