As you all know, I do like my adventures and Sunday I managed to go on a small one to an Open Farm. I packed the car with the camera, buggy, wellies, sunhats, suncream, jackets (weather was changeable) and some lunch and we headed off to Ivan’s Farm. Honestly, I wasn’t really expecting very much as their website doesn’t give too much away and mostly concentrates on their meat but I can say I was honestly surprised.
I knew there was a Farm Shop and on their website it states there is an outdoor picnic area so I was delighted to see a cafe offering food and teas. Entry was €8 per adult, children under 2 were free and I have no idea how much children over 2 are. It was incredibly busy and you had to queue up in the really busy cafe to buy your tickets even though the farm shop was very quiet. Luckily a member of staff spotted us and sorted our tickets out fairly quickly.
Walking into the farm we were greeted with an indoor play area, an outdoor playground, a concrete basketball/football area, a mini crazy golf course and go carts. As T is only 18 months we didn’t get to try any of these and the play ground was a bit too busy with bigger kids so we avoided that.
I was completely bowled over by the animals that were listed on the map. It started with pygmy goats, emus, all kinds of ducks and pigs and that was in the first few hundred meters. We also spied a tractor pulling a horse drawn cart which you could take a spin on for an extra €1.50. Personally, I would have preferred actual draught horses but I guess that means extra staff and at least two extra animals and not as many trips around on a hot day.
Next we saw Kangaroos, one had a joey hanging out of her pouch, all housed with some determined bug hunting chickens. Up to the left was a path that led back to the entrance with several little housing areas full of all kinds of rabbits, guinea pigs and two Labrador puppies. There was a small gated area with a picnic bench and two large wooden boxes with two guinea pigs and two rabbits in each for rubbing and cuddling. The puppies were also able to wander in and out.
Right next to this area, were two lemurs and lots of different kinds of beautiful birds. The pathway was quite narrow though and there was lot of buggy battles going on.
We doubled back on the path again and continued up to the larger fields which were full of cows, sheep, llamas, pigs, ponies and even two ginormous camels. I have never seen a camel in real life before and I must say I was suitably impressed.
At each field were little hen houses with different types of hens and a room full of broiler chicks. I managed to sneak a cuddle with one and reassure him that I wouldn’t be eating him or any of his buddies.
Now for the science bit; from a mummy and toddler point of view! The paths were excellent, no need for wellies, not even on a wet day although the paths were steep at points and it was hard going pushing the buggy up them. There was plenty of space but the only busy part was the petting area and as mentioned above the paths were a tad narrow. There wasn’t any staff supervising the petting area which I was a tad disappointed with as I had to stop some kids from chasing the puppy for cuddles when all he wanted was a quiet corner to pooh in. The map which marked what animals were where didn’t match to the animals in the fields. I appreciate that animals and fields need to be rotated but I think some temporary signs would have done the trick. Also, and maybe this is me being a tad pedantic but some of the names of the animals were incorrectly spelled. For example ‘Road Island’ as opposed to ‘Rhode Island’ and ‘Guine Pigs’ as opposed to ‘Guinea Pigs’. I had a quick look in the farm shop and their fresh vegetables seemed reasonably priced. Unfortunately we didn’t get to sample anything in the cafe, will do next time! At the exit, they had sinks, soap and driers for everyone to wash their hands. And of course the most important thing decent baby changing facilities (I have been to places when T was about 6 months old that had no baby changing facilities but suggested I change her on the floor of the tiny cubicle!).
It would have been nice to maybe have a tour guide, as they did have some really interesting animals there or maybe certain times where a member of staff could bring in a cow or a pony or sheep to a holding area as mostly the animals in the field were too far away to get a good look at.
Over all, it was much better than I expected, reasonably priced and I will be going back as it’s so nice to find somewhere safe and spacious that T can run around and get plenty of fresh air.
*Apologies for the lack of names of the breeds/types/varities, again the signage wasn’t great. If you know any please please let me know!*