Norway: Langedrag Nature Park

Langedrag Nature Park is a magical place where humans can get up close and personal with animals and nature in the middle of beautiful Norwegian scenery. The park is located in Nesbyen, Norway (1,000 meters above sea level) which is two hours by car, or three by train from Oslo. People from all over Norway and Europe come to the park all year. Every week they are home to a new group of visiting school kids. Here you can meet wild wolves and listen to their howls, pet an arctic fox, feed a moose and reindeer, and even more fun activities.

Mountain lake scenery at Langundrag Nature Park

The view from the park

When to go:

The park is open the entire year, with every season offering new and exciting. adventures. Summer is the high season. During these two months the park has over 1,000 visitors every day. It is very busy, but the most activities are available. After summer the rest of the year is quiet. There is also a special off-season discount on tickets. We went on a weekday in September and were 6 of 10 visitors that day. It was wonderful. The park was quiet, and the leaves were beginning to turn a brilliant shade of yellow. We were able to participate in farm life, horseback ride in the mountains, and meet all the animals, who were clearly enjoying the chill air and sunshine. In the winter the park becomes a winter wonderland. Cross country skiing,followed by warming up with a delicious bowl of homemade stew , is popular.

Langundrag Nature Park

The park entrance

It’s best to arrive early so you don’t miss any thing.

Hours:
Naturepark: 10am-6pm all year
Cafe: 11am-5pm all year

Worried about the commute from Oslo? Overnight stay in a their lodge or cabins is available.

Prices: Click here to view the costs for entrance, special activities, and overnight stay  at the park (in Norwegian Kroner)

Daily programs (these change occasionally depending on the day and season):

  • 12-2pm : pony riding
  • 11-12:30 : Horseback riding tour
  • 12:00 : Moose feeding
  • 1:00pm-2:00pm : Voltige. Learn to balance on horseback
  • 2:00pm : Wolves and lynx feeding. Interact with arctic fox and reindeer.
  • 3:00pm-5:00pm : Pony riding
  • 3:30pm : Foxcamp, a 30 minute up close meeting with the arctic foxes inside the enclosure.
  • 3:30pm: Tour inside the wolf enclosure
  • 4:30pm: Tour inside the lynx enclosure
  • 3:30pm-5:00pm : Horsebackriding tour
  • 3:30pm-5:00pm : Zipline through the forest
  • 5:00pm : Goat milking

The activities listed in italics where all available on the day we were there, during the off-season. Some of them, including horseback riding and tours inside the enclose, have an added cost. Click here to view more activities that may not be listed above.

 

The park was founded as a farm in 1978, with the intention of creating a place where people can have a unique closeness with animals. They have 300 animals from 20 different species.

Langedrag is not a zoo. Many of the animals like the goats, horses, and occasional reindeer roam free out of enclosures. The lynx and wolves have enclosures so massive, they are still considered wild.

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Our day at the park was wonderful. When you enter, the first thing you see are twenty  goats and fifty rabbits  wandering around.

Then, we met the horses we were going to ride. The horses at the farm are a small Norwegian breed. Our instructor gave a five-minute lesson which involved patting our horse on the rump to make it trust us… learning a few commands, and then hopping on. The actual riding was only for an hour. We started out on trails and then on the “off-road” path, which involved crossing streams and other small obstacles. The landscape surrounding us was unbelievably beautiful. The trees were beginning to turn yellow, and a golden morning light was cast though the open space.

feeding moss to a reindeer at Langedrag nature park in Norway

Feeding the reindeer

Later in the day we went on a few tours to visit the wolves and lynx, and feed the moose, arctic fox, and reindeer. The man guiding the tours talked to us in English the entire time about all the animals and the history of the park.

Finally, it was time for the goats to be milked. The park is also a sustainable dairy farm. In the cafe you can try their homemade goat cheese. My sister’s and I unsuccessfully tried to milk a goat (it’s much harder than it looks). So instead, a nice lady, who works a the park, offered to squeeze goat milk into my mouth 🙂

All in all I would definitely recommend this park to families or anyone really. It was a great experience that we will not forget for a long time.

Happy travels xx -Iz

 

Foraging in Norway

Foraging in Norway, mushrooms in the forest

Foraging in Norway, Grass covered roofs of mountain cabins

On a warm Saturday morning, I woke up in one of the most magical places you can imagine. The sun rose slowly over the mountains, illuminating a thick blanket of fog and bringing light to our cozy Norwegian cabin.

The cabin had all the elements of a fairy tale cottage. From the wooden roof covered in grassy moss outside, and inside wool blankets and sheep skin draped on chairs for added warmth during cold norwegian winters.

After a lazy morning involving hot drinks, home cooked breakfast, and the warm glow of the fireplace we went outside to explore.

Foraging in Norway, A cozy wooden cabin in the fall

One of the most amazing parts of Norway is the appreciation Norwegians have for nature. Everyone and anyone is always out hiking, biking, walking, running, or even cross-country skiing on roller skates. Norwegians preserve their nature, and teach their children about its importance.

After only a few minutes of walking we came across a hilly slope, a creek, and a heap of blue berries to forage. What seems like such a simple thing was an amazing experience. Nowadays, even berry picking has been taken under the control of agriculture. You arrive at the farm and pick the berries. It’s ok, but there is something about the search that is so exciting. Being alone surrounded by trees and wildlife, stepping carefully over creeks, eating the berries right out of nature, and coming home with fingers and lips stained purple from the juices.

Foraging in Norway, wild blueberries in the mountains

After a while it is easy to get absorbed into the whole process. We spent hours collecting and eating as many berries as possible. At the end, I could barely feel my fingertips. It is the way our ancestors ate thousands of years ago; before agriculture, GMO’s, and supermarkets. 

Foraging in Norway, we made blueberry jam

We made jam

A week later we were lucky enough to be invited by our professional forager friends to go mushroom picking. They were very surprised when we told them that people don’t do this in the US. And it’s true, either everyone is too afraid to pick something and accidentally die, don’t know how, or don’t see the need to when there are mushrooms at the grocery store. Maybe a combination of the few. Occasionally my mom would pick mushrooms on hikes – but we were always afraid to actually eat them.

Foraging in Norway, mushrooms in the forest

The mushrooms we picked were no supermarket mushrooms. They tasted amazing, far better than any supermarket mushroom I’ve ever eaten. Again, we foraged for hours under the shade of giant green pines searching through leaves for a prize mushroom. Fall weather here has really been surprising us. It was very warm, with beams of sun peaking in between the branches of the trees. A perfect day for foraging. We learned a few tips and tricks as we went along, and had quite a few mushrooms between the eight of us in the end.

Foraging in Norway, girl stares at tall pine trees

I’ll finish this post with a quote about foraging from a book I recently finished and would definitely recommend to anyone who eats food or wants to learn about food, called The Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan

“I don’t want to have to forage every meal. Most people don’t want to learn to garden or hunt. But we can change the way we make and get our food so that it becomes food again—something that feeds our bodies and our souls. Imagine it: Every meal would connect us to the joy of living and the wonder of nature.”

 

as always happy travels xx -Izzy

 

PS: Here is a link to a cool video by Jessie Hoff of www.jessehoff.com also about foraging in Norway. Check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f-Ujr6e97mY.