Festive fun on offer for Norfolk Lavender's Animal Gardens open day
A new resident arrived at a popular West Norfolk attraction at the weekend, just in time to meet visitors for a special open day.
Doughnut, a baby burrowing owl from North and South America, arrived at Norfolk Lavender’s Animal Gardens ahead of Saturday’s event, which drew a constant stream of visitors all day long.
He is a rarity amongst birds for he makes his home in abandoned burrows and, unlike other owls, hunts for his prey during daylight hours and sleeps at night.
“We’ve had a phenomenal response today. This morning we were really packed out so we are really grateful to our customers for supporting us,” said Leanne Wattam, the gardens’ ‘head elf’.
The gardens have around 125 animals on display – from the more common like donkeys, rabbits, poultry and guinea pigs, to the exotic like bearded dragons, African crested porcupines, tarantulas and scorpions, and the rare like a Parma Wallaby from Australia, an animal on the International Union for Conservation of Nature list of species threatened with extinction.
The list also includes a number of re-homes, animals that have been gifted to the gardens by owners who can no longer look after them. “This year we have just acquired our zoo licence so we will be able to take in a wider range of animals,” said Leanne.
“For example we have a raccoon dog, Yogi, who came to us this year. He’s from Japan.”
She added that the new licence did not mean that, unlike a zoo, they would be taking on animals such as giraffes, elephants and zebras.
Apart from the chance to pet and stroke some of the animals children also enjoyed painting, animals quizzes and talks.
The gardens are open every day from 10am-4pm until Christmas Eve, when they will close until a short special February school half-term opening, and then will open daily from April onwards.
Currently admission is £5 for adults and £4 for children. From next April the fee will increase by 50p.