Irresistible raptors will make our Garden grow

It is more than 200 years since golden eagles were a common sight in Wales. But they are making a comeback at the National Botanic Garden with the opening of the British Bird of Prey Centre.

The new centre – which features 20 native birds of prey and opened on June 1st – offers Garden visitors awesome, close-up encounters with hawks, falcons, kestrels, kites and buzzards as well as eagles.

The centre’s director Emma Hill says: “This is one of the very few places in the whole of the UK you can see a golden eagle flying.”

With two flying displays every day and a daily ‘owl show’, too, the new centre is already a big hit with people of all ages.

Says Emma: “Few visitors will know very much about our native raptors and fewer still will have seen them in the wild. Now, they have the perfect opportunity to find out about these amazing animals up close and personal.

“The more we can spread the conservation message, the more likely we are going to be able to keep these fabulous birds thriving in the wild.”

The Botanic Garden’s director Huw Francis welcomed the news of the British Bird of Prey Centre opening, saying that, with this latest addition to the menu of attractions, the Garden offer is getting close to being irresistible: “With rising visitor numbers, great reviews and a growing reputation, the Garden really is going from strength to strength. This June 1st opening is another huge milestone for us and we cannot wait to introduce our visitors to the fantastic world of birds of prey.”

• The National Botanic Garden of Wales is a charity dedicated to the research and conservation of biodiversity; to sustainability, lifelong learning and the enjoyment of the visitor.
• It opened in May 2000 as one of three iconic Millennium projects in Wales. It is the only one outside the nation’s capital, occupying historic parkland (Middleton estate) covering 568 acres and incorporating a National Nature Reserve and organic farm, as well as being a showcase for some of the world’s most endangered plants.
• The Garden is open every day of the year except Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
• Admission to the Garden is £14.50 (including Gift Aid) for adults and this includes entry to the new British Birds of Prey attraction. Under 5s are free. Entry is £3.50 for Garden members and parking is free for all.
• The Botanic Garden posted a 17-year high in visitor numbers for the year to March 31, 2018 with a total of 177,750 visitors through its gates.