Moss Bank Park, Bolton

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The vast quantities of snow so far this year have been no friend to our park visits. A little dance was done in the Parklover household as we woke up recently to some bright sunshine and a plot was swiftly hatched to visit Moss Bank Park, on the A666 in Bolton, to check out the animal centre and playground.

We parked on the bottom carpark, nearest the main road, so that we could have a little walk before reaching the main attractions. There’s another carpark at the top end of the park, nearer to “Animal World”, the playground and model railway.

“Animal World” was first on our itinerary. It is not exactly a world of animals, perhaps more of a large village. It is however, a lovely facility to have free in a park and can keep little ones (okay, and me) amused for quite some time. Alas, the Butterfly House was closed until spring, but, when open, this is a handy place, particularly on a less sunny day. On to the animals then. The first one you will encounter is a coatimundi, although he obviously felt the cold and didn’t venture into the outdoor part of his enclosure despite the sun. There are goats, guinea pigs and chickens and a whole family of peacocks, including some stunning white ones, which you will see as soon as you arive. A large grassy area, reminiscent of Tellytubbie Land, houses some massive rabbits. There are various birds, such as the outstandingly named “Peach Faced Lovebirds” and some chinchillas, behind the rabbit enclosure. The highlight for us was the 2 red squirrels who were in a friendly mood when we visited. There are also various wildfowl in little ponds which you can wander around.

After our fix of cute fluffy animals, we headed down to the playground, passing a building site on out left. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that this is going to be a second play area aimed at older children. There’s a plan up showing the various equipment that is being installed, and it looks like it will be lots of fun. Presumably, this will be in place ready for busier times in the summer. When the weather is good, this park can get quite packed.

There’s already quite a large playground here, which is very well kept. There’s lots of benched dotted around, as well as a large picnic area. The most impressive feature, as far as I was concerned, was the freshly raked sand. Look at it! Pristine! Almost impossible to resist walking across. One of the sandpits houses a pirate ship, which CJ decided was a shop. At least I assume that’s what she thought, as she lent over the counter style part at the front and asked “Can I help you?”

There’s a cool helter skelter style slide in the middle of the playground and various climbing frames, slides and swings. Plenty to keep little ones occupied.

There’s a kiosk near the playground which is open at busy times, and a model railway, which I believe operates on Sundays in summer.

It’s the animal centre here which makes it a bit special and different, and worth coming  out of your way for. Just be prepared for lots of people to be thinking the same if you come on a warm summer weekend. Take a leaf out of our book and get the place almost to yourselves whilst it’s a bit chilly outside!

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