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The Butterfly House (Anston)

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Home to animals from South America, Australia, Africa, the Philippines and South Yorkshire!

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      16.12.2009 12:08
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      A great fun day out for all the family

      '''What is The Butterfly House?''' The Butterfly House is also known by its longer title - 'Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre'. The centre is set over 4½ acres and has displays of animals and creatures from all over the world. You have the chance to feed, hold, touch and talk to them as every animal is tame and friendly. '''Access''' The Butterfly House can be found 5 minutes from the M1 off junction 31, then follow the signposts down the A57 to Worksop. Turn left off the A57 at the second set of traffic lights signed to Dinnington. Turn right just before 'The Cutler' public house, and carry on along Woodsetts Road. Around half a mile down this road you will find The Butterfly House - its well signposted so you won't miss it. The nearest train stations are Worksop (5 miles away) and Kiveton Park (3 miles away). Bus services operate from Rotherham, Sheffield and Worksop also. Just outside the front doors is a gravelled car park, and an attendant will let you know where to park. Most of the centre has wheelchair and pushchair access, I had no problems with my pushchair and was able to go everywhere I needed to without any difficulty - there are lots of pathways around the Centre. '''Prices''' I found the prices to be very good - and the same as other likewise attractions. Under 3's are allowed in free. Adults - £7.50 Children - £6.50 Explorer Pass (2 adults and 2 children) - £27.00 Ranger Pass (2 adults and 3 children) - £30.00 Student / OAP: £7.00 Membership to The Butterfly House - £49.00 a year plus £1.00 per person per visit '''Opening Times''' The centre is open all year except a few days around Christmas (check the website for dates) - again, really good as it's a year round attraction. - Monday-Friday: 11am -4:30pm - Saturday, Sunday and school holidays: 10am - 5pm '''What can I do here?''' There is lots to see and do at The Butterfly House and we spent around 3 hours here, which for a small attraction and taking a baby with us, is really good value for money as we are normally in and out within a couple of hours! - THE RANCH This is the first attraction you come to after entering the centre. This is located outside. It has free-roaming kid goats, turkeys, ducks, rabbits and guinea pigs. There is also a Skunk (called Bumble) and as you would expect from a Skunk - he stinks! However I find this part and parcel of visiting! In the next little section of the ranch there are indoor sheds - this is where they do the animal feeding, and contains cute little lambs, calves and adult goats. We enjoyed this area of the Centre - it was very interactive and my son enjoyed coming out of his pram and stroking all the animals. - BIRD OF PREY CENTRE The Bird of Prey Centre is also located outside and is home to Owls, Falcons and Hawks. They are not behind a cage; they are in an open area on a log on leg ties, as they are taken out by the staff and allowed to fly around. You have the chance to hold them, I did. I was given a long arm glove to wear and I held an owl for around 10 minutes! I loved this experience. There are signs on the wall for you to learn more about the animals you can see, and they all had names. Just out of this area are parrots in a huge cage, signs told me that the parrots spoke, and a list of what they could say followed this. True to their word, the parrots where very chatty! We enjoyed this attraction it was good fun getting them to talk back to you! On the walkway was a giant fake parrot who spat a jet of water out at you, this was good watching passer-by's getting wet, and people trying to dodge the water! - MEERKAT MANSION Also outside, the Mansion is set into the ground, so you lean into and see the Meerkat's once they pop out of their little caves! After the buzz of the "Compare the Meerkat" advert, was funny to see some in the flesh! They bounced around and hid away, and you have a chance to feed them some mealworms, I passed on this! Simples! - TROPICAL HOUSE/BUTTERFLY HOUSE This was the highlight of my visit, and the main reason as to which we came as my partner is a photographer and wanted to take pictures of Butterflies in their natural habitat. The Butterfly House is found through the Gift Shop - we had difficulty finding this as we don't normally enter the Gift Shop until we are leaving. Once inside, it's like a giant greenhouse and it's very warm. There are ducks wandering around, steps to go down to see hot lagoons, free flying birds and exotic butterflies EVERYWHERE! They landed