Pros: Free parking, free entry, lots of animals that you can children can get up close to. Cons: Not as good as it used to be, less in the way of exotic animals.
Less than 30 minutes drive from Glasgow lies Palacerigg Country Park & visitor centre. It is home to a selection of rare breed animals, kid’s play park with picnic tables and a 10km network of nature trails and footpaths.
The family friendly park is home to a selection of rare breed farm animals who you are allowed to feed (with specially provided food from the shop). Well set out paths guide you around the various animals. There is beautiful herb garden with hidden treasures living in the plants and a seemingly endless amount of mazy paths around the centre.
The kid’s play park is large with lots for them to do. There’s also a cafe, hand-washing stations and a small shop with exhibits.
My wife visited the centre frequently as a child back when they had wolves, wildcats & birds of prey. Sadly, they are no longer there, unless you include the stuffed animals in the shop! Our children (3, 4 and 12) had lots to do and enjoyed feeding the animals. They managed to leave the park with the same amount of fingers that they arrived with, which is a testament to the good nature of the animals they were feeding.
At the edge of the park are the woodland trails complete with a tree-top walk. This is the embarrasing bit. While my wife and kids were happy to fearlessly stride ahead through the elevated walkway, I went a little pale and had to retreat back to the forest floor. There was something about the creaky wooden planks that made me tremble. I’m not good with heights and also a bit of a wuss.
Remarkably, there was no entry fee and the parking was also free! The only thing they charged for was the animal feed – 50p a bag.
It isn’t the biggest, best or most glamorous park you’ll visit, but it does provide a fun, budget-friendly day out for the family.
How to find Palacerigg Country Park
Visitor Centre opening times:
April – September 9am to 7.45pm
October – March 9am to 4.15pm