We had such a sensational time last summer in Pembrokeshire. This year, hubby surprised us with a return to Wales. As it was a last minute getaway prices were high, so we stayed in Llanelli. Llanelli is on the South West Wales coast, approximately 11 miles from Swansea. I wanted to spend time mainly on the gorgeous beaches but I always plan rainy day options, as well as adventure/learning experiences for the kids. I reached out to Llanelli Wetland Centre and I obtained a gifted review opportunity. In exchange for entry and two canoes tickets, we spent a day at the Centre. It blew our minds! Our day at the Llanelli Wetland Centre was EPIC!
About the UK Wetland Centres
Peter Scott, son of Antarctic explorer Captain Scott, had a passion for natural history as his father did. He was an Olympic sailing medallist and a well-known painter and broadcaster. Later, he turned his attention to the plight of threatened and endangered species. ‘He started as a wildfowler and learned to protect first the birds, and then their wetland habitats.
In 1946 he set up the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust at Slimbridge as a centre for science and conservation. Uniquely at the time, he opened it to the public so that anyone could enjoy getting close to nature.
There are now nine Wetland Centres in the UK of which Llanelli is one.
Llanelli Wetland Centre
We had only been to one wetland centre in England. We enjoyed it but Llanelli! Was AMAZING! There’s so much to do. You could easily visit again and again. All in the family will enjoy the visit. I do advise planning your day in advance to make the most of your visit.
‘Llanelli Wetland Centre is a 450 acre mosaic of lakes, scrapes, pools, streams and lagoons adjoining the salt marshes and shore of the scenic Burry Inlet. The range of habitats makes the site a refuge for many different plants and animals with tens of thousands of migratory birds visiting every year.’
The centre has activities indoors and out. Even on a rainy day you will not feel like a ‘stick in the mud’. Activities include:
- Explore Play Area
- Wat Lab
- Flamingo Play Bay
- Swan’s Nest Maze and Water Vole City
- Soft Play
- Bird Watching
We visited the Centre the day before our departure from Llanelli. The plan was see the birds, explore the adventure playground and canoe. It would be too tiring to try everything. From the website pictures I was sure we would have a good time but the images can’t fully capture how extraordinary the centre is. To know you have to visit. It’s a vibe… sensory overload in the best possible way. It was sheer bliss to be surrounded by nature, bugs, animals and to walk along different terrain, feel and see different textures.
Our starting point was the Flamingo Bay Play which is just beyond the Visitor Centre. The kids love sand play but we only stayed for a few minutes. Then, followed the natural path to see the ducks and geese. We all enthralled looking at the duck diving. We also saw ducklings taking to the water with their mum. What a sight to hold so cute and orderly. From there onto the Sensory Garden and Wiggly Wood, we went. The magical theme made it exciting for us. Ang and Val believed we were on a fairy tale hunt!
Indoors was just as much fun. The kids went on a butterfly hunt; seeking butterfly images craftily stuck in various points inside the Visitor Centre. Their dad I were content to sit and watch birds and bugs fly by the look out which had a view of the Top Pond Once rested. The soft play area is located there but height restrictions ( not taller than 115 cm max) apply.
Once rested, we rented bikes at £2 each and cycled to the Canoe Safari station I’m rubbish at cycling. We took twice as long to get station. The ride was scenic passing ponds with lily pads, along a wildflower line path across and bridge on wards. The kids and I took one canoe. (Hubby opted out.) Val was made captain, while Angelo helped me steer. They took their roles seriously and did very well for kids who had never had those roles before. When the family of swans approached, Val kept us all calm with her calming words. When we got stuck in reeds Ang used his oar to push us free.
Naughty mummy, I made a wrong turn because I didn’t listen to Captain Val. Our 15 minutes ride lasted about 30 but we were better for it. We came together as a team. Proud mum moment.
At the end of the day…
Both children thanked me, unsolicited, for the brilliant day out! We were exhausted and exhilarated in equal measure. No word of a lie, we slept well that night.
Llanelli Wetlands are doing an amazing job. Apart from what we did on our day, you can go on a mini best hunt, point dipping, wetland explore training and fantastic flamingos. Upcoming events include the Giant Lego Brick Animal Trail 7th Sept – 3rd November. From October half term 26th Oct – 3rd Nov there will be a Lego Brick Workshops.