As the adage goes, a bird in hand is worth two in the bush. If you’re a bird enthusiast, you’ll love checking out Huxley’s Birds of Prey Centre and Gardens which is conveniently situated within the grounds of Hillier’s Garden Centre in Horsham. It’s a gem in the rough and totally worth a visit.
Impressively, the Experience is curated to appeal to visitors. From about 2:30 pm onwards there’s a flying show where audience participation is encouraged. By simply raising your hand, you can be part of the action and have something to live long in your memory.
There’s an array of different birds to check out at the site. You’re bound to see various birds of prey like hawks, owls, vultures, and falcons at some point during the tour.
Since it’s a nature treat, you can take a walk around at your own convenience and check out the animals at your own pace. There’s also a lawn which is surrounded by a beautiful garden which is frequented by bees and butterflies from the locale. Plants like the bonsai trees make for great viewing as your walk around the site.
If you’re down for it, you can take part in the daily meet and greet session hosted by the tour guides. We’re certain you’ll find them to be passionate with regards to how they go about their work.
The trip is definitely worth it for both school goers and those looking to gain insights about birds. With a notebook in hand, you’ll be able to jot down a couple of interesting facts that you can showcase the next time you’re having a talk about birds with your close friends and family. Sounds cool right?
From the outside, you can tell that the bird enclosures are well maintained and the birds appear to be in tip-top shape. The tour guides even allow you to stroke the birds on display provided you put on a protective glove while at it.
The Huxley Experience is unquestionably a special event ideal for friends and family to mingle. There’s something for everyone. The adults will love the wild nature walks, the kids will love the meet and greet session and the interesting tidbits shared almost always prove to be a hit with all and sundry.
Shortly after opening at 11:00 am, the momentum seems to build up till around noon when the ball really starts rolling. Of course, it’s worth mentioning that getting there early has its perks since you’ll already have settled in and become familiar with the surroundings. If Horsham is an entirely new locale for you, it’s best to invest your time in getting there early since the location is somewhat tucked away at the back of the garden centre.
Travelers usually visit the garden centre café for lunch before resuming sight-seeing activities at the Huxley. The informative sessions are absolutely worth it and it’s easy for time to just fly by (pun intended) without you ever noticing.
Having been founded in 1993 by Julian Ford, the establishment still maintains a welcoming aura to visitors. At conception, Julian was already renown as a breeder of birds of prey. With a solid background as an estate manager to Charleston Manor, Julian was primed to take over the bird sight-seeing world.
Once he decided to pursue the bird's venture full-time, he quit and opened shop. Today, the centre is home to more than 80 birds of prey. It’s worth pointing out that there are other bird breeds available on display, namely a kookaburra and a raven.
You can check out more than 20 falcons and 30 owls at the Huxley plus a couple of other unusual birds like a bateleur eagle, a Verreaux eagle owl, a spectacled owl, and some Russian steppe eagles.
Open 5 days a week on most days of the year, you can check out the site whenever you’re looking for some inspiration from Mother Nature. Notably, Huxley’s is open on Sundays during winter time.
Julian has many a time shared that falcons have always fascinated him, even as a child. At the centre, you can see as many as 5 different falcons flying out an about at any given time.
During the tour, he’ll share wonderful anecdotes like how some bids soar all the way up 4,000 feet not for hunting reasons, but to simply take pleasure in the flight.
As it's apparent already, the site offers great value for everyone. It’s a wonderful showcase of the wonders of nature.
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