HUNDREDS of families basked in the glorious sunshine and helped staff at Newport Wetlands celebrate its birthday on Saturday.

The weather brought visitors out in droves with free buses from the city centre helping to swell the numbers to 700.

Centre manager Lorraine Leicester hailed the day as “a great success”, saying: “Families took part in various activities and helped us celebrate the fifth anniversary of the visitor centre.”

Youngsters such as Nia-Rose Evans, eight, from Cwmbran, were able to take nets and go collecting insects with them in the long grass.

Education officers such as Tara Okon from the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds were then on hand to inspect the nets and explain to youngsters what types of creepy crawlies they had found.

Other youngsters were able to go pond dipping or get binoculars out to look for birds. Osian, Luke and James Williams all got involved in this and among the animals they were able to see, was Big Bird – a puppet that was wandering around the wetlands.

There were also displays by Swan Rescue, the Bumble Bee Conservation Trust, City Wildlife and Newport Museum.

As the youngsters enjoyed the sunshine and had fun spotting and catching wildlife, many of the adults enjoyed the celebrations from the shade.

Inside the centre, the City of Newport Male Choir sang a number of songs, while deputy mayor, councillor Trevor Watkins was on hand to cut a birthday cake.