23 Feb Marsh Farm Animal Adventure Park Review
We were lucky to be invited to visit Marsh Farm’s most recent event – Fairies and Dragons week. I wasn’t asked to write a review or even share about our experience, but we had such a great day that I felt I wanted to review it. As usual, the farm was decorated in the theme of the weekend and the various shows and activities were tailored to the theme too, there were lots of little fairy houses and doors dotted about and some amazing paintings that made for great photographs, such as this one of fire being breathed by a dragon.
We arrived at 11am and left at 3.30pm and we didn’t even have time to do half of what was on offer! We attended knight training, fairy training, a 3D cinema experience, dug for gems in the giant sandpit, completed a maze (after following a 2 year old’s directions, it took us longer than anticipated to escape!), played on a huge park, bounced on the bouncy pillows and giant inflatable slides, went on a carousel, had a ride on the teacups, met a dragon and a knight in person, did a woodland walk and of course, saw all of the animals.
My top tips for visiting the farm would be:
- Arrive as early as possible, get a programme and decide what you want to do and then make a plan so you don’t miss sessions by a few minutes. Some activities are on all day but some are only on for a limited time.
- Whether or not you take a picnic or buy food in the play barn (their chilli jacket potato is Oliver’s favourite meal in the whole world, apparently!), the food places and numerous benches get quite busy between 12.00pm – 1.30pm when everyone decides to eat lunch at the same time so I’d plan for an early or a late lunch to guarantee getting a table.
- Take spare socks. You need to remove your shoes to use the bouncy pillows and the giant inflatable slides, which meant that the children inevitably walked on damp sand and grass in just their socks. When it was time to put their shoes on their socks were filthy, damp and covered in sand and I wished I had packed spare socks for them.
- Arrive 5 minutes or so before the show or activity you want to do. I didn’t see anyone get turned away today, but in the past I have seen people arrive a few minutes late, after a show is at full capacity and be disappointed. On peak weekends and in school holidays they can get busy, and they are really good at starting exactly when they say they will, so to avoid disappointment I recommend arriving a few minutes early.
I’ve heard in the past that Marsh Farm gets bad press for having fewer animals than it used to have. I have been visiting this farm for almost 30 years; in fact I used to have a season ticket when I was Oliver’s age and I do remember when there was a whole barn dedicated to the pigs etc. I did used to like seeing the animals in their various stages of life and I can see why people think the animals have scaled down, but in my opinion what they now perhaps lack in terms of numbers of one species they more than make up for in range of animals that they have. Today we saw highland cows, sheep, goats, pigs, kune kune pigs, chickens, koi carp fish, ducks, llamas, alpacas, horses, guinea pigs, ferrets, mice, not to mention all the different varieties found in the aviary (we counted 9).
If we’d had more time we could have played mini golf, gone on a tractor and trailer ride, watched a magic show, groomed a pony, seen a lambing demonstration (or had Q&A with the farmer if no lambs were being born!), met and petted baby chicks, built a den in a dedicated area, ridden a pedal tractor, played in the soft play and walked an alpaca.
All of the staff that we came into contact with were friendly, enthusiastic and made a fuss of the children, which they all enjoyed. My one piece of constructive criticism is that I would like to see more displays about the animals, I did used to enjoy seeing the information boards around the farm when I was little. Oliver loves facts about animals and was asking me loads of questions, which I didn’t know the answers to, so having some information boards aimed at children would have made the day educational, as well as fun.
The next themed day is Mothering Sunday when Mums can get in for free, check out Marsh Farm’s website for more details.
I was gifted the tickets for today’s event; all opinions are my own. I wasn’t asked to write this review by Marsh Farm.