For thirty years, Milnthorpe’s popular Lakeland Wildlife Oasis has long been known as “the little zoo with lots to do”.
Coming out of the pandemic, the success of their bespoke onsite classroom and inaugural Summer Ranger Clubs for the under-11s have enabled even more activities for inquisitive small eyes, ears, fingers and minds.
Beating the 9-to-5 blues, Sundays and Mondays throughout October have suddenly got a whole lot wilder for the grown-ups too.
With the kids back at school, the zoo is offering a variety of adults-only workshops for the very first time in its thirty year history.
“The idea had been building for a while, but, like many attractions, we were feeling our way out of two years of lockdown, disruption, and uncertainty,” explains zoo founder Jo Marsden.
Marsden continued: “The children’s Summer Ranger Clubs have proved such a success, allowing children the freedom to mix, explore and experience nature close up, that we’re scheduling more for October half term due to demand.
“When parents came to collect their kids, we heard more and more of them saying wistfully: ‘I wish there was something like this for grown-ups.’ The chance to keep learning, socialising, and having fun is vital for adults too, yet all too often is something that gradually drops away.
“We asked visitors what they’d like the opportunity to do, and realised, like the zoo’s giant millipede, the idea definitely had legs.”
In keeping with the zoo’s ethos, each day is guaranteed to be inclusive, hands-on, stimulating, and offering exclusive access to normally off-limits areas of the zoo.
A different day course will run every Sunday and Monday throughout October up to half term, which sees the return of Ranger courses for smaller participants, plus the zoo’s traditional Halloween spectacular antics.
Kicking off with practical reptile keeping Sunday October 2 and exotic animal photography Monday October 3, Sunday October 9 is dedicated to making mini gardens and terrariums, followed by a special zookeeper for the day course Monday October 10.
The final weekend of the initial run is dedicated to art: capturing animals in mixed media on Sunday October 16, and a very special course using materials from zoo animals themselves, including pawprint casting, Monday October 17.
Starting from £90, each day course runs from 10:30-3:30 and includes refreshments, lunch, and all equipment.
With numbers limited to eight per course for a truly up close and personal experience, advance booking is required.
“Getting everything devised and prepared has been a challenge, but we’ve had so much interest, we didn’t want to miss the lovely autumn window,” adds Jo.
“All the keepers are really excited, too; it’s another positive step forward for the zoo in the community. It came out of listening to our visitors, and we hope it paves the way for more to come, so any more ideas- just let us know.”
For details and pre-booking, go towww.wildlifeoasis.co.uk, and check out ‘Lakeland Wildlife Oasis’ on Facebook for updates on all zoo activities and inhabitants.