My second post about our day trips in Wales today! This one is another review of a great day out, one that is a hidden gem of a place, for sure. The first post was about Hampton Court Castle, Leominster (not technically Wales, true) and is well worth a visit!
When we were staying at my Mums in mid-Wales, we visited a seaside town called Borth.
Yes, the Seaside in September! Surprisingly, apart from some strong wind the weather was pretty lovely! In fact, there wasn’t a drop of rain until we were getting back in the car ready to head home, the fates must have been on our side that day!
Borth is a beautiful seaside town. The proper kind with the huge caravan park, cafes and souvenir shops along the shore front, long lines of brightly coloured houses and a beach that is stony at the top, sandy at the water’s edge and stretches as far as the eye can see!
When I was a child we would come to the caravan park here (It was a Haven holiday park then) every single summer. We would spend a week enjoying the kid’s clubs and evening entertainment, swimming in the giant pool, exploring the beach, rounding up crabs and eating ice-cream.
One memorable summer we had to flee the beach due to a swarm of ladybirds! Who would believe little ladybugs were vicious monsters who would bite when bolstered by superior numbers? That was unexpected!
I was thrilled to take my boys back to this place filled with childhood memories, and even more excited to see it was still just as quaint and beautiful as I remembered.
As the weather really wasn’t quite warm enough to spend the day on the beach (The winds were so strong there were a couple of windsurfers enjoying the giant waves with their epic kites!) we decided to visit the ‘Animalarium’, or Borth Zoo.
This is a small and independently run place which houses a wide variety of animals, including rescued giant cats which had once been pets but had been abandoned once the idiot owners realised Leopards got a little bigger and were harder to tame than a dog.
They have exotic animals like lions, a leopard, a lynx and a variety of lizards, snakes, monkeys and birds, as well as some of the more commonly seen animal park regulars such as wallaby’s, goats, cockatoos, peacocks, rabbits and horses, most of which you can buy feed to interact with.
We arrived at opening time and immediately went to see the lions, who have their own separate area to the park (for more space) and could only be viewed at certain times when an attendant was present. They did not disappoint, they were very active and it was wonderful to see the male up close and personal at the window, practically face to face! He was a cheeky one who gave a good growl when he saw his handler come by with no food for him!
We then explored the first half of the park with the smaller, more enclosed areas such as the adorable little marmosets! We also saw Caimans, Terrapins, an assortment of fluffy household creatures, creepy crawlies and one of my favourite parts, the reptile house.
By this point, though, Gray was starting to complain he was hungry and we discovered we had come to the reptile house just in time for a show at 12pm. So, we decided to watch the show then grab some lunch.
We definitely made the right choice!
The snakes were so beautiful and the handler was amazing, altogether there were only about 10 people in the audience on this day, and he brought each snake and lizard he talked about out for us each to stroke! They felt so lovely, like warm silk. (Nanny wasn’t so keen!)
I wasn’t sure how Gray would react but he loved every second of it, he absolutely glowed when he got to hold the snakes! He talked about them all the way home later on. At the end of the show, the handler brought out the most beautiful Albino Python which Gray was happy to pose with for a photo, even though she weighed as much as he did and was twice as long!
After the show, we asked the attendant if we could go away for lunch and come back and she very kindly assured us that was not a problem. Their small café was out of commission that day due to unexpected circumstances.
So we jumped back in the car and headed down to the seafront, where we parked opposite The Sands Café. I think they gave us some of the best customer service we’ve ever had! The lady in charge had a northern accent, I wish I’d got her name but she was just lovely and really engaged with Gray.
The food was delicious, filling and very reasonable!
For three adult meals, one child’s meal and four drinks it came to just shy of £30! Down by us in Kent you’d be lucky to find a restaurant where you could get two adult meals for £30, without drinks!
After everyone was refuelled we headed back up and continued further into the park, this area had the other big cats as well as a wallaby walk-through, a large play area, and Meercats!
We love Meercats and were lucky enough to reach their enclosure just as the handler was feeding them. Gray was fascinated watching them gobble up their mealy worms alongside bits of fruit he recognised, such as banana and oranges.
There was also a horse paddock at this end where we paid £2 and Gray had his first ever pony ride! It was a small trek around the meercats and the large (lovely) play area. But for a nervous Mummy who had to walk alongside with a death grip on his coat for fear of him falling, it was long enough!
We then meandered back through the animals until we decided it was time to go, Gray had seen it all and was ready for home and a good nap in the car.
All in all, it was such a lovely day despite the chilly wind. I can’t wait to go back next summer when we can take full advantage of the beach! I couldn’t believe we’d been coming up to visit three times a year since I’d lived in Kent, with Borth just an hour’s drive from my Mums, and we’d never once brought Gray here!
Next year we will be back again for sure, and hopefully, Rhyd will be able to enjoy the beach too, as he should be waddling about by then!
I wasn’t asked to write a review by the Animalarium, I just wanted to share a lovely day with you all and hopefully spread some awareness of one of Wales most enjoyable hidden gems!