Join our zoo community

Tilgate Nature Centre Tilgate Nature Centre

Discussion in 'United Kingdom' started by pipaluk, 6 Nov 2013.

  1. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    3,937
    Location:
    England
    I notice there are no threads on this small council run collection in Crawley, but having visited for the first time the other day, i would like to say that whilst it isn't sometwhere i would recommend someone went miles out of their way for, at £2 it is definitely worth a visit if you're in the area! I've paid nearly 10x that for the 2 hour i spent there & seen much less!
    My phone crashed whilst posting more details, i may try again tomorrow.
     
  2. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Nov 2008
    Posts:
    938
    Location:
    U.K.
    I used to visit Tilgate several times a year and it is a surprisingly good little collection. It used to be free entry. It also used to be a rare domestic breeds centre. I know its bird collection has improved greatly in more recent times, breeding many fairly tricky species in fact. It is a little gem and very underrated even locally. Yes it is a small collection but it makes for a nice relaxing afternoons visit in good weather!
     
  3. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    3,937
    Location:
    England
    I guess the charge is a sign of the times, with Council budget cuts everywhere, but I don't think many would begrudge paying the very small entrance fee, in fact with the introduction of a few more (popular & easily obtained) mammal species, at a small investment, they could easily double the charge without putting people off visiting.

    As Nanook has said, it is predominantly a bird collection, with over 100 species. I can't remember all of them, but there were around a dozen pheasant species, over 20 waterfowl, Stanley Crane, burrowing owl,raven, 2 laughing thrush, kookaburra,bali starling, java sparrow and various lorikeets and conures plus plenty more. The best aviary was a large glass fronted one for Waldrapp Ibis, White Naped Crane and Little Egret.

    The mammal collection was somewhat limited:
    Harvest Mice, Degu, Azaras Agouti, Red Squirrel,Parma Wallaby, Muntjac, Red Deer,a large paddock for Mara & Alpaca and various domestics - Cattle, sheep, goats , pigs, rabbits guinea pigs. The new enclosures for meerkats and Asian Small Clawed Otters were pretty good for a collection of this size.

    There were a few invertebrates, amphibians -3 species of dart frog, whites tree frog, axolotl and ribbed newts. The reptiles on show were Dumerils & Jamaican Boa, Utila Iguana, a couple of small tortoise species, spiny tailed lizards and European Terrapin.

    Nothing particularly rare, but a pleasant (& cheap) 2 hours even on a damp autumn afternoon.
     
    Last edited: 20 Nov 2013
  4. Maisie

    Maisie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    302
    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    I'd visit a lot if it wasn't so very far away. I've been a couple of times, mostly with the intention of fraternising with Terry the Raven (look him up on YouTube) and the magpie in the next aviary (anyone who knows my corvid obsession will understand!). The rest of the nature centre is a bit of a sideshow, but a very visibly attractive and interestingly-stocked one. I'll bung some of my pics in the gallery. Can't promise to label much, but you'll get the idea :)
     
  5. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    3,937
    Location:
    England
    The talking raven was a highlight for me too! He grabbed our attention when we were ignoring him whilst watching the red squirrel next door.
     
  6. Maisie

    Maisie Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Dec 2008
    Posts:
    302
    Location:
    Cheshire, UK
    Is the one-eyed magpie still in with the red squirrel?
     
  7. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    3,937
    Location:
    England
    There was a magpie in with the squirrel & one in cage the other side of the raven, i didnt notice either had one eye though!
     
  8. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Nov 2008
    Posts:
    938
    Location:
    U.K.
    I believe the talking Raven has been there many years, I started visiting in 1992 and I am sure he was there then ( ?)
    I agree with the comment about paying a fair entrance price , it is worth it and fully deserved, the up-keep of the place can`t be cheap, I used to give a small donation every time I went as a small thank you.
     
  9. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    3,937
    Location:
    England
    Visited today for the second time and there have been quite a few changes in the last 2 years.
    A new African complex consisting of several low walled outdoor enclosures has been built, with indoor viewing in the education centre. The old meerkat enclosure now holds dwarf mongoose and the new ones hold leopard tortoise, a large meerkat family (15-20) with young of varying ages, yellow mongoose . There is a new African grey hornbill aviary and striped grass mouse indoor enclosure as part of this development too.
    There have been several new aviaries constructed around the site.
    Other new mammals were Coati, Reindeer and I finally got to see my first Racoon dog, having failed at Paradise WP earlier this year and made a first visit to Yorkshire WP too late.
    None of the New species are particularly exciting, but these are significant for a collection of this size.
    It appeared there are no longer Mara or Parma wallaby, though I could have missed them!
    Still only £2 entrance!
     
  10. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    3,937
    Location:
    England
    My third visit yesterday.

    A few observations :

    New Australia zone containing Emu, Bennetts & Parma Wallaby, Western Grey Kangaroo & a couple of large new aviaries. Very well planned I think.

    South American zone is planned for development over next year or so, sign showed Capybara & Tapir. Hopefully there will be a few more additions in that area, maybe a primate & cat?

    Reptile collection seems to have expanded, 3 species of Gecko, none of which I've seen at 16 other zoos visited this year! Monkey tailed skink, North African Spiny tailed lizard, Sudan plated lizard, utila Iguana, same 2 snake species, leopard & pancake tortoise

    Hopefully someone will update ZTL from this, but would they please put yellow mongoose back, it's listed as a former holding for some reason, there were still at least 5 yesterday!

