Birmingham Nature Centre can be found (by the old Pebble Mill BBC Centre) along the Pershore Road Birmingham B5 7RL, about 2 miles from the City.
Access is by Bus, foot or car.
Bus numbers 45 and 47 drop off in Pershore Road
Bus numbers 61 and 63 drop off a short walk away about 10 minutes in the Bristol Road.
Summer (April onwards) 10.00 am to 5.00 pm
Winter (last week of October onwards 10.00 am to 4.00 pm
Child 3-15 years £3.00
Under 3 free
Family tickets possible.
There is a full for wheel chairs etc.
Plus there is a car park.
Birmingham Nature Centre is a "zoo" that is a hidden Gem in Birmingham. The whole site has a well looked after feel, it is welcoming, with many families around over the weekends. Summer Sundays can be very busy and paking limited - as the centre is close to Canon Hill Park and Warwickshire Cricket Ground. If events are on at this other two venues that it can be very busy around Birmingham Nature Centre.
I have found the Nature Centre to be a super place to visit. There are well signed posted path ways and all the animals can be seen well. The centre is sort of a mix between a generaly family zoo and a home for endangered animals. As well as endangered animals - there are birds, Meerkats, Otthers and family species that can be seen.
There is a well explained animal conservation programme, as such there are many different and even exotic animals on display. The centre is a great place for families with regular public feeding times.
For those who live in the Birmingham area there are volunteering oportunties as well.
The Nature Centre is a wicked place to take the kids and it's safer than a lot of petting zoos because the animals are mostly in cages and special fenced off areas so there's not much chance of copping E-Coli here!
There are loads of animals to see and a nice cafe and soft play area for the little kids. My favourites are the red pandas even though they're usually in the tree and you have to squint to see them unless it's feeding time and then you've never seen an animal move so quick!
There are owls and other birds as you go in and my little sister loves standing watching them because she prefers birds to animals but I'm not keen on that bit of the Nature Centre because the cages don't look big enough for them to stretch their wings in. The cages aren't tiny but I reckon owls are such big birds that they should have more room than they've got here.
You walk through the Nature Centre through a set of paths and they're all signposted so that you don't miss what you're looking for. There's a reptile house and a place that is full of spiders and scorpions in glass vivariums. I HATE stuff like that but always end up having to take my sister in and then I have to keep looking away from the massive tarantula in there because it makes my skin crawl the way it tries to climb up the glass. The snakes are cool though but they always seem to be asleep when we go.
There's goats in there as well and they roam round the field at the back of the Nature Centre. You used to be able to go and touch them but I think they're fenced off now and they weren't out last time we went. There's some sheep as well but they don't really do anything and run off when you get near them so I don't see the point of them being there.
There used to be a beaver and an otter there as well but I don't know if they're still there because we missed that path when we went last week. Actually I don't know if they've ever been there because you can never see them because they're always in the water! I reckon the Nature Centre has been conning us for years and it's just a load of dirty water where they should be!
There's a little gift shop when you come out but there's not much in there and even though it's ok for pocket money toys not much of it is about the Nature Centre and is just pencils and rubbers with pictures of foxes and stuff on them. The cafe is ok and you can get a cup of coffee and a sausage roll or sandwich for quite a cheap price. One bad thing is that the bins in the Nature Centre are shaped and coloured like frogs and other cute animals and that's a bad idea because little kids then want to go to the bins and play with them.
It only costs about £2.00 to get into the Nature Centre and that's a wicked price because if you take a picnic you can spend all day in here. Next door is the massive Cannon Hill park that has got a lake and loads of grass and a kids play area. We usually park the car at the park and walk through to the Nature Centre then back to the park for an hour to have a walk round and let my sisters play for a bit.
I have visited this nature centre on a number of times over the last 5 years or so since I was first told of it. Firstly it is along a busy road with several bus stops nearby but I have always driven and there is a large car park to the side and you can also park in the Cannon Hill Park car park which has hundreds of spaces.
The entrance if you are taking a child under 5 is £1.70 and just a little more if not. Once you walk out of the shop/entrance you walk straight past the sheep and down to the childrens playground with pigs, a guinea pig village and giant rabbits. There is also a soft play section in the cafe for young children. The cafe itself is well priced and does offer a fair selection of sandwiches, toasties, jacket potatoes as well as hot and cold drinks. There are plenty of seats inside and some tables outside opposite the wild cats!
If you are bringing a picnic to have in the nature centre there are benches as well as a few tables across from the otters, meerkats and lemurs!
As well as the animals I mentioned above the centre also has red panda - hard to spot, look up into the tree! porcupines, cranes, a reptile and aquarium house and a rodent house as well as others.
I always spend a few hours here and have a picnic or a bite to eat at the cafe and then head onto Cannon Hill Park for a walk around the lake. It will be closing on weekdays soon and only be open at the weekends from the end of October or early November and usually opens up again during the week around Easter.
