When the children were babies and toddlers, we frequented Odds Farm on a regular basis. Back then the main feature was most certainly the animals, with a few added extras including an outdoor play area, an hay bale stack to climb on and tractor rides. We visited so often, the farmers knew the kids by name and Lou was even featured on their short film, showing visitors how to safely feed the animals and remind them to wash their hands! It was the perfect place to spend a week day or (once K started school) a couple of hours after school. During this time, Odds Farm went through a huge amount of renovation, barns were were converted into a large indoor play area, the animals were treated to upgraded accommodation and the outdoor play areas were completely overhauled, increased and diversified. Obviously, prices went up following all this work and it no longer became affordable or worthwhile to buy everyone a yearly pass once all the children were in full time education, hence the fact that we haven’t been for a while. So, when I mentioned visiting Odds Farm again, for the day, they couldn’t wait!
We arrived just before the farm opened at 10am to make the most of our day. As it had just started to drizzle, we decided to start at the indoor play area which has to be one of the best in the area for kids of all ages! It’s kept spotlessly clean and is clearly defined into age appropriate sections with tables and chairs for parents to chill out while kids let off some steam! Experience has also taught us that this area becomes particularly busy around lunchtime and I have to admit to getting a little frustrated when whole tables are taken up with bags and coats and no people! Anyway, we were hoping to avoid the crowds by having a bit of play time before visiting the animals.
At around 11am, we headed for the animal barns and got there just as ‘Bunny Time’ was starting. A member of staff explained how to stroke them and how to behave around them as well as sharing some rabbit facts and questioning the children on their knowledge. Several bunnies were then released from their cages onto tables where the children could stroke them gently before they were reminded to wash their hands on exiting the barn.
Rather than leave, we stayed in the barn to see the other animals and feed the goats and sheep (animal food is available to purchase for £1/ bag at the main entrance). The goats are the ones to watch, they’ll take the paper bag out of your hand or nibble your bag if your back is turned! They’re in no way shy and always hungry- you’ve been warned!! So long as you feed them with a flat, gloveless hand, a little slobber is the worst that can happen and don’t forget to wash your hands when you’re done!
We pretty much planned the rest of our day around the scheduled daily activities the children wanted to do, buying lunch at the cafe in between. We bottle fed some baby goats in the barn, before heading to the cafe for lunch.
On days out like this, we would usually pack a picnic, however, due to time constraints and lack of food in the house, we opted to buy lunch this time. I’d say that it’s averagely priced for a place like this, at around £4 for a child’s hot meal, the portions are fairly generous and the quality was good. We had our own drinks and snacks which kept costs down a bit but you could spend a small fortune, if you bought everything throughout the day! Finding a table in the main cafe area was challenging but there are plenty of picnic tables just outside, if needed.
Next we headed off to the other end of the farm to feed the chickens and collect their eggs. Again, a member of staff organised the children, explaining what to do and how to do it, making sure everyone had the opportunity to collect an egg. Despite being pecked a few times, this was the highlight of the day for the younger ones!
On our way back through the farm, they explored the various play areas beginning with a fought-like climbing frame, moving onto sand pits, water play and other wooden play structures, not forgetting the old tractors which were a favourite from when we first visited the farm, so many years ago. They had a go on the go-carts and played on the ride-on toys, in fact, I had to keep encouraging them to move on to the next thing so that we didn’t run out of time!
The girls were more interested in trying to feed the animals in the fields with grass, while the boys played. We were lucky enough to meet a two week old donkey and a Shetland pony foal as well as more baby goats!
We finished our day with a tractor ride down to the fields at the far end of the farm to see some Highland cattle, dairy cows, more goats and sheep. Those Highland cattle looked menacing with their huge horns but they hardly seemed to notice us, passing through on the tractor!
We did fit a lot into our day but there were still things we didn’t manage to do and I’m sure they would have continued to play in any of the play areas, had we had the time! So, next time, we will head straight for the maze, schedule in a game of crazy golf, watch the sheep racing, brush the animals and feed the piggies before doing anything else!
If you do plan to visit Odds Farm, make sure children have socks to go into the indoor play areas and long sleeved tops and trousers to use the red and blue slides (children must be over 90cm for those slides).
With the school holidays coming up, where are you planning to take the kids? Do you have a children’s farm park near you?
Please note that this is not a sponsored post, we just had a great day and thought we’d share!!