Cornwall’s wildlife parks do such amazing work caring for all kinds of injured, sick and endangered creatures while also providing important hubs for education and conservation. They make a fun and worthwhile day out but sadly recent years have seen many of them hit hard by rising costs and the ongoing effects of the pandemic restrictions.
So it’s time to brighten up our days with some animal interactions and show these sanctuaries the love and support that they need and deserve!
The Screech Owl Sanctuary
Tucked away close to the wilds of Goss Moor this award-winning sanctuary provides care and rehabilitation for sick and injured owls alongside conservation and a captive breeding programme.
Visitors will discover owls from all across the globe, from the European Great Grey Owl to the Eastern Siberian Owl and the American Burrowing Owl. Over the past 25 years Carolyn Screech has worked tirelessly to not only care for these birds but to also provide a home for a wide range of other animals in need including wallabies, raccoons, lemurs, meerkats, alpacas and emus. So lots to see!
As well as regular ‘Owl Talks’ the sanctuary also provides owl handling sessions for those who would like to have a one to one experience.
Entry is FREE during winter months, although donations are very welcome. Open 10 – 3 every day.
Find out more: www.screechowlsanctuary.co.uk
The Flicka Foundation Donkey Sanctuary
Founded by Mary Berryman in 1995 to care for elderly and abused donkeys, ponies and horses (one of which gave the charity its name), Flicka has since rescued and rehabilitated over 1,000 animals.
In quiet countryside not far from Falmouth the sanctuary is currently home to an astonishing menagerie with more than 100 donkeys and ponies as well as sheep, pigs, cows and rabbits, all arriving into their care for various reasons over the years.
Visitors can get up close to the residents in their spacious paddocks or cosy barns, learn their stories, and there might even be the chance to stroke some ears! Entry to the sanctuary is FREE (donations welcome). There is a café selling snacks and delicious cakes and a small shop where all sorts of donkey related gifts can be purchased.
Flicka opens Thursday – Sundays, 11am – 4pm. Find out more: www.flickafoundation.org.uk
Porfell Wildlife Park & Animal Sanctuary
This wildlife park near Liskeard is Cornwall’s largest exotic animal sanctuary with 46 different species and more than 200 individuals including meerkats, zebras, lemurs, capybaras, owls, parrots, tortoises and monkeys.
With an emphasis on education and conservation through hands on experience and fun the park encourages visitors to get up close to some of the animals on their Children’s Farm. Here little ones can meet, pet and feed some of the smaller friendly critters. There is a tea room onsite selling local pasties and hot drinks as well as a picnic area.
Opens daily from April 1st. Find out more: www.porfell.co.uk
Wild Futures – Looe Monkey Sanctuary
The quiet countryside around the coastal town of Looe is hardly the place that you would expect to hear the hoots and howls of monkeys reverberating off the trees! Indeed, the Looe Monkey Sanctuary has to be one of Cornwall’s best kept secrets.
There are 40 individuals at the rescue centre including capuchin monkeys, marmosets, Barbary macaques and Woolly monkeys. And for that special present why not purchase a ‘Keeper for a Day’ experience?
Opens Easter. Find out more: www.monkeysanctuary.org
Cornish Seal Sanctuary
Experts in the rehabilitation of seals and other marine animals, visit to see their latest rescue pups, marvel at the agility of the residents in underwater viewing areas and join in with feeding time for the penguins! This wonderful place is very much a family favourite!
The sanctuary is open all year round. www.sealsanctuary.sealifetrust.org