Wild days out back on as North Anston animal centre reopens doors

ONE of the region’s more unique visitor attractions has opened its doors again as the gradual exit from the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown continues.

The Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre at North Anston, near Sheffield, has opened all its outdoor areas and enclosures, though in line with government guidelines its indoor spaces remain temporarily closed.

The centre is home to a variety of exotic, vibrantly-coloured insects, rare bats, birds and reptiles. Lemurs, meerkats, owls, otters and snakes are among the residents at the attraction, which opened in 1994. It temporarily closed on January 5 in line with the national lockdown provisions.

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After running a Great Golden Egg Hunt last week to coincide with the school holidays, the centre will be operating temporary opening hours starting from today.

Head Keeper Steve Dickie, at Tropical Butterfly House Wildlife And Falconry Centre, at Woodsetts Road, North Anston, Sheffield, feeding Pepper an Afrian Pygmy Goat.

From Monday to Friday, the attraction will be open from 11am to 3.30pm and on Saturdays and Sundays from 10am to 5.30pm.

To allow the centre to manage queueing and social distancing, visitor numbers are restricted. Visits are for up to three hours only and must be pre-booked. Group sizes are also restricted.

Refreshments are available on site though only on a takeaway basis. Lottie’s Coffee Lounge will serve takeaway hot drinks and food and the Big Red Bus will also be open at weekends (subject to weather conditions), also providing hot drinks and snacks. The Butterfly Cafe remains closed for the time being.

Like many venues, the Tropical Butterfly House has had to deal with the huge challenge of the pandemic but it also had the extra burden of handling an outbreak of avian influenza, or bird flu, around the UK last December.

The centre had to take precautionary measures to protect bird species in its care, including changing the way they are fed to not attract wild birds into the area.