On Valentine’s Day this year a group of hardy families and volunteers braved the cold to go and explore Wildwood’s medieval animals!
The weather was bitter but the sun made up for the cold as we learnt about the different animals (“Squirrel!”) and had fun exploring some of the lesser known but weirdly wonderful facts about them! For example did you you know that reindeer make a special clicking sound with a tendon in their legs so that it is easier for them to follow each other in a snow storm? Amazing!
After a lovely walkabout we all piled back to the warmth of the education room where we enjoyed hot chocolate and lots of biscuits, followed by a bonkers quiz on the amazing ideas medieval people held about some of the animals we had seen. From trying to identify animals from medieval manuscript illuminations (seriously had that artist ever seen a badger?), to working out why medieval people thought owls flew backwards (“it was really dark” and “opticians hadn’t been invented yet” were my favourites).
We learned all sorts of strange things that medieval people had thought about the natural world, but also chatted about how they may have come to some of these conclusions, and realised that in a world without street lighting, glasses and cameras etc it was perfectly understandable that some mistakes might be made. Some of us even wondered if we’d be laughed at for our ideas in 500 years time when our descendants have better technology!
The quiz winners came away with the sponsorship of a wolf pack for the next year, and everyone else came away relieved that we now have David Attenborough and modern zoology to understand the natural world!