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Old Mr Palmer had a farm, ey ay ey ay o
Farmer Palmer's (Dorset)
Member Name: abbadabbado
Farmer Palmer's (Dorset)
Advantages: great for toddlers
Disadvantages: not a lot for the money
Having a toddler means we are starting to look around for days out and ways to entertain our daughter as well as having a family day out.
In the summer we went to Farmer Palmers, a farm park situated in Organford which is approximately five miles outside of Poole in Dorset.
The farm park is well signposted and fairly easy to find, however we did rely on the trusty sat nav to take us rather than look for sign posts.
The day we went it was overcast and drizzling on and off despite it being summer months. No surprise there then. We knew some of the attractions were undercover, but even so we went armed with wellingtons and rain coats just in case.
** First Impressions **
Driving into the car park up a long lane we saw ample car parking space which overflowed into a nearby field if needed. Obviously on the day we went there was no need for the extra spaces and we parked on the gravel area which made walking much easier in grotty weather.
There is a small area for dogs at the front of the park where you can leave your dogs in a pen with water etc whilst you visit the park. I haven't got a dog but I thought it was nice that it was taken into consideration.
The entrance is quite a small area and I think it holds a different impression of what you are going to see once you enter the shop / reception area. I was starting to think it was a dingy little place despite seeing all the photos on the web. Going inside however I realised it was just the way the door was placed.
** Entrance **
You can expect to pay £6.75 for each adult and child. Children are only free if they are under three years old. I can see why as there will be plenty of things for small children to do so I guess they can get away with charging.
Senior citizens are £5.75 and there is a slight discount if you are lucky enough to be a two point four family.
I thought the prices were reasonable as we walked in for our day out so all was good so far. The staff were friendly, and to be honest I think you would only work in an environment like this if you truly liked it. It just wouldn't work to be there just for the job.
** Attractions **
As we walked through the corridor after paying, armed with a list of feeding times etc, we happened straight upon the cow barn where milking was about to take place.
Inside the barn there are tiered seats for people to sit on and watch a cow being milked. We were given a short talk with questions and answers for the children whilst the cow was being milked, and there was an opportunity for children to touch the cow afterwards.
With the touching of animals taking place we noticed there was plenty of sinks with anti bacterial soap and hot water dotted around the whole park. The majority of the staff reminded us to take care and wash after handling as well.
Leaving the cow barn, we walked out into a large area with lots of things dotted around. We could see a straw filled barn with loads of slides and an area with ride on tractors and diggers all for the children to play on. Inside another barn was a bouncy castle and ball pit with smaller activities for small children.
A cafe and toilets were situated at the end of the large square, and opposite was a large open space under cover for feeding and petting more animals. Under cover inside this area were goats, pigs, cows and calves, lambs, guinea pigs and hens.
There were more animals outside in pens with an outdoor play area and go karting circuit. The obligatory tractor and trailer rides were also available at certain times. I was pleased to note that all the activities were free apart from the tractor rides which were £1 per person.
I'm not sure if my expectations were too high or the website marketed the website very well, but I was expecting more than we saw.
There was plenty of activities for our daughter to do and she had a fantastic time, but I felt that we dragged our time out to two hours in the farm and that included a long leisurely cup of tea and cake.
On a sunny day with lots of visitors would have given us a completely different experience. As it was so quiet due to the weather we obviously got more chance to pet the animals and spend more time actually looking at them as opposed to being pushed along the line as everyone tries to get their own look in.
There was chances to see the cows being milked, you could pet a guinea pig, watch pig racing and pet the lambs as well as bottle feeding them (depending on the season obviously).
This was plenty for my two year old and she thought the whole experience was brilliant. We managed to spend ages playing on the bouncy castle and ball pit which we had almost to ourselves. The ball pit was quite small and almost squeezed into a corner which was a shame as it made it dark and quite scary once you were inside it.
** Food / Cleanliness **
There were good food choices available in the restaurant and the prices were average compared to attractions in the area. I found a different soft play area inside the restaurant but this attracted older children so my daughter was too small to enjoy it properly.
The toilets were clean and there were baby change and places to park the push chairs which was good as when the majority of visitors have pushchairs then it can give off a cramped atmosphere.
** Overall **
We discussed as a family the price compared to the amount of things to do, but we quickly decided that my daughter thoroughly enjoyed it and that was all that mattered. I would happily pay the money again to see her have a brilliant time, but I would definitely choose to go during quieter times to get the most for my money.
Of course we were herded out through the gift shop as all other attractions. It was a small shop and the prices were actually fairly reasonable.
We will be going back again to make the most of the attraction before my daughter becomes too old for the park. Farmer Palmers suggest the park is for children under eight and I would agree with this, any older and I think they may become bored too quickly.
Farmer Palmers, Wareham Road, Organford, Poole, Dorset, BH16 6EU
Summary: a good day out in quieter times
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