    Now 2 racoon dogs, I think there was only one a year ago. Still a lone red deer.

    Births - 2 very small Asian small-clawed otters, bringing group to 7 (seen anyway), 2 young dwarf mongoose.



    Entrance up to a massive £2.50, worth every penny!
     
  11. Nanook

    Nanook Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    8 Nov 2008
    Posts:
    938
    Location:
    U.K.
    True this place is worth so much more than the £2.50 entrance price.
    I don`t know how they manage to keep the cost of it so low, but yet improve the place every year. The Crawley council parks dept run it, and it is a credit to them. (It is the only zoological collection in the area since Gatwick Zoo closed in 2002).
     
  12. bongorob

    bongorob Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    18 May 2007
    Posts:
    5,910
    Location:
    Stoke-on-Trent England
    I have added them to current holdings.
     
  13. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    3,937
    Location:
    England
    Thanks Bongorob
     
  14. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    3,937
    Location:
    England
    Visited today for first time this year.

    New Madagascar zone opened 2 weeks ago, without the 'star attractions ', the lemur enclosures have signs saying ' lemurs coming soon'. There is an open top enclosure with 2 indoor areas and another cage away from there with 2 indoor areas too. Ring-tailed are definite, but not sure if any other lemur species will be included.

    There were 5 enclosures for Madagascar Tree Boa, Dumeril's Boa, Henkels Leaf Gecko, Panther Chameleon and Leopard tortoise. These had outdoor viewing and this combined with the depth of them makes viewing very difficult, I'm not sure this works very well.
    In the lemur house there are further tanks containing Standings Day Gecko, hissing cockroach, Golden mantella, Madagascar stick insect & an empty fish tank. This complex also includes an aviary containing Hottentot Teal, Little Egret & white faced whistling duck.

    At the entrance to the zone is an average sized open top enclosure containing a male Serval 'Kenya' who came from Marwell I believe, he will be 15 this year.

    Another new addition was Long nosed Potoroo in one of the Australian aviaries.

    The South American zone will now open in 2018.

    Entrance has increased to £3
     
    Last edited: 16 Apr 2017
  15. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    3,937
    Location:
    England
    The first 2 female Ring-tailed lemurs have arrived from Tropiquaria this week, nearly 2 months after the Madagascar exhibit opened!
     
  16. Eric

    Eric Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Aug 2017
    Posts:
    140
    Location:
    London
    Hallo. I paid my first visit to this little gem on August 5th 2017.As such i do not know it's previous state whether good or bad in preceeding years,but my views of my first visit are very positive.

    1) Cheap.Only £3 adults,£2 kids,which is good value for the small,but increasing animals they host,in regards to the rediculous £45 Chessington asks for. Even with the stated 50p increase per year,5 yrs from now,that will only be £5.50 (if they keep their word?).

    2) I myself,found the design of the current Tilgate NC,quite pleasant.Each main enclosure,ie the new Madagascar (Ring-tailed Lemur) and Australian Enclosures,had small wood viewing areas also housing various reptile & insect,& aviary exhibits.

    3) For a small zoo aka Nature Centre,it had a fairly good amount of animal species (95+) relative to it's contained (walled garden) size,though primarily focusing on the birds..

    And it seems that they have plans for a Humboldt penguin pool,Americas zone and nocturnal house in the ensuing years.

    The only minor flaws they have,are:
    More species should need to represent the European zone (Raccoon Dogs are Asian),and maybe the aviaries/enclosures in this area could be touched up to match the enclosures i've mentioned.?.(they have plans).

    The birds on the lake were hiding..(albeit they are semi,or fully wild?)

    Perhaps a few more mammals to even out the birds.?

    Overall,i would defo visit again after their next revamp..
     
  17. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    3,937
    Location:
    England
    Have to agree with most of your comments, I think the best zoo anyone will enter for even double the £3 entrance! Bargain.

    Racoon dogs, though not technically European, are as much so as muntjac, grey squirrel, sika deer etc
     
  18. Eric

    Eric Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Aug 2017
    Posts:
    140
    Location:
    London
    Work is in progress on several large cabins to house Tapir (new),Reptiles and Marmosets,judging by the twitter images from the log cabin company hired to build them.
    NFF Log Cabins (@NFFLogCabins) | Twitter
     
  19. Eric

    Eric Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    12 Aug 2017
    Posts:
    140
    Location:
    London
    New Americas Zone to be opened on Saturday 7th April 2018. Capybara,Brazilian Tapir,several Macaw species,Axolotl,Emperor Tamarins,Marmosets,and likely Coati & Mara to be housed here,among other north,central & south American species.
     
    kiang likes this.
  20. pipaluk

    pipaluk Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    10 Feb 2012
    Posts:
    3,937
    Location:
    England
    Visited last weekend and I will be amazed if everything is ready by Saturday, most of the area was still a building site, I think they've been caught out by the continual bad weather over the last month or so!

    Only new species I saw were 3 (Greater?) Rhea at the far end of the paddock that will also hold the Tapir and Capybara. Greater Vasa Parrot in the main Madagascar aviary.

    Still only the 2 ring tailed Lemur, judging by the housing around I suspect they were hoping for more of them & more lemur species.

    Virtually no waterfowl seen either!