I have mentioned how we ended up at Birdland and Jurassic Journey in a previous post about our trip to the West Midlands. There’s a little more to the story. Aside from working Ted up into a frenzy of excitement with the promise of penguins and dinosaurs, my mother-in-law also piqued our interest with the promise of emperor penguins. We were all excited to visit Birdland in Bourton-on-the-Water.
However, Birdland in the Cotswolds does not have emperor penguins. A little investigation proved my mother-in-law mistaken. The penguins at the Cotswolds zoo are king penguins. As penguins go, king penguins are giants, impressive birds standing at 90cm (35 inches) high. An emperor penguin stands at 120cm (47 inches).
So Was Birdland and Jurassic Journey a Disappointment?
Birdland and Jurassic Journey Review
We got over our disappointment long before we got to Bourton-on-the-Water and Birdland turned into a lovely day. There was an incredible array of birds. Highlights were the flamingos, parrots and of course the penguins.
The penguin feeding was definitely a family favourite. We were able to get so close we could have reached over the fence and stroked the king penguins. We were warned that they bite, so we kept all hands out of beak range. The Humboldt’s penguins looked great in the water. I’ve seen plenty of penguin flocks in zoos that don’t bother swimming, but these guys were showing off, jumping out the water and coming right up to the underwater windows.
I fell head over heels in love with a king penguin called Bob. Bob hung out with the Humboldt’s penguins, and I read on his bio that he had successfully raised chicks as a single parent. If you want to become as obsessed with Bob as me, you can check them out on the webcam.
What About Jurassic Journey?
We’ve been to our fair share of dinosaur-themed attractions (read about our favourites here). This one was a bonus to our visit to Birdland and Bourton-on-the-Water. The model dinosaurs all looked good, and there were some nice additional touches to the walk. The fossil dig area was a hit, as always.
Birdland Amenities, Information and Parking in Bourton-on-the-Water
Birdland does not have its own car park. However, there is a pay and display car park adjacent to the site. There is also parking in Bourton-on-the-Water elsewhere. We did not have a problem parking in November, but I would expect a different story in high season, so get there early if you can.
There is a cafe and a small gift shop at Birdland and Jurassic Journey. There are also plenty of places to eat in the town.
You can find details on prices and opening times on Birdland’s website. There are Birdland, and Jurassic Journey discounted tickets available if you book online.
The Cotswolds is a beautiful area of the UK. There are many things to do in the Cotswolds, from walks to relaxing in pub gardens to attractions like Birdland.
Birdland and Jurassic Journey are in the beautiful Cotswold town of Bourton-on-the-Water. The centrepiece of the town is the river that runs through the middle. The whole thing would be idyllic except that on a drizzly November Saturday the town was jam-packed with tourists. Our family days out tend to be mid-week and in the winter months, so we’re used to having attractions to ourselves. Birdland followed the trend, we were one of maybe a dozen families. Not so when we wandered into town.
Bouton-on-the-Water has a number of small attractions you can pay to visit. We discovered one hidden gem and one to miss, although I didn’t actually visit the gem. We spotted the entrance to a model railway exhibition in the back of a toy shop and David decided to take Ted round. They both love trains and emerged half an hour later with massive grins. Needless to say, David highly recommends a visit.
Check out booking.com for the best places to stay in Bourton-on-the-Water.
The attraction we wouldn’t recommend is the Bourton-on-the-Water model village. Our first mistake was visiting as soon as we left Birdland. The entrance is just over the road, so it made sense, but we hadn’t seen the rest of the town at this point, so seeing a model of it just wasn’t that impressive. Aside from that, the whole thing looked a bit tired and run-down. A few of the mini-buildings had been restored, but there was a long way to go.
One final note. An argument raged throughout the day about which bird stands on one leg, a flamingo or a penguin. It seemed David had one the debate when we had seen both birds. Then we put our head in a Christmas shop, and to Ted’s delight, there was a statue of a penguin standing on one leg. Triumph in a 2-year-old is lovely!