It is a lovely way to spend a few hours, I would happily pay more than the admission price which for what you get to see is fantastic. Can not recommend enough for those with children of any ages or animal lovers. Always seems less busy the earlier you get there!
Forgot to mention the friendly cat who I have seen a few times and was quite happy for the two year old to sit and stroke her for ages last time I did see her!
Birmingham Nature Centre is somewhere I have been lucky enough to visit twice and both times I immensely enjoyed it. It isn't a big zoo-there's no zebras, penguins, rhinos, lions or tigers nothing like that. Its mainly small mammals and birds-albeit then not a huge collection. Nontheless, I still find this place hugely enjoyable. Maybe its becuase its so 'small'.
It is atually centred just next door to a park-Cannon Hill Park which is a rather large and lovely park complete with playground, big green spaces and a duck pond. You do actually have to park in the park's car park which is free with the Nature Centre being about a 30 second walk away. You actually enter through a Grade -something(maybe 1) listed building which is pretty magnificent.
Inside here is a little shop selling quite a few things none more than a pound -keyrings, badges and a couple of books thrown in.
Also here is a lot of leaflets and listings on events coming up in Birmingham which are pretty helpful and a couple of displays on the natural history of the area.
Winter: Weekends only 10am-4pm(last admission is 3pm) between the first weekend of November and the first Weekend of March.
Summer:Open daily 10am-5pm (last admission 4pm) from the first weekend of April to the last weekend of October
Prices: You pay at the building for an exceptionally reasonable
£1.80 for an adult
Free for children!
Now if that's not good value I don't know what is!
After passing through the building you now enter what I have nicknamed the 'farm' area. Now, hopefully youv'e had wild guess and might worked out that this means this area is like a farm. Its about a third of the centre and is mostly paddocks. The more familiar animals here are the rather fat and snoozy pigs, sheep and the madcap goats of which there are the tiny Pygmy Goats and the extremely rare Bagot Goat. There's a couple of unfamiliar faces here too. Bouncing around with the goats are the wallabies who are oddly enough-sweet. There fur looks so soft I want to stroke them! As I know from past reviews on other attractions you have had the opportunity to do this but I have not. The other unfamiliar creatures here are the deer who were in hiding when we went. Grr...
Next is Lilliput village a kind of little kids area. The main thing here is a undercover but open fronted barn like structure which is home to a massive straw area home to literally tons of guinea pigs running around and making funny whistling noises. The only differnce here is the guinea pigs hutches have been designed as buildings-houses, town halls and museums. This will probabaly be the onlt time in your life when you will see a guinea pig in a town hall. Also here is a little picnic area , some ducks and some rabbits.
Passing the Lovebird avairy you come next to the cafe. The cafe isn't absolutely massive but its still a pretty reasonable size. At the back is a nice little area for little kids. This was a great place to escape from the rain. I had a Jacket Potato-it was really tasty, pretty big portions-and it was a couple of quid(with FILLING!) . Like I said before this place just takes good value to the extremes.
Opposite them are a whole line of aviaries and enclosures. On the map this is named predators-so that means a lot of predators. Birds are represented by owls. The larger of the two species in this area(there is another species a little way around) is the maganificent Eagle Owl-big, scray orange eyes, wonderful markings, amazing wing span I was so saddened when the female in Yorkshire was shot. It would be so brilliant to see them in Britain. This cahp has a massive and wel planted up aviary.
Next to him is the Barn Owl-a ghost in the night you can't say these aren't beautiful. Here he isn't given a huge area but an interesting one-its been made to look like a bran and is pretty amazing in itself.
Next are the Polecats-smelly but quite cute they were cuddled together in bed in their favourite big surroudnings.
Then its the Scottish WildCat-it looks just like a Tabby Cat just a bit wilder with more yellow eyes. Last time we went he came out in the purring rain and just sat there and stared at us his fur sopping wet. I thought cats hated water!
The porcupines are next-really weird animals-but ones that look like they could do some damage to you-those spines are lethal! These guys have double the space of the others-a biggish area and were inside munching at some fruit.
Next are the snowy owls-amazing creatures. These rather lovely birds shot to fame in Hedwig and they do actually screech like that! They are as I said before wonderful with there superb markings. Theyv'e got a big aviary too.
Now its the Lynx-big cats with tufts on there head these creatures are pretty cool. They do tend to laze around a lot though although they are truly fascianting creatures-their faces are smazing. Here they have two areas to go in both of which are pretty big. One however was pacing although why I don't know was it seemed pretty spacious. Opposite them is a small collection of waterfowl on a rather small pond. There is supposedly a beaver here too but Iv'e never seen him although I saw him swimming in his old encsloure.
