This coming weekend the Festival of Nature begins and this year the free family event has a prehistoric twist!
Along with lots of nature-themed activities, a host of dinosaur fossils and skeletons will be making a special trip to Bristol as part of the two-week long event.
The free celebration of the natural world begins on Thursday 8th June and runs until Sunday 25th June, starting in Bristol on the Harbourside before it winds down the River Avon through Keynsham and into Bath, uncovering secret wildlife spots along the way.
The Bristol Dinosaur Project will be at the festival to tell the story of Bristol’s very own dinosaur, which was the fourth species of dinosaur to have ever been discovered.
Called Thecodontosaurus, or Theco, its remains were uncovered in a quarry in Durdham Down in 1834 and it offers an important insight into the evolution of early dinosaurs into giant plant-consuming creatures.
Bristol Zoo will also be at the festival with a wide range of hands-on dinosaur activities.
Bristol and Bath’s waterscapes are also an important feature of the Festival of Nature and visitors to the festival will be able to learn all about stories of the River Avon via a ‘cinema in a campervan’ which will follow the festival as it winds its way down the River Avon.
Fondly known as Lionel, the VW T25 campervan is decorated as an imaginary spaceship and festival-goers are invited to step on board and enjoy this unique cinema-going experience.
Savita Custead, chief executive at Bristol Natural History Consortium, which organises the festival, explains:
“The Festival of Nature is a fantastic opportunity for people of all ages to see our city and waterscapes in a different way and better understand the natural world which surrounds us. It’s about informing and educating, inspiring people to take action for nature and, most importantly, having fun.
“People can get practical ideas on how they can get more involved in looking after our region’s wildlife, whether that’s protecting water voles in Lawrence Weston or having their say on tackling air pollution in Bristol.
“There are so many interactive activities to take part in and we are particularly excited to be able to bring dinosaur exhibits to the festival which will attract any budding palaeontologists out there.”
Other festival highlights to have been confirmed is an appearance from the Bristol Astronomical Society who will have a range of specialist solar telescopes which allow people to safely view the sun on a clear day.
People may be able to see sun spots, dark patches that appear from time to time on the sun’s surface, and even small solar flares.
A project to promote the Severn Beach Line will also be there, showing visitors how this scenic railway line offers an easy way to get out of the city into nature. There will be family-friendly activities along the line and on the train itself to inspire everyone to get outside and explore.
The BBC Natural History Unit celebrates its 60th anniversary in 2017 and will be at the festival offering visitors the chance to try out camera equipment, meet wildlife presenters and find out about the history and technology changes in the industry.
The main Bristol celebration will be over the weekend of Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June at Bristol’s Harbourside, followed by a Keynsham event on Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th June before culminating in Bath for the festival finale on Saturday 24th and Sunday 25th June.
All events are free to enter, but some may require pre-booking so visit www.festivalofnature.org.uk for more information.