Isn’t it fantastic when your expectations of day out are blown out of the water, it’s not that I had low expectations of Folly Farm, but I just didn’t expect the whole family to have so many special moments and learning experiences, read on to find out why.
The Folly Farm Experience
Folly Farm is set in the rolling hills of the Pembrokeshire countryside, a stunning setting for both visitors and animals. From the moment we walked through the entrance the staff were welcoming and friendly.
The Farmers Barn
The first attraction we headed to was the Farmers Barn with a whole host of farm animals to stroke and interact with. The barn was set up like a working farm with the animals separated by pens, this allowed the kids to stroke and touch the animals and with rabbits and guinea pigs were brought out of their cages by the keepers to be stroked and petted.
The set up of the barn was perfect as between the pens were interactive activities and farm themed play equipment, so the kids could have a look at a goat or pig and then go and play on the tractor for 5 minutes this made the whole experience much calmer as the kids were able to see the animals at their own pace taking short breaks to play.
Also at each pen there was educational information helping the children to learn factual information about the animals. Of course the focus with the farm animals was demonstrating the connection with animal and the food we eat, which in today’s society is so important.
Regarding health and safety there were always staff visible keeping a watchful eye on the children and the animals. Plus there were small child size sinks for children to wash their hands after touching the animals.
After the farm animals we moved onto another indoor area that housed tropical fish, snakes and lizards, there were plenty of learning opportunities here too.
The girls loved the dinosaur room where they could uncover their very own fossil and even practice drawing some of the pre-historic creatures that walked the earth.
Then we moved on to the larger animals, our first stop was the Pride of Pembrokshire a family of 6 lions: mum, dad and four daughters.
Dad was the most magnificent male lion I had ever seen, with huge long mane of hair that hung down under his belly.
The pride had the most amazing big enclosure which still enabled us to get really close, but behind the safety of the fence or glass. We were lucky that day as something had caught the 4 daughters eye and they prowling up and down the fence line for 30 minutes this allowed us to see this magnificent creatures face to face.
Of course we would love to see this amazing creatures in the wild, however a trip to Africa with our daughters isn’t possible at the moment. However I believe showing our daughters these amazing animals in clean and big enclosures is the next best thing to start their appreciation of the natural world.
Just before lunch we headed to the giraffes, my all time favourite animal: they are so unusual in the shape and form and seem to glide when they walk. We enjoyed a really special moment on our own with giraffes up on the viewing platform which enabled us to get almost in touch distance.
Again being able to get so close to the animals allows the children to really appreciate them and goes a little further in teaching them about animals and why they need to be protected.
The White Rhino
After a quick picnic lunch overlooking the giraffes, we headed to other big African animal we had been look forward to seeing the White Rhino, and wow what a treat. This time we didn’t get them to see them up close, as they busy munching on the grass in huge open enclosure. I was so impressed at the useful educational information that was posted on the boards outside the Rhino’s inclosure, and the fight against poaching. Although this is a difficult subject to explain to a 4 and 3 year old.
I feel it’s so important that our children understand the big issues our natural world is facing, so in the future they become part of the solution.
Over the course of the day we saw so many animals, almost too many to mention, we were so impressed by the array of bigger animals, from reindeers, red panda, dromedary and even penguins which was a real surprise.
After we has visited the main animal enclosures we spent a lot of time at the kids adventure play ground, which was great fun for our girls, there was a huge pirate ship, the climbing frames were all made from wood and had wood chip on the floor.
Even though we were visiting in the autumn, we had has a wonderfully sunny day and spent most of our time outside. However even if you visit on a rainy day there is huge amount of activities inside the huge enclosed barns, the main one housing, two soft play areas and vintage fairground ride with arcade games and fast food restaurants.
The Soft Play
To end our day the girls had a quick play on the soft play, we didn’t have time for the fairground, but we definitely want to return and I for one want to have a go on the waltzers, bumper cars and the big wheel! NB the fairground rides and arcade are an additional cost you pay for tokens once inside, it works out about a £1 a ride.
Thinking Nomads Verdict
Overall this is fantastic day out for the whole family, the name Folly farm is a little deceiving as it so much more than a farm.
All the animal are exhibits are clean with big open enclosures, the educational information is fantastic and makes a great hands on learning experience for kids.
The facilities and services were all top notch clean and well maintained. I can’t really fault anything, only that one day isn’t enough, there is too much to see and do, so take advantage of the special offers and do a two day visit.
For more info visit the Folly Farm website