I’ve been to Folly farm on several school trips when I was very young. I can remember that it involved a tractor ride sat on hay bales (lots of hay sticking up the leg of your shorts and itching and tickling), feeding bottles of milk to lambs (still miss this) and a few cows.
It has certainly changed a bit since then! Not only do they have the traditional farm animals, but there is a fantastic zoo! From chickens to emus, goats to lions, and cockroaches to penguins, it really does have it all.
On top of this there are plenty of different play areas, indoors and out. Several wooden adventure parks suitable for the older children, sand floored areas with sit on diggers, soft play frames for the toddlers, and variations of them all for all ages.
And if that wasn’t enough, there’s a vintage fairground too! A classic carousel and waltzers take centre stage in the indoor fair, surrounded by vintage rides suitable for all ages and rates of bravery. There’s also a beautiful Ferris wheel outdoors that gives a beautiful view of the whole farm. The rides are additional to the entry price, but are extremely reasonable, usually only 50p or a £1 per person, even the Ferris wheel.
We took G last year when he was only 4 months, and he did enjoy it, getting to look at the animals and nose about. But this years’ trip was so much better!
We got to explore the many play areas, and have a go on the big slide. There are hundreds of animals to see and shout to, including the beautiful lions. It was only disappointing that they didn’t roar back to him 😉
G loved watching the meerkats running around, especially the tiny baby ones. He was oohing and ahhing over the cute babies…well we all were!
It’s definitely not somewhere that you need to take kids to enjoy. We went with my parents, and although it was special to watch G trying to interact with the animals, we would have been able to enjoy the day out without having to take him. There was even a special ‘adult’ showing at the giraffe enclosure, however I’m not sure that was part of the official schedule!
The family was forced to spend the most time visiting my favourite animals. The beautiful and funny penguins. I could happily spend the entire day watching the penguins. Mr H and I were there to listen to the penguin talk, and watch feeding. My parents were walking around the outskirts whilst G had a bit of a nap.
Once he woke up we spent a good half an hour at least watching them waddling and sunbathing at the top. Then we took a walk down the penguin walk ramp (past the beautiful new flamingos!) to the viewing area, where you can watch them diving and swimming around. I, of course, absolutely loved watching them, but G did too! I think we both could have stayed there and watched. He was so excited when they were swimming right up to him at the glass. He even leant in and gave them kisses. My heart melted!
Usually we would take a picnic on day trips like this (I was particularly proud of the epic picnic we took to Alton Towers earlier this year) but as we were self catering that week anyway, we decided to treat ourselves to lunch at the farm. It was so reasonable!
We ate at the restaurant inside (next to the vintage fairground) although there was also a cafe and burger spot to choose from. The restaurant doesn’t have hundreds of choices, but what they have is very tasty! Between us we had pie and chips, fish and chips, curry and rice, and pasta Bolognese and there wasn’t a single complaint!
We had such a fantastic time, rounded off by a trip to the gift shop on the way out of course. We almost went for the boomerang ticket, a fantastic deal that means you can return half price, but there was so much planned already we knew we wouldn’t get the chance. You could easily do two or even more trips in one week and not get bored with it all! We’re were a little bit sad when we realised we wouldn’t be able to squeeze another visit in during our holiday, but knowing that the new members of the Folly farm family were not due to arrive until October, we reasoned that we’d need to make another trip later this year anyway. Not only will you be able to see lions, penguins, giraffes, as well as lots of farm animals up close, due to arrive in October are Rhinos!! We can’t wait to go back and say a big hello.
Folly farm is also on my list of places that we may take G to visit Father Christmas. Not decided yet, but it’s almost any excuse to plan another trip here!
I would really recommend this as a fantastic day out for all ages, and you certainly shouldn’t feel like you have to take children as I’d thought before, it really is suitable for all ages. And it is one of the cheapest day trip entry prices I’ve seen anywhere, especially when you consider everything that is included. It’s actually not much more than one of the big soft play centres in Cardiff, and they don’t have penguins! Even if you add on token prices for the fairground rides it really isn’t that much extra, and as they’re not really something that everyone will want to go use I think it’s fair that it’s an extra (a very small extra!).
Have you ever visited Folly Farm? What would be your favourite animals to visit?
Mrs H xxx
*Disclaimer: we were very kindly given entry to Folly Farm in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are honest and purely my own.