As lockdown restrictions start to ease up and the weather begins to improve, many of us are itching to get outside.

With some zoos and safari parks re-opening this week, we want to make sure that people consider entertainment activities that don’t come at the cost of animal suffering. 

That’s why we’ve created a list of 10 things you can do in your free time that are good for you and the animals!

1. Go on a bike ride.

Explore new places AND get fit all at once: exploring your area by bike can be a whole different experience compared to walking. You can go further than you might normally go by foot and there’s nothing more thrilling and uplifting than whizzing down a hill. Cycling is also a wonderful low-impact exercise for strength and stamina that works out all major muscle groups.

2. Have a vegan picnic with friends or family (up to 6 people!).

What better way to enjoy a sunny day than to soak in that vitamin D whilst eating your favourite foods with your favourite people. Preparing food for others can be extremely rewarding, especially when you know that no animals were harmed in the process! Then sit back, relax and watch the clouds go by above you...

3. Go to a drive-in cinema.

The previously unembraced vehicle-attended cinema experience is going to be taking a hold of the UK this summer. Companies will be touring around the nation, using the COVID-19 pandemic as a chance to expand their popularity. Food will be able to be ordered through an app and delivered to your car. A new and unmissable experience! Keep an eye out for one coming near you.

4. Explore local wildlife in their natural habitat.

A much better experience than seeing animals in captivity, is to see them in the wild! Plus you might have a chance to see someone extra special... You might have heard that goats have taken over the streets of LLandudno, in Wales and fallow deer have been grazing in the middle of housing estates in London. This is a great moment to get out and see some more exciting and unusual species before the streets get busy again! 

5. Go outside and take photos of nature and find the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Tired of walking around the same park again and again? Capture a new perspective of nature by trying your hand at close-up shots of flora and insects. Patterns such as that of a tree bark, the wings of an insect, and a dandelion’s blowball make these perfect subjects.  

6. Identify and record as many plant and animal species you can see in your area.

With shrubs in bloom and plenty of young birds around, now is the best time to learn to record and identify the plants and animals you maybe never knew the name of. This is an especially good activity to do with children or with older people who can’t walk very far, as all you have to do is sit, watch and wait...

7. Go star-gazing alone or with somebody you love!

One of the best ways to get away from the daily monotony and stresses of life, is to go outside at night and look up at the sky. Seeing the stars and planets reminds you of how we are a part of something much bigger. Breathe, and….. relax!

8. Go on a hike and discover a new place near you.

Many people are saying that they have discovered new places around them as they would never usually explore so close to home. Have you discovered your nearby hidden place yet? Take that turning you never take, or walk back home the long way, natural beauty can be found in the most unexpected places!

9. Practice yoga or meditate outdoors.

While a hike has its benefits, practicing yoga, meditation or simply stretching outside can change that stagnant routine and lead to a deepened experience. The feeling of vitality and vigour is replenished when we are in contact with nature and this can improve your workout. Fresh air heightens breath awareness and helps to clear your mind, and it has been found that people who meditate outdoors have a lower concentration of the stress hormone cortisol. 

10. Take a trip to a nearby garden centre and buy some wildlife-friendly plants!

Studies have shown that gardening reduces stress more than any other exercise. In fact, getting your hands dirty may be better than we think: it is thought that inhaling M.vaccae, a bacteria found in soil, can increase levels of serotonin, making you happy, and reducing anxiety! And what better way to complement that than providing essential flower food for bees, butterflies and moths and making your garden beautiful and biodiverse!

Whatever new activities you chose to do, just make sure it is kind to animals and the planet. You'll feel great, have fun and be helping animals at the same time!

Read more on why you should boycott zoos and aquariums