I’ve heard great things about the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek (just outside Falmouth.) They do incredible work to help local wild seal populations across the Cornish coast. They rehabilitate around 70 seals and pups each year, who would otherwise not survive on their own in the wild. On top of this, their sanctuary in Gweek is dog friendly, which really surprised me. So Woody, Hen and I decided to head over there to take a look around!
Dogs are allowed on lead throughout the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. They’re not permitted in the children’s play area, inside the café or in the seal hospital. The latter is where injured wild seals are rehabilitated before being released back into the wild, so it’s important they don’t see or interact with dogs while they’re there! These restrictions are completely understandable and there’s still so much to explore. Dogs are more than welcome at the resident enclosures, where the animals live at the sanctuary full time due to disabilities, long term health conditions or their captive backgrounds.
You’d be mistaken for thinking that only seals live at Cornish Seal Sanctuary! In fact as well as Grey and Common seals, you can also meet Californian and Southern Sea Lions, Humboldt Penguins and Asian Short Clawed Otters. You can also learn about each individual resident thanks to the handy signs around their enclosures. Reading some of their stories and conditions are heartbreaking but it’s lovely to see them living their new lives to the fullest!
You can also watch the seals/sea lions/penguins/otters be fed each day and learn more about their species in both captivity and the wild. There’s a classroom underneath the seal enclosures too, with information about plastic pollution, as well as desk space for visiting schools and groups. You’ll also see photos of all the seals the sanctuary have successfully rehabilitated and released into the wild over the past couple of years here!
Hen adored the penguins. They were by far his favourite creatures to meet. He chased them around as they darted through the water. There’s a stunning viewing gallery around the back of the enclosure, with floor to ceiling glass so you can watch the penguins swimming. Squidge, the first penguin to ever be hatched at the Cornish Seal Sanctuary, adores playing with dogs. It was beautiful watching him and Hen interact with one another through the glass. Squidge is great with children too, not phased by their excited screams at all – he loves the attention!
The Cornish Seal Sanctuary is incredibly dog and family friendly. I really appreciate how above and beyond staff go to make dogs feel welcome. There are dog refreshment stations dotted across the site, as well as spare poo bags in case you run out! I’m so grateful to be able to bring Woody and Hen on day trips like these. Woody’s separation anxiety (AD) makes leaving him at home impossible. It’s great to know I can still be included in fun days out when friends and family visit!
Woody, prefers the otters over the penguins so we have to make sure we visit their enclosure too. The otters are a short 5-10 minute walk from the penguins and the route forms part of the larger woodland walk. Woody’s visited them once before, with our foster dog Storm (who loved the penguins just as much as Hen!) Unfortunately this time the otters were snoozing in their den. What better way to spend a warm afternoon!
It was soon time to wander back up to the car. It’s a short walk back to the gift shop and exit, however there’s a Safari Bus that will take you up the hill if you prefer. It’s perfect for those with young children, or find walking a challenge. Woody, Hen and I thoroughly enjoyed our trip to the Cornish Seal Sanctuary. I’m really impressed with how dog friendly it is! There must have been at least 20 other dogs around when we visited, all happily exploring with their owners. We will definitely be returning throughout the year!
Have you visited the Cornish Seal Sanctuary in Gweek before? What do you think about attractions being both family and dog friendly?
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