Friday, 22 August 2014

“Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened.” ― Anatole France

 Hello! My post today is going to be the first in a mini series over the next few weeks all about Sutton Park. Set over nearly 2500 acres there is plenty to keep everyone in the family happy here.
 I grew up visiting this park weekly so now my family gets a great kick out of watching minibrum do all the things I did a few (ahem) years ago!
Which makes it fitting then that this blog is all about something neither of us had ever done in the park before.... Visiting The Donkey Sanctuary.
 Mini and I left Mr H at home, washing up and went off with  for a morning out. Oh yes all we had a lovely time! The Donkey Sanctuary is less than a ten minute walk from the Town Gate entrance to the park, which is itself a five minute walk from Sutton Coldfield Town Centre.This was our first view....
 There are lots of great things about the sanctuary, large fields, super cute donkeys ( with a couple of very sweet dogs lolling around too) and best of all the sanctuary also operates as an assisted therapy centre for children with additional needs. There is an outdoor play area, a sensory room, and an indoor riding arena for the children to experience structured planned rides or cart rides with the most appropriate donkey for each individual. More information on the opportunities here
 Following the wishes of the sanctuary I didn't take any photos of these sections so have another cute donkey pic .. 
 Although riding the donkeys and cart is restricted to therapy everyone is welcome to come along and look around. Minibrum spent a good long time stroking all the donkeys before a lovely and patient  member of staff taught her to use a brush and clean her favourite ( Oscar). If only she was this good at cleaning at home! The donkeys are so docile this will suit all ages of children.
There is an extremely peaceful atmosphere when you are with the donkeys and the staff could not be nicer here. There is a small table of assorted things related to donkeys to buy and donate to the sanctuary. Mini helped out with some donkey ears and promptly went off into  'Who is that funky looking donkey' quoting ( Everyone is sick of Frozen now right ? ) For adults you can adopt one of the donkeys for a year for yourself or dedicated to someone as a present. They can watch their donkeys online daily!!  More information here

 Overall this is a gentle way to spend a couple of hours and it is very hard not to love the donkeys as they all have quite distinct personalities. The image of them looking soulfully out in the distance is humorous and they are very interested in having a bit of fuss if you can give it. (BrumHour can testify to the softness of donkey ears!)
 There is plenty of factual information about the animals dotted around walls to learn something as well...

 It is so very easy to couple this with wearing your children out on the playground near to the park entrance or to have a good old stomp through the greenery surrounding the sanctuary ( more on this in the next post about the park) All of this, including entry to the sanctuary is free so you can have an ice cream from the hut next to the playground. This day was very wholesome, lots of fresh air and exercise for all of us!  After all, as I am told, even teddies need a play out !

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