Saturday, 1 September 2012

Noah's Ark Zoo Farm

Today we visited Noah's Ark Zoo Farm for my birthday treat. We were lucky enough to be given tickets by Ian's work colleague who got them from an internet deal so it was a cheap day out for us! If we'd been paying, Ian and I would have been £12.50 each and Harry £9.50, which I do think is a little steep for a 2 year old.

The farm is run by creationists, which has always put me off going in the past (and I did consider buying Harry one of those 'evolution' t shirts for the occasion!) but seeing as we had the tickets as a gift I thought we'd give it a go. They have a huge variety of animals at the farm from the largest - the rhinos, to the liveliest - the gibbons and the smallest - tiny little chicks. The farm covers a vast area which is equally great for the animals and a little tiring for small legs.

When we arrived we headed straight to one of the main draws, the big cats. They have Bengal Tigers and also some lions. They were fast asleep both times we visited, but you were certainly able to get up close and personal with them - the paws of the tiger seemed massive just a few feet away separated only by a pane of glass. It was good for Harry to be able to get so close, as there was no need to try to point out the animals from miles off. Their enclosure is pretty large though so I guess if you went at a more active time you might not be able to get quite so close.

Another major draw was the giraffes, and once again we got nice and close to them - they truly are very beautiful and graceful creatures! If they are inside you can go into the giraffe house and walk around a walkway level with their heads - they were out enjoying the sun today, but I thought this was a great idea. Harry loved the giraffes - although he was a bit concerned. The mummy and daddy had a 'baby' giraffe like Archie, but he couldn't see a 'Harry' giraffe!

When it was nearing time for lunch, and Archie was asking for a feed (or should I say demanding), we camped down by one of the play areas. There was a 'termite mound' play area with tunnels and slides and also a combine harvester climbing frame which was a big hit with our vehicle mad toddler! Unfortunately, under the termite mound in a little house Harry had a rather unfortunate accident with a muddy puddle and came out completely covered - and rather distraught as he had been studiously trying to avoid mess the whole time he was playing. Luckily, I had read on the website that they have a splash zone so had a clean change of clothes in the car to solve the problem.

Although full of 'zoo' animals, there is a definite 'farm' feel. The location is in the midst of rural fields (when we were trying to point our the reindeer to Harry, he spotted a distant John Deere tractor in a field *sigh*) and there are regular tractor rides throughout the day for an additional cost. This was a big hit with Harry who tells me his favourite part of the day was the tractor he climbed on on the way out!

All in all we had a great time, although the price would have been a bit steep for us for half a day (we are a little constricted by nap time as Harry got tired in the early afternoon - and it doesn't open until 10.30). For older kids there is a lot more to do though, a massive play area inside and out - with zipwires, deathslides and so on - as well as a barn where you can swing on ropes hung from the rafters and have a soft landing in piles of straw. We also found that the walk twice around the animals (to see if the big cats had woken up) was a little far for Harry's legs, so he was certainly tired by the end of the day. I think, therefore, it's more an attraction for those with older ones who can use more of the facilities - it would be a good idea for the attraction to either not charge for under 5s or at least have two different price points for kids that reflects the amount they can participate.

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