Castle Espie || Day Tripping

Summertime might be over but that doesn’t mean we can’t still can’t have some family fun.  I decided to take a day out with my lot to Castle Espie to see the ducks.

Castle Espie is a wetlands reserve in Northern Ireland that is home to a variety of ducks and geese. The day that we visited was Solar Day and my son, Jack, got to meet Derek Heatly, a local man who is heading to space with Virgin Galatic. Unfortunately, Jack became shy for the first time in his life and refused to have a photo taken or say a word to Derek. But he did get some signed pictures.

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We set off around the lake and headed for some pond dipping. This is really fun for the kids because they can get their hands dirty with nets and mini-ponds to explore what lives in the wetlands. You can dip for pond skaters, newts, even spiders. Yay! If you manage to catch something, you can take it over to an observation station and have a look at your catch with a microscopic camera.

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As you head further around the lakes, you will find a Stone Age settlement complete with the Crannog. You can go inside and look at the view of Strangford Lough. From here you can see the freshwater lagoon and the saline lagoon. But if you want a really great view, walk on around to the Limekiln observatory. Inside the observatory, you can look over the lough through the viewfinder and listen to audio files about the history of the area.

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It’s not all lakes and ducks. Travel back towards the main office and there is a kids playground, the woods, a tree house, and zip wire. We didn’t get to try out all the fun stuff, just the woods and the playground. Although we missed these bits, we got to see some baby ducks and geese in the duckery.

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If you want some more inspiration for day trips, check out my post about Mount Stewart.

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