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Finkley Down Farm Park (Andover)
Member Name: Karenwilson
Finkley Down Farm Park (Andover)
Date: 26/07/01, updated on 26/07/01 (1520 review reads)
Advantages: A good day out
Anyway not being able to move around the house I decide to take my two young terrors to Finkley Down Farm. Its only a couple of miles away from where I live and for the last few years I bought a season ticket so ended up going every week. This year however due to the Foot & Mouth crisis it was closed for some time so I decided to give the season ticket a miss this year.
** Where is Finkley Down Farm **
Finkley Down Farm is situated one and a half miles north of the A303 and two miles east of Andover, Hampshire. Once in Andover look out for the brown tourist signs.
** Opening Times **
The farm is closed through the winter months and opens again mid March to the end of October. However this year they have extended it until the 4 November 2001. The farm opening times are from 10.00am until 6.00pm. The last entry into the farm is 5.00pm, but to be honest you would be completely barmy paying out for just an hour, unless you do have the season ticket.
** Prices **
Senior Citizens £3.75
Children 2 years and above £3.25
Super Saver tickets
2x Adults and 2x Children £14.00
No season ticket prices are mentioned now, probably as it is late into the season. However it roughly cost me under £40.00 last year for my son and I to go in and Charlotte was free.
You can also buy feed for the animals at a price of 30p a bag and £1 a bucket.
** What has it to offer **
Shire horses, Mini tractors, Geese, Goats, Farmyard, Rabbit barn, Stables, Chipm
unks, Tea-room, Pigs, Touch and feel barn, Indoor play, barn of Bygones, Romany barn, Trampolines, Shepherds Hut, Donkeys, Toddler playground, Playground, Sand pit, Picnic area, Gift shop, Toilets, Aviary and llamas.
The farm can cater for the disabled and they also offer amenities for baby changing and feeding as well.
As you first enter the farm you are greeted with two large children’s play areas. One suitable for the younger children probably to the age of 5 and the other for 5 and above. The younger play area has a small picket fence around it, to keep the children in and stop them from wondering off and getting lost. In there you will find a roundabout, swings, small climbing frames, a trampoline and some good old space hoppers. The older playground is mostly one large climbing area, swing tyres, slides and a tyre slide that looks great fun. Too many people around for me to have a try but I may pop up there in the week sometime when everyone else is at work, so I can have a play!!
Once you have dragged your children away from the play areas and reminded them that the place is a farm and that we have really come to see the animals, groaning they finally oblige. The farm has a timetable showing daily activities, and you can always tell when they are about to start as when it is time for a certain activity they ring a large bell and you head off in search of the noise. Below I have listed the activities on offer, ( I felt incredibly sad doing this at the farm yesterday, stopping to buy a pen knowing that an opinion was looming.!!) Boy should I get a crown for commitment.!!
** Timetable **
10.30 Rodent handling ( Ignore bell, pretend to children that someone else is messing around.
11.0 Meet the chicks
11.30 Pony Grooming
12.0 Rabbit handling
1.0 Duck feeding and egg collecting
2.0 Meet the chicks (again)
3.00 More rabbit handling
handling (Gone home before then!)
4.30 Pony grooming and put them away for the evening.
6.0 Farm closes
** Meet the chicks”
This is my favourite activity, they are so cute and fluffy, to meet the chicks you all have to sit on a bench and the chicks are passed to you in small individual wicker baskets and in them is a lovely fluffy chick for you to stroke. Luke and I are happily stroking this cute chick, when my very young daughter lunges forward and tries to throttle the chick. We hastily give the chick back for its own safety and Charlotte is chuckling away (eighteen month old hooligan). Once the activity is over the staff come round and give all the children a sticker saying “ I held a chick”, nice touch although I think Charlotte should have had one that said “I attempted to murder a chick” !!
We didn’t go to the Pony grooming, as Luke was too busy on the mini tractors that we came across. The mini tractors and tricycles are in a large grassy area with a few straw bales scattered everywhere for them to drive around. Whilst here Luke is belting around the track in his digger while Charlotte is attempting to pedal a tricycle and not really getting anywhere, but she’s contented. Half an hour later boredom is creeping in for me and I sit down on a bench and decide to have a little snack. Kids being kids smell snacks, and rapidly drive their automobiles to where I am sitting. Earlier I had bought a handy picnic snack box from Tesco and the kids were dying to get their hands on them. Once fed we heard the familiar bell ringing and headed off in search of the rabbit handling.
** Rabbit handling **
You have to sit down on the wooden benches and have an off cut of carpet on your lap for the rabbits to sit on. Our rabbit was huge and was called “Scooter”. This experience was successful Charlotte patted the rabbit and too my surprise he seeme
d to like her.
Once the rabbit handling was over we finally had a proper look at all the animals at the farm. Obviously there are the usual animals, such as smelly pigs and could you believe it one was called Charlotte so that gave me and Luke a giggle, goats, horses, including Shire, donkeys, geese, ducks, chickens, rats, rabbits, guinea pigs and birds. Other unusual animals were chipmunks and llamas.
** Old MacDonald’s Farm **
This area is a scene set inside an old farmhouse with cob webbed mannequins. This part of the farm is boring for child and adult alike. However on the plus side there is an area where you can get in with the chickens.
** Duck feeding and egg collecting **
Luke loved this activity as he got to go around collecting up all the eggs. The children loved feeding the ducks and they were all pushing and shoving to get into the enclosures.
** Did you know **
Around the farm they had little wooden questions and the answers would be underneath. Here are some questions for you:-
How many stomachs does a cow have: - Four
What is a baby rabbit called: - Kitten
How heavy is a shire horse :- 1000KG
** Tea-room **
The tea-room is of a good size and offers endless sandwiches, rolls, cakes, crisps etc. I did not find the prices to over the top, a sandwich was priced around £1.50 and a large roll was £1.75.
The tea-room also caters for parties as well, these are priced at £6.50 per child but you do have to pay extra for a party bag at a cost of £1.50. I thought a party would be a good idea here but would probably not do one for my son as his birthday is usually just as the farm is opening and in March it rains more times than not.
After heading back to the playground for more fun, Luke goes off on to a big slide and at the top is a giant tree house. After several minutes up there with lots of other c
hildren I become concerned, as he has not come down the slide. I go over to the slide and ask him if he’s all right. “Go away Mummy back to your bench, I am playing with friends”. I head back to my bench a little hurt; my little lad is growing up too fast. Charlotte is flat out in her pushchair and has been for the last half an hour.
An hour has past and several beggings to my son, he comes down and agrees to go home. Well I said begging it was more of a blackmail, I said that if he came down now he could have something from the gift shop. He’s down in a flash giving me a list of what he wants, ice cream, a tractor, a pen, book etc. We settle for a huge pig pencil, Simpson ice-cream and a pink rabbit fridge magnet for Charlotte (she has a thing about them).
Five hours later and we are heading for home, I look in my rear view mirror and the children are flat out in the back of the car asleep. Peace at last.
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