What they do: Established in the 1960s by Margaret Piper, Bolenowe Animal Sanctuary looks after sick, unwanted and vulnerable horses, ponies and donkeys. Run by a team of highly dedicated volunteers, the 30-acre site has helped countless animals over the years. These days Bolenowe is still home to around 80 horses and ponies, as well as several other four and two-legged friends, including chicken, ducks and goats!
How you can visit: Found in Ruan Minor on the Lizard Peninsula, Bolenowe Animal Sanctuary offers a lovely day out for all the family. With their café open every Thursday to Sunday from June to October, visitors can explore the site, learn about the efforts of the team and then tuck into delicious cake washed down with a hot drink to round off the day.
What they do: Home to Cornwall’s only Seal Hospital, the Cornish Seal Sanctuary rescues, rehabilitates and releases sick and injured seals. Giving visitors an insight into a fascinating underwater world, the refuge is split into different zones. Stop off at Otter Creek before heading over to the underwater viewing area to watch Southern Sea Lions swimming around. There are daily talks and if you are lucky, you may even be able to watch feeding time too.
How you can visit: Open 7 days a week (except Christmas Day) from 10am to 5pm, there is plenty of opportunity to visit. Based in Gweek village, tickets can be bought on site or online.
What they do: The Flicka Foundation Donkey Sanctuary was founded in 1995 by Mary Berryman. Thanks to Mary’s determination and hard work, the sanctuary has become a refuge for innumerable donkeys over the years. Also taking in horses, sheep, cows, cats, dogs, rabbits and more, the Donkey Sanctuary has created a much-needed haven for those in desperate need of help.
How you can visit: A working site, the Donkey Sanctuary in Penryn simply requests a donation upon visiting. A tearoom is open from 11am to 4pm each day apart from Mondays and Fridays, and there is a gift cabin where you can pick up a lovely keepsake.
What they do: One of the South West’s most well-known charities, the Monkey Sanctuary in Looe has a long history of rescue and rehabilitation. Created in 1964, it is home to 36 monkeys and strives to create not only a safe environment for all its inhabitants but to educate the public about their plight.
How you can visit: If you would like to visit, the Monkey Sanctuary has different opening times throughout the year. Visit the monkeys and weave around the gardens on site, learning all about Cornish wildlife too. For a fully immersive experience, you can even become a keeper for the day!
What they do: With core aims of conservation, education and entertainment, Porfell Wildlife Park and Sanctuary in Liskeard seeks to share the wonder of the natural world and promote conservation. Providing many different animals from around the world with a safe haven, visitors can learn about the resident lemurs, meerkats, reptiles and more.
How you can visit: Open throughout most of the year, Porfell Wildlife Park closes temporarily between late February and March. Opening hours do vary, so it’s best to check to in advance.
What they do: Screech Owl Wildlife Park in Goss Moor cares for and rehabilitates sick and injured wild owls. Founded by Carolyn and Tom Screech (yes, honestly), the park offers a fantastic learning environment, allowing visitors to see and even touch some of the owls. Providing invaluable information, support and also running a specialist breeding programme, Screech Owl Wildlife Park is a wonderful day out for all the family.
How you can visit: A family-friendly sanctuary, Screech Owl Wildlife Park is open daily. With a play area for kids and a café serving refreshments, visitors of all ages will be kept thoroughly entertained.