Farm Park Days Out: by Chelsea Mamma
Spring is almost sprung and I am already beginning to notice that the weather is turning milder and the days are lengthening once more.
Spring is the ideal time of year to get the kids out and about in the great outdoors, enjoying everything that mother nature has to offer and what better way to see nature at its finest than to visit your local farm park.
Pop on your wellies, pack a waterproof and go in search of local wildlife as nothing puts a spring in your step more than meeting adorable baby animals.
Urban or rural farms, there is often one nearby that can be found with a quick search on the here or at your local tourist information centre. Some working farms also have open days or organise farm tours as well.
We are lucky to have a few farm parks on our doorstep and all offer something different, from lambing weekends they have at Kingston Maurward where you get to see the cute lambs with their mums, to the chance to bottle feed kids and lambs, cuddle some cute baby bunnies or find joy in feeding the older animals that tickle your hands as they eat.
Once you are there, let the farm do all the hard work for you. Pick up a timetable of activities, follow their planned routes, buy a bag or two of food and let the kids run about and enjoy themselves.
Farms are educational playgrounds and whichever one we visit I always notice that they are a magical place for little eyes and hands. Children get to explore their surroundings safely, learn where their food comes from, expand their vocabulary and, best of all, get to run off excess energy clambering over giant hay stacks in the hay barn, running to see which animal is in the next paddock or playing in the playgrounds.
Many farm parks, like our family favourite, Farmer Palmers in Dorset, offer added extra's such as very bumpy tractor rides, the chance to hand feed their gorgeous red deer, see a cow being milked and a café where you get to enjoy home cooked meals made with the produce from the farm. A hot chocolate and a slice of freshly made cake always goes down well with my kids during a visit, especially if it is a bit chilly outside.
Another favourite is the Heavy Horse Centre in Hampshire where you can meet farm animals but also get a very special wagon ride. I am not sure that anything is quite as memorable as bumping along in the back of a wagon, pulled by a heavy horse dressed in all its finery.
My children have gone from being shy around animals to being the first in the queue to feed them or groom them and joining them jumping up and down shouting for their favourite piglet to win the pig race is a wonderful moment.
My top things to remember when visiting a farm is to practice good hand hygiene and wash your hands at the sinks provided after touching and feeding the animals. I also take a hand-gel and baby wipes too, just in case of any muddy puddle incidents.
What do you enjoy about taking the kids to your local farm?