Next door are the absolutely stonking cranes-graceful and beautiful they are great . Then its the Red Pandas-red and cute with stripey tails these two were in the headlines when one manged to escaped. However he returned and is now happily back. As the sign says'look in the trees' that is where they were too be found at the very top snoozing away. Aaah.
There's two more favourites here-the meerkats who the first time I went were not yet here and the second their enclosure was being renovated. The otters are right next to them -happily running around exploring or snoozing welcoming visitors and just generally making a nuicance of themselves as they squeak madly in the search of food. There area is pretty big and has a stream and pool.
Opposite these two are two indoor areas, They are both small. The first is the aquarium which is oddly enough only home to a small amount of fish. There are two tanks of fish here-one is home to Goldfish and many other small tropical and colourful fish inluding tetras and tangs. The other is home to a few more.
There's two lots of amphibians here too-axolotols who I for some reason remember being on a Sooty show and a salamander who has a mossy area and water. He must be brilliant at camouflaging because Iv'e never seen him. There are also some tortoises here.
Then its the reptile house -quiet small . Its mostly home to a pretty good range of snakes-six or seven snakes like the Rainbow and Corn snake and some bigger ones-nut no really huge snakes. Although there is a rather small boa. There's also a couple of really small geckos and a few other reptilian species like skinks. Last time a cat had come in here(probably the centres) and was sleeping in there. The snakes weren't bothered.
You will know pass the lemur enclosure formerly home to a beaver. Iv'e never seen them here because when I went they hadn't yet arrived however I did get to see there impressive enclosure-a rather large climbing frame guaranteeing hours of fun.
Also here is the rodent house which is home to a massive collection of rodents. So that means that along the way your going to meet mice, rats, gerbils and hamsters-all of which are cute. There's also a few stripey chipmuncks here and if I remember correctly degus and chinchilas. Each one only has a small area but there is plenty of sawdust to bury into and they were all very happy.
There's also an invertebrate house-which mean spiders which means a big no no for me. I don't mind the cockroaches, scorpions or Giant Millipedes(which Iv'e held) but I hate spiders so I never go in here.
There's also a nature pool which is home to plenty of flowers like water lillies blooming on the surface. Its also home to a lot of freshwater fish-like Rudd. There is an underwater viewing area but the water was a bit grimy but I suppose that is good as it gives it more of a feel of the wild about it.
Going through a short walk through the wood and over a little bridge over a little river(called the River Rea) your back in the farm now and you miserbaly trudge back out knowing your visit is now(although you could just go around again which is what I have done before).
Here are contact details and addresses.
Birmingham Nature Centre
Buses: 45 and 47 Pershore Road, 61,62 and 63 Bristol Road.
Th full nature centre is accessible to people with disbailities and people with pushchairs. No dogs are allowed in apart from guide dogs.
Telephone:0121 472 7775
Fax:0121 471 4997
Includes basic information but isn't very good to be honest.
This is a an absolute must place if your in the area-its great for families and has a pretty large amount of animals which are all housed superbly. As well as that its astonoshingly god value, the cafe is delicious, the toilets(forgot to mention them) are clean and its just an absolutely superb place to visit.
Its isn't a full day activity-anywhere bwtween and hour or two but you can combine in with Cannon Hill Pakr and it becomes a day out. It really is one of those places noboy has heard of but I wish everyone had heard of-Iv'e had two absolutely amazingly brillaint days out here both of which I enjoyed immensley-I really can't praise this place enough.
