The youngest and I went to Kent’s Beaver Water World at the weekend. The eldest was otherwise engaged, shivering through the icy tent flaps of her D of E expedition while my husband is somewhere in the Americas.
Beaver Water World is tucked away in Tatsfield near Westerham on the same site as a shop selling tropical fish and other pets. The Beaver Water World name is a little misleading as, besides a beaver colony, the venue houses an eclectic mix of animals ranging from meerkats to a crocodile to a snowy owl. The website of this registered charity says that all of the animals have been rescued from private owners, the RSPCA or other zoos who are unable to keep them.
We started in the reptile house. ET, an iguana that looks about a metre long was there, a sign told us, because his owner had become unwell. The youngest was very excited to see Colin the crocodile and a helpful sign explaining that he’s real. Some of the reptile enclosures look quite small but another sign explained that this is because that’s what suits these animals best. This point was illustrated by a huge snake which had curled itself tightly into a shallow plastic box. It was sad reading how some of the animals had been neglected and mistreated before coming to the centre and I’d recommend anyone thinking of buying a reptile as a pet to think long and hard before doing so – they don’t seem to be easy to look after. Outside we saw deer, birds, rabbits and lemurs but agreed that we liked the meerkats best of all.
We spent an enjoyable hour or so looking at the various animals and reading the signs and information about them. The youngest then badgered me into ordering lunch at the small cafe next door to the shop. I couldn’t eat mine and I have to say I wouldn’t recommend the food there – a pub lunch or a picnic would definitely have been a better option.
Family travel lowdown: Beaver Water World is open daily from 10am to 5pm, except for Christmas Day. Entrance costs £4 for adults, £3 for children.