in the tropical greenery, on fruit which was laid out for them to eat, or even on your head! It was marvellous to see, and to hunt for Butterflies with spectacular markings. My son was very excited when a butterfly landed on his hand and was sat staring at it in amazement, to my surprise he didn't squash it or try to eat it! We also got some amazing pictures due to the proximity of being to the butterflies. - NOCTURNAL HOUSE This is situated inside the Butterfly House at the end of the pathway/exit. You are first greeted by a huge Alligator (Darwin) basking by his pool. The only thing that put me off about this was a pile of dead baby chickens - as I am a wuss, and still suffering from high pregnancy hormones (that's my excuse) I got really upset by this! Nobody else seemed to mind, but seeing lifeless eyes staring back at me was all too much so I quickly moved away! There is then an entrance to a grotto like room - which is very dark. In here you will find spiders, beetles, bugs, snakes, stick insects and even glow in the dark scorpions, these where great! They were all in plastic boxes set into the wall, so no fear of them crawling all over you in the dark! Eeeeek! - WALK ON THE WILD SIDE Located outside, you can wander through a natural habitat for plants, animals, birds and mini-beasts. You have the chance to use the binoculars in the bird hide to try and spot kestrels, woodpeckers, squirrels and stoats. Then you can see Bees working on their hive and making honey. - INTERACTIVE OPPORTUNITIES When entering the Centre at the Pay Kiosk - you are given an information leaflet detailing all the attractions, and the times of Interactive Opportunities such as animal feed times, Bird Shows and Ferret Shows. We only went to the Bird and Ferret Show which was great - you are always in close proximity to the subject and offered to take part, it's all very personal. - FAMILY FUN HOUSE This is an indoor activity centre located up some stairs with interactive games, a range of crafts and puzzles for small children, and for the older children there is table football, pool and air hockey. We didn't go in here as we only have 9 months old child so not much use! '''Staff''' All the staff members were extremely pleasant, friendly and helpful. All of them had tales to tell of the animals and urged you to take part in activities. Even the car parking attendant was lovely - asking us where we were from, how long it took us to get here etc. I cannot fault the staff. '''Food and Drink''' There is a patio and garden area, which in Summer would be a great area to enjoy refreshments from the Butterfly cafe, there are pedal cars for the children to play in, a sandpit and hammocks! As I visited in winter - we stayed inside the Butterfly cafe! Prices were very reasonable, and offered hot and cold drinks, snacks and jacket potatoes which where huge! '''Gift Shop''' There is a Jungle Gift Shop with LOTS of items from cuddly toys, games, books, toys and stationary. I bought a fridge magnet of a butterfly (I have to buy them everywhere I go) for 99p which I was pleased with. They also had things like Ant Farms, Stick Insect Houses and lots of other likewise toys for children to get grubby with, looking forward to going back when my son is older! '''Safety''' For safety reasons, dogs are not allowed in the Centre (except Guide Dogs). You are given a wristband to wear when entering so you can enter in and out within the day. There are lots of little gates near the exit around the Ranch area, so small children wouldn't be able to wander out. And as to exit you have to walk back out through the paying kiosk, and into the car park past the car parking attendant, anyone without a parent would be spotted. I'd feel safe to allow my son to run around in my eyes reach. No animals are dangerous, all are tame. '''Facilities''' There where baby change facilities available, plus toilets (including disabled). These were all clean, and well functioning. '''Other Stuff''' The Butterfly House offer children's parties, group, and school visits. I'd be happy for my son to attend with school or with a birthday party. They have special events on days such as Easter, Mother's Day and Halloween with activities such as pumpkin carving, spooky mazes and crafts. You have the chance also to purchase a Keeper Experience day - something I'd like! (Hint hint!) '''Overall....'' An excellent day out, me and my family really enjoyed ourselves and are planning a return when my son is walking hopefully in the Spring/Summer) as I feel a warmer day would be an even better experience, if possible! I go regularly to places like this as I like my son to interact with animals and take part in activities, and this is one of the better places I've been too. I honestly don't have anything bad to say about The Butterfly House. 5 STARS FROM ME! *****

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