Children love seeing creatures close up, so a visit to one of Cornwall’s sanctuaries, aquariums or farm parks is a great option for a baby and toddler friendly day out in Cornwall.

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We’ve pulled together some of our favourite places to go for animal encounters. All these attractions are well set up for families with babies and toddlers, with easy parking, on-site refreshments and baby changing facilities, and admission for children under three is free.

Top places to go and see birds, animals and sea creatures in Cornwall

Cornish Seal Sanctuary, Gweek
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is one of the best places to see seals close up in the UK. They rescue and rehabilitate common seals, grey seals and sea lions each year, often pups who’ve been injured or orphaned. They’re looked after at the sanctuary, then released back into the wild once they’ve recovered.

The sanctuary is also home to Humbolt penguins, Asian short clawed otters, ponies, goats and sheep. Feeding times are always a big hit, and take place regularly throughout the day. The underwater viewing areas give visitors the chance to see seals and penguins swimming and certainly have the wow factor!

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Screech Owl Sanctuary, St Columb
There are lots of different types of owls at the sanctuary from all around the world. The site is well laid out and all the birds and animals here are very well looked after (the Screech family have been rescuing and caring for sick and injured owls for over 25 years). There’s even a hand tame area where you can get up close to some of the owls and give them a stroke.

There are three flying displays every day (weather permitting) and lots of other birds and animals to see, including meercats, racoons, alpacas, miniature Shetland ponies, emus and pygmy goats.

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Newquay Zoo, Newquay
For the chance to see more than 1,000 of the world’s rarest and endangered animals head to Newquay Zoo. The zoo is a charity with an emphasis on conservation and research (it’s part of the Whitley Wildlife Conservation Trust, along with Living Coasts and Paignton Zoo).

Lions, zebra, wildebeest, parrots, tortoises, snakes and monkeys are just some of the creatures you’ll encounter during your visit. There’s also range of activities to keep the little ones entertained, including children’s trails, face painting, a play area, a Tarzan trail and Dragon maze. And as the zoo is surrounded by 13 acres of sub-tropical gardens, there’s plenty of room to roam and explore.

Blue Reef Aquarium, Newquay
The aquarium is in the centre of Newquay, right on Towan Beach. Admission tickets let you go in and out as often as you like throughout the day, making it ideal for a day out with babies and toddlers. You can enjoy the beach and explore Newquay (we recommend Morris pasty shop in Gover Road for lunch) then pop back for feeding time.

Dairyland Farm World, near Newquay
Dairyland Farm World is perfect for a family day out, particularly if the weather’s changeable (there’s just as much to do here indoors as out, including a huge indoor play area). Animals you can see here include cows, goats, rabbits, ferrets and ponies. In the Pat a Pet section, you can also get close up to some of them.

Paradise Park, Hayle
Paradise Park bird sanctuary and wildlife park is a great place to visit at any time of year. There’s a strong emphasis here on supporting native birds and animals, and they also have a rescue and breeding programmes. There are lots of different birds and animals here, including several colourful varieties of parrot, Cornish choughs, red squirrels and red pandas, plus a range of farm animals.

Feeding times take place throughout the day (don’t miss the penguin feeding – if you’re lucky you might even get asked to help!) and you can watch parrots and birds of prey flying free. There’s also a great indoor play area which is ideally suited for under 5s.

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Inspiration for great family days out in Cornwall

You can find lots more suggestions for tried-and-tested days out with babies and toddlers in Cornwall in our free downloadable ebook, Nanny Pat’s Adventures. You’ll also find a printed copy in your cottage at Bosinver.

Holidays with babies and toddlers at Bosinver

All our luxury self-catering cottages are baby and toddler friendly, with a raft of equipment from baby listening monitors to microwaveable sterilisers, hop-ups and children’s toys. Everything at Bosinver is set up for little ones, and you’ll find plenty to keep you all entertained for hours, like collecting eggs and helping feed the animals with Farmer Dave in the morning, going for a dip in our beautifully warm indoor pool or exploring our woods in search of the Gruffalo! Read more about baby and toddler friendly holidays at Bosinver.

Have you had any animal adventures in Cornwall that have delighted your little ones? We’d love to hear your stories. Leave a message below, post on our Facebook page or tweet @bosinver.