Yesterday we went with our Stay and Play group to Pennywell Farm. It is the South West’s largest Farm Activity Park with lots to do including visiting the animals, going on rides and enjoying regular activities such as bottle feeding the lambs and milking the goats!
Our day started off disastrous! We loaded on to the coach and being the “cool kids” headed for the back (we wanted to sit together and it was a two by two aisle!) The Hubby sat by the window with Spike whilst I fussed over bags and Spud’s seat belt. We hadn’t even started moving when all of a sudden Spike started screaming in pain, we all exchanged confused looks and then I saw a wasp hovering behind the Hubby. I went in to panic mode! I’m allergic to wasps (not deadly but I swell up about 10 times the size) and had never had to deal with a child’s wasp sting let alone one in a 6 month old baby. I sort of span in a dazed circle whilst the Hubby tried to settle Spike. I gathered myself together enough to go and ask a friend if she knew what to put on stings and luckily she had some Waspeze at home and the coach driver said he would wait for her. That seemed to take his pain away and he soon fell asleep on me exhausted from all the tears.
We arrived at the Farm and headed in with our group where we were greeted by a couple of members of staff who handed out name badges for the children and leaflets with activity sheets and tickets for the rides. We were disappointed to discover that Spud wasn’t old enough for the Red Rocket or the Rabbit Run rides and also as he was under 3 couldn’t partake in the stamp collecting activity for free entry on his next visit. (We discovered afterwards that as an under 3 he gets free entry anyway!)
Firstly, we visited Pet’s Corner where the world famous miniature pigs reside. They were so adorable and extremely friendly coming up to everyone to say hello and just basking in the attention. We soon started exploring the main farm and found that the large animals are all super friendly as well. This was great for Spud because they weren’t all hiding away or keeping their backs to him He was very keen to touch the animals if they were smaller than him but needed reassurance for ones that were a bit bigger! You can buy feed from the shop when you enter the Farm so all the animals were hoping we had something yummy for them.
About 20 minutes after we arrived the bell rang and Egg collecting was announced. Spud had been talking about chickens since he had woken up so we thought it was probably something he would enjoy so went over to join in. He was given a bucket with straw in and we were led down to the coops. He was extremely excited to be that close to chickens and when he got hold of an egg placed it prudly into his bucket. Unfortunately for the egg this wasn’t its last Spud experience. He then decided to inspect it closer and gave it a good old shake (scrambled egg hehe) when he realised it didn’t do anything exciting he tried to give it back to the chicken that he took it from!
We handed the poor egg back to the farmer and went off to do some more exploring. As well as the animals there are lots of other fun activities to do. They have trampolines dotted throughout, which were a big hit with Spud, as well as Tractor ride on toys and play areas. The tractor toys were in the undercover play area which is a fantastic idea with Devon’s weather being the way it is. We got caught in a few showers whilst we were there but there were plenty of places to go without being bored in the process. We headed off to Noah’s Barn expecting more animals to discover a huge bouncy castle which as you can imagine excited our toddler to no end! After a good bounce on there and a snack at the picnic tables we heard the bell and announcement for Lamb feeding. I thought Spud would enjoy this (not to mention me!) so we headed off to try it out. The farmer gave us an introduction and asked the children that were waiting questions about lambs and also showed us how she made up the bottles. I really liked how educational the farm was. If it wasn’t informative talks it was the huge boards above all the animals covered in facts about each of them. They also had lots of signs up about specific animals with their names on and a bit about them. We were given a bottle and my gosh those Lambs were greedy! They certainly knew what was about to happen and our one nearly ran off with its bottle!
We stopped for lunch and although we took a picnic there was a Cafe, a coffee shop and an ice cream parlour to choose from which we noticed were reasonably priced. There was so much to do at Pennywell that it doesn’t leave you thinking you overpaid when you go home like a lot of days out do. Every half an hour there was a new activity and even if they don’t take your fancy there are so many play areas that the children are thoroughly entertained and worn out! Throughout the play areas they also offer rides that require coins like motorised safari cars, quad bikes and a rather large spinning duck. They offered pony rides for an extra charge of £3.50 which we gave a miss because we thought it was a little too expensive when we didn’t know if Spud would even stay on the pony! We did go on the Tractor ride which he loved because being a typical boy he loves everything with wheels. We also followed the Hubby into a willow maze which Spud found most confusing! Unfortunately it ends in the middle at a watch tower with extremely steep steps so the Hubby had to retrace his steps with the pushchair whilst Spud and I got to go over a bridge! Unfortunately we missed the falconry display and a ride on the Rainbow Railway due to timing issues but did manage to catch the puppet show.
Pennywell is open from February until October and has many events throughout the year. Starting with Lambs Galore and finishing with Halloween and during school holidays they have children’s entertainers every day in their theatre. They do offer Nativity Plays with the animals during December with a visit from Santa and his Reindeer, which require pre booking. Our group are going to the Christmas event but we are unsure due to the Hubby’s job if we are going to be going with them! It was an absolutely great day out (I had the start of Tonsillitis and still had an amazing time!) and excellent value for money! Ticket prices start from only £8.95 for a whole day out with up to 20 free activities so you certainly get a lot for your money.