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Exploring Scotland | Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre, Perthshire

Posted on 1 Comment Location: , 3 min read

W

hen I said that Highland Heather Lodges, where we had a three-day stay last month, had a ton of different activities right on its doorstep, I really wasn’t joking. Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre was literally just a five minute drive from our cabin, which placed it pretty high on our list of things to do in Perthshire: well, that and the fact that I’d heard you could actually pet some of the animals there, and if there’s one thing guaranteed to make me want to visit a place, it’s the presence of lots of cute animals. If there’s one thing guaranteed to make Max want to visit a place, meanwhile, it’s the knowledge that there’s a really cool pole in the car park: 

Max finds a new toy

He would quite happily have stayed there all day, too: it was like our trip to Hopetoun House all over again. And also every single day out we’ve ever tried to have, basically. Those animals weren’t going to feed themselves, though, so once we’d purchased our tickets (£9.50 for adults and £7.50 for children, although Max, as an under-two, was allowed in for free…), plus a bag of animal feed, we headed into the park to explore:

There are tons of different animals at Auchingarrich, ranging from farmyard animals to more exotic species. Here’s an actual photo of me soon after we arrived, looking around in amazement, and trying to decide which animal to go and pet first:

meercats at Auchingarrich Wildlife park, Crieff

OK, I’m joking: these are meercats. And I obviously chose to feed the goats first, because, if you’ve ever tried to feed a goat, you’ll know they have the most amazing, soft little mouths, and are a just a little bit nuts, really, but in a fun way:

feedingthe goats at Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre, Comrie

Auchingarrich Wildlife park, Crieffholding a baby bird at Auchingarrich Wildlife Park, near Comrie, Perthshire

Whiet peacock at Auchingarrich Wildlife CentreFrom there, we headed into the small animal enclosure, where we were able to hold some baby chicks, and say hello to guinea pigs, rabbits and the like. (All of this is closely supervised, of course, to ensure the safety and happiness of the animals: worry not!) Here’s Max, meanwhile, milking a “cow” as if he’s been doing it his entire life:

Max learning to milk a cow at Auchingarrich Wildlife Park

Max learning to milk a cow at Auchingarrich Wildlife Park

He very much enjoyed this experience, but I suspect he was still thinking about that pole in the car park, tbh. While he’s been borderline obsessed with “doggies” for a while now, he’s only recently started to be interested in other animals, most of whom he tends to view with polite suspicion. Luckily, though, while I was all about the animal encounters, of which there were plenty, Max was also really well catered for at Auchingarrich: we counted two indoor soft play/play barns, several different outdoor play areas, a tractor circuit, and just tons and tons of other child-friendly activities, basically. There was so much to do, in fact, that by the time we’d been there for an hour or so, Terry and I were already making plans to come back sometime, and, if we lived closer, I could easily see it becoming a regular haunt.

indoor play barn at Auchingarrich Wildlife Park
Max has a tractor ride
Indoor play barn at Auchingarrich Wildlife Park
Max, June 2019
Once Max had tired himself out in the play barn, we headed to the cafe for lunch, which was surprisingly excellent. I say “surprisingly” – I’d just been chasing Max through the soft play, and I guess I was expecting the same kind of ‘soft play’ appropriate food you generally find in those types of places. Actually, though, this was absolutely nothing like that: I thoroughly enjoyed my salad, and the views from the cafe are pretty nice too, so it’s definitely somewhere I’d recommend visiting for lunch, even if you don’t want to do the rest of the park. Speaking of the views, here’s one of the outdoor play areas:
outdoor play area at Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre
In teh sandpit at Auchingarrich
trying out the flying fox at Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre
Max on the slide
Max spent approximately 15 hours in the sandpit here, and, as you can see, I had a pretty good time, too…
 
Overall, as I said above, this is definitely somewhere we’d visit again: and, although this trip was part of a stay in Perthshire, which made it particularly convenient, the fact that it’s only about an hour’s drive from our house means that we’ll hopefully be able to go back again sometime soon. If you’re in the area, meanwhile, I’d really recommend a visit: just don’t forget to tell the goats I said ‘hi’…
 
 

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1 Comment
  • Kelly Glen
    July 21, 2019

    From your pictures I can’t tell if it was you or Max who had the most fun! It looks a great place to visit with lots to see and do.

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Exploring Scotland | Auchingarrich Wildlife Centre, Perthshire