In short it isn't just a day. Its a simply wonderful day out
~*~*~ This review is part of the HOMETOWN challenge where members are asked to write about any aspect of their home town - or a town they'd like/not like to be their home town. You can find all the participants by going to: http://www.dooyoo.co.uk/internet/internet_sites/dooyoo_co_uk_in_general/_r eview/426988/ ~*~*~ I remember going to the Nature Centre with my mum and dad when I was about 5 so I know its been there for at least 20 years and I'd say its been there MUCH longer than that. I hadn't been for about 10 years and then one day we were trying to think of something to amuse the kids and we ended up at the Nature Centre. Its a smallish looking place on the Pershore Road in Edgbaston right opposite the Pebble Mill studios. From Birmingham City Centre you can catch either the 45 or the 47 from Corporation Street and these both drop you outside the door. Or you can catch the 61, 62 or 63 from Corporation Street (next stop up from the 45 and 47) and walk from Bristol Road past the Pebble Mill studio - its a nice little 5 minute walk and last time we saw Fern Britton coming out of Pebble Mill! If you're travelling in the car drive down the Pershore Road from the City Centre and theres a big car park next to Tally Ho Police Station which is about a 2 minute walk from the Nature Centre. To get into the Nature Centre you have to walk into an old listed building, through a small gift shop (selling nothing that costs more than £1) and to the Customer Services counter. This is where you pay your £1.25 entrance fee - a child up to 12 is free with every paying adult so us 4 got in for £2.50 As you enter the actual Nature Centre you walk along a pathway and on either side theres pigmy goats jumping about - guaranteed to make a toddler laugh! You walk into a sort of courtyard where theres a pond where the kids can look for fish and tadpoles. And there the choices start.... The layout of the Nature Centre is WIERD, you always le
ave with the feeling that theres something you've not seen. And try to find somewhere again that you've already seen? No chance! There are pathways everywhere, crossing each other, walking round the back of buildings..... but its not bad - its quite cute the way they've tried to organise everything and not made a good job of it! Anyway, you walk around and eventually see otters, beavers (apparently they're there but I've never spotted one!), polecats, lynx, snowy owl, wallabys, donkeys, a reptile house, an insect house, birds, sheep and goats in fields and a bee house. Its a lovely walk round the Nature Centre cos its set out in a kind of trail and you've got trees on either side and benches to sit down. You go over bridges that cross a very narrow part of the River Rea and then you've got fields on either side of you with more goats and deers, some of them come up to you but there's signs asking you not to feed the animals all over the place. The goats will let the kids stroke them but the sheep tend to stay further away from the fence! Its nice to go just when the weathers warming up cos the sheep have their lambs in the field with them and the kids love that. At the end of all the animals theres a newly built childrens corner filled with rabbits, pigs, guinea pigs and ducks. The kids are invited to touch these and pick them up by the keepers who are there to teach the children about the animals. If you're lucky you get there at feeding time, although this time varies so theres no way to plan it. Theres benches in the childrens corner so the adults can sit down and have a cuppa (and a fag!) while the kids are wrapped up in the rabbits and theres peacocks wandering about all over the place. This part was my kids favourite, they spent longer in this bit than any other part. The Nature Centre also holds events during the year. Last year we took our 6 year old to an 'exotic animal' event which they wer
e holding free for children. A man came in with a chinchilla, snake and tarantula and told the children all about the animals and then let them touch the chinchilla and hold the snake. Our daughter loved it and it was a good opportunity for her to do something she wouldn't normally do. We've also been to Christmas events where you pay £2.50 and make your own Christmas crackers, wrapping paper etc... and in the summer theres donkey rides for the children which costs £1.00 for a ride which lasts around 10 minutes. They hold hunt the Easter egg competitions and night-time walks at certain times of the year. You can find all their events listed for the year in the 'Whats on in Birmingham 2002/2003' booklet in the library. At the end of it all theres the cafe. And its gooood! Theres a soft play area at the bottom of the cafe (which is supposed to be for kids aged 6 and up but my 3 year old managed fine in there!) and its full of plastic foam shapes for the kids to roll all over. The foods basic but good. You can have cold sarnies and theres always a good selection, hot dogs, burgers, baked spud, chips (GORGEOUS chips), sausage rolls, pasties, cakes, crisps and soft drinks. The menu is blatently aimed at kids, but then so is the whole place. Even the litter bins are shaped like big frogs and the benches are squirrel shaped! When the kids are bored of the play area we have something to eat (costs roughly £5 - £6 for the 4 of us to have a snack and a drink) and sit on the benches outside opposite the snowy owl area. As you leave you walk past the childrens corner (which always results in the kids going back in to say bye to bunny!) and through the pigmy goats again and back into the gift shop. As I said earlier, nothing costs more than £1 in this shop so you can get a couple of cheap little souvenirs for each of the kids for next to nothing. When you come out you've got Cannon Hill Park right next door and theres a little bar (The
MAC Centre) another cafe, pools, row boats, a brilliant kids play area and apparently its good for a spot of fishing. So you can spend an extra hour or two there having a couple of pints while the kids play. The cafe sell delicious chips in a bag for £1.20 and hot meals too in a posh chrome and glass affair. And my daughter tells me Cannon Hil l Park is THE best place for conkers and acorns! If you're local to Birmingham, pay them a visit. We had a full day out including something to eat and a drink and it cost us less than £20. No, I'm not a tight a*se but if you can please 4 people (including one ULTRA picky 7 year old) and have a load of fun for less than going to the pub, I'm up for that! I had to write this opinion as soon as I saw no-one had written about this gorgeous little place. Well worth a visit if you've got little kids, but even when they start getting bored of baby chicks and all things fluffy they still have a good time. The site is fully suitable for disabled visitors and theres minimal baby changing facilities and public toilets. The amount of visitors depends on the time of year, if you go at the end of the season when the kids are at school you'll pretty much have the place to yourself, but during the summer holidays it can get a bit hectic! **NOTE** The Nature Centre isn't open all year round so give them a call if you're thinking of going and they also close early on a Wednesday. Tel: Birmingham Nature Centre: 0121 472 7775