Secret Garden Wildlife Centre revisited
I’m feeling lazy today, so I thought I’d let Kori tell you about her experiences running a birthday party for a bunch of excitable 4 year-olds. If you remember, she was asking about the Secret Garden Wildlife Centre in the middle of Greenwich Park, which is available for hire on a self-catering basis from Royal Parks. She has sent a very detailed account of her experience which I think would be interesting to many:
The party went down well, with about 10 kids and their adults. (The hall has a limit of 20 people. I think we had a few more than that but as most individuals were outside at any one time, I didn’t worry about it).
The building itself is long, narrow, and the slightest bit musty, as it is obviously closed up for days at a time– but just what we needed for a place to set out loads of food, drinks, and presents on the tables provided– and we could have used the space for indoor games and activities if it had been rainy. I think they must use the building for school groups and/or nature clubs, as there are cabinets full of art supplies, etc in one of the rooms.
There are 3 toilets: I normal size, 2 child-size (cutest little toilets I ever did see). Small ‘kitchen’ at the back has an urn and sink but no appliances so is really just a prep space for whatever food you bring with you. I made about 50 sandwiches there!
From outside, you would truly never know this building was even there! When the very helpful park ranger showed it to me, she said as we approached that I must remember to walk at about a 45-degree tragectory from between a particular bin and the following bench, just to the left of a certain tree, to find it again on my own! She was not wrong. I didn’t see the door in the dense row of trees (the other side of which is the deer enclosure) until I was nearly right in front of it.
And yes, we did get to see quite a few deer. They seemed quite a young herd and were completely unperturbed that several 4-yr-olds were watching them through the windows along the side of this shelter.
I wouldn’t hesitate to use this building for such an occasion again, especially if the weather was sunny again, as the area just outside is ideal for kids to play in without being in the way of passers-by, and there were bunches of low trees nearby for them to have adventures in as the day wore on. The ranger did ask us not to have any sports equipment/outdoor games in that part of the park, but less than 100 yards away (on the other side of the fence marking off this garden section of the park), such toys would be fine.
If you’re interested, the contact details are:
Greenwich Park Office