Winter Owl Experiences at the National Centre for Birds of Prey
We recently visited the National Centre for Birds of Prey in Duncombe Park, Helmsley for a Winter Owl Experience. Situated on the North York Moors, we are lucky to live in a place with such fabulous and varied things to do.
What an awesome time we had! It was a family outing for all 4 of us (Henry 11 and Eliza 8) – it was great to do something different and certainly a lovely experience.
We arrived at 7 o’clock for mulled wine and spiced apple juice before heading out to the aviaries. Our guide Cody was brilliant, so knowledgeable, informative and engaging. Seeing and hearing the various different species of owl in the dark was an experience in itself. Halfway through visiting the aviaries, we stopped at Christmas Tree Cottage. Here we saw small owls flying inside – WOW!
It was an amazing experience getting to watch the owls flying at close proximity in an enclosed environment. We saw a tawny owl, with a stereotypical twit twoo; a burrowing owl, who popped through some tunnels and the barn owl who displayed how majestic they are. The kids loved this (as did Charlie and I). Again, we were talked through the different species and all learnt some fab facts.
We then went to see the second half of the aviaries, where we saw Henry’s favourite the spectacled owls as well as a further selection of majestic birds, such as the Eurasian eagle owl.
The two course meal was absolutely delicious and a great chance to warm up and have a chat about what we had seen. After our lovely meal, we went outside to watch some of the larger owls flying in the trees. They can only fly the large owls outside as the local tawny owl may “beat-up” the little ones! During the outdoor owl flying experience, we saw Eagle Owls and even a majestic Great Grey Owl flying around in the dark. The silent flight is just amazing. The size and elegance of these birds is certainly something to behold!
A few tips:
The pathways are clean and accessible for all
It is an experience for over 8s – Eliza loved it! It is quite a late night, finished 9.45pm so do bear that in mind.
Certainly a memorable experience to do as a family
Remember to wrap up warm.
Tickets are £45 each
Winter Owl Experiences run on selected Fridays and Saturdays in November, December and January.