The other day we ventured a bit further afield. When visiting friends in Perth and Kinross, we decided to pay Camperdown Wildlife Centre in Dundee a visit. It was a glorious sunny autumn day, one which would have been wasted indoors.
Located just outside of Dundee, it’s easily accessible by car from Dundee and Perth, although not quite so easily accessible if you don’t have a car. It’s set in the stunning Camperdown Country Park which we didn’t explore in our visit, but the website tells me of woodland walks (ok, I noticed the woods myself), play areas and a leisure park with events and ice rink.
While the country park is free of charge, the wildlife centre charges for entry. A family ticket comes at £10 for which you get a map and activity sheet for the little ones (and it’s an activity that does actually work) and access to the wildlife area. There are bears, wolves, bats, wildcats, farm animals, owls, eagles wombats and many other animals, all set in a beautiful woodland. I realised that we don’t go to animal parks often enough, because the delight on my 1 year old’s face was priceless. All those animals that she knows from books were there right in front of her, friendly and strokeable. 4 year old was rather scared of the prospect of seeing bats, wolves and bears and strangely chickened out with the bats, but had no problem getting up close to the ever so slightly more dangerous animals.There was surprise about the size of wolves (small) and that of wildcats (small too), the bear skeleton was explored with curiosity and the questions about the main attractions (though she referred to “jokes” instead throughout) were answered readily. A cafe adds convenience to the place, but there are plenty of picnic benches and tables to bring your own food.
Compared to places like Calderglen which are free, Camperdown is of course a bit on the pricey side – in return though you get more unusual animals and I have to say, seeing a wolf alone is rare enough, considering how prominently it features in many a fairy tale. Nevermind the opportunity to see bats (which we missed due to extremely frightened preschooler). So yes, it’s a bit pricier than other wildlife centres, but you can’t argue that the selection of animals is definitely unusual making this a worthwhile travel destination.
By car, it took us just over 90 minutes to get there. By public transport it would be travel by train to Dundee and then by bus to a location nearby.