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A great day out
Heads of Ayr Park Farm (Ayr)
Member Name: xmum2threex
Heads of Ayr Park Farm (Ayr)
Advantages: Lots to do
We are lucky to have this farm park right on our doorstep it is only around 8 miles away from us and so we have been a few times and find it to be a great day out. The site is open April to October 7 days a week from 10am-5pm.
There is plenty of parking but it is situated on what are essentially 2 large fields so if you go when it is busy you will be stuck at the very far end making it a 10 minute walk to the farm park. Also once we went after it had been raining the day before and it was so muddy we really should have took our wellingtons to make the walk to the farm park but I suppose this is all part of the fun.
They have an indoor area where there are a range of animals from rabbits to rats and there is a petting area where a member of staff has food for them. This is great although it is a little crowded and we found it really difficult to get around with a pushchair we would get grid locked until everyone had decided to move on and it was very stuffy in there. This area was nice and clean and the animals did looked well cared for although a little fed up there did not seem to be any limit to the amount of people able to pass through at one time which meant that over whelming numbers were in there and it was a little more like chaos then a leisurely stroll around looking at the animals we tried to get out as soon as possible just because of the sheer heat in there.
There was a lot to look at and my children enjoyed being up close and personal with the animals there was also hand washing facilities on the way out so we were able to was our hands before moving on to the next part of the park which I was pleased with.
Farm animals outdoors
To view these animals there is a long trail walk around the park with lots of twists and bends so you can take your time viewing the animals. There is also a short walk so if you have young children like we did I would suggest taking this route as it is still a fair walk so great to be out and about and getting some exercise with them but is not too tiring after all the other activities they will have been completing in the park.
There are a range of animals including
Ring-Tailed Lemurs, B&W Ruffed Lemurs, Squirrel Monkeys, Tortoises, Giant Rabbits, Dogs, Bactrian, Pygmy Goats, Donkeys, Wallabies, Fallow Deer, Asian Otters , Reindeer, Coatimundi, Zebu Cattle, Shetland Ponies, Meerkats, Alpacas, Llamas, Mangalitza Pigs, Skunks, Brazilian Tapir, Common Marmosets, Cotton-Top Tamarins, Red-Bellied Tamarins, Turkeys.
There are boards that tell you what animals are in each section and it also gives a few interesting facts about the animal great for teaching little ones about the animals as they walk around and explore. You can also purchase bags of food to feed to the animals although on the second animal we visited it actually stole the whole bag of food much to my children's delight.
The few times we have been some of the pens have been mislabelled so alpacas had a board with donkeys written on them that although was not confusing for my children as my eldest son is only just beginning to read independently for slightly older children they would find it confusing.
There are often empty areas that are supposed to have animals in them but for whatever reason they are not their which is a little disappointing but to be honest there is a wide range of animals anyway o it is easy to distract little one with something else. There is hand washing facilities located all around the farm area so you can be safe and wash your hands as many times as you like which I thought was a good idea rather than just having 1 area to clean up.
In door play
There is an inside play area filled with slides of different heights and also a small soft play area. Also there is an area where you shoot soft balls at the opponents at the other side of the target zone which can be great fun they do not hurt and provides lots of giggles. Unfortunately we did not spend much time in here either as we found like other in door areas they were overcrowded and just too warm there was hardly any space for little ones to play and the queues for the shoots were really so we favoured using the outdoor facilities. This is free part of the park's entrance fee and maybe why it is so popular as a lot of the outdoor activities you need to pay extra for.
Bumper Boats- These are £2 a boat which can fit 2 people in them and basically as the name suggests you go around and around bumping into other boats and of the sides of the circuit it is great fun but as it is 2 people per boat it and it is a rather short circuit it can be costly.
Water Wars- We did not use this as it is aimed at older children but you basically have a water fight with your family and friends at £1 for a bucket of water.
Quad Bikes- Again the age range for these were above my children but you pay to go around a circuit on a quad bikes they have some for 7-11 year olds and then some aimed at the older market and adults too it looked good fun and when my children are older I am sure we will take advantage.
Jumping Pillows- These were the highlight of the park for my children (and me) they are basically huge trampolines that you jump on and get thrown all over the place especially if someone is bouncing next to you there are 2 or 3 of these set around the park and although they get rather busy they are large enough to hold a great amount of people. It does worry me a little as there is no safety net and you do get sent flying as scary as my children are younger but they are not a great height and the areas around them are covered in sand to create a soft landing. The best part is they are included in the price you pay to get in.
Activity Tower - This is a large climbing frame area great for children to climb to the top climbing over obstacles and then coming down the chute again these are free and great simple fun.
Trampolines- There is a trampoline area in the middle of the park it has around 6 trampolines that are huge and maybe around 15 ft but there are no safety enclosures which really did frighten me as the trampolines tended to be overcrowded and there was no limit to how many children climbed on. As this was on the grass it would have been a rather high and damaging fall if any of the children fell off but of course they are supposed to be under adult supervision at all times so it is the responsibility of the parents.
Quad and Barrel Ride - This is the younger version of the quad bikes you pay £1-50 for children aged 2-5 to sit in a trailer that is pulled around by a farmer so all the fun of a quad without the children being in any harm and at a much slower rate. My children loved this and it is a very long ride about 6-8 minutes to circle the whole field so you do get your money's worth.
Quacky Racers - My children were not interested in this but you pay a pound per duck (plastic of course) and then use a water pump to make them race across the pond it looks great fun but for children a little older than mine.
Giant Sand Pit- There is a large play area with climbing frames and shoots great for younger children around 3 - 6 years of age and around this is a large sand box. There are buckets and spades provided dotted around the area but again child and bucket ratio is very low so you are often not able to find one not in use and if you do you will find the younger children are approached by older children trying to take the bucket and spade away. I am not sure where these children's parents were or why they were not taught not to snatch but on all 3 visits I have had to stop my children's buckets being taken away from them( although we took our own ) but of course this is not the fault of the park itself.
Zip line - there is a huge slide that you have mats to slide down again to fast paced for my children and a huge zip line where the child sits in the tyre and slide down a large line my youngest son braved this the last time we went and had a brilliant time although the queue is always rather long for these so he did only have one go.
There is a large barn area that has a cafe in it this reminds me a little of a school cafeteria the way it is set out but they do have a large selection of foods from burgers to soup and there is choice for everyone. We have only eaten here once out of the three times we have been but the one time we did eat the food tasted fresh well prepared and at a reasonable price for a family attraction. The whole area was clean the staff were friendly and the service was very quick meaning this did not take up too much of our day. The queue was not too long but I think that is because everyone else has figured it was cheaper and nicer to take your own picnic to take advantage of the views and the take your own facilities around the park.
In the nicer weather they also have BBQ spots all around the park which is a little pricey but the food is nice all the same even if the smoke produced can annoy the children trying to play in the nearby park. There are also ice cream vendors situated all around the park where there is a large selection of ice creams and drinks.
Ticket prices and getting there
There is a bus that goes from Ayr to the farm park and as Craig Tara the haven holiday camp is a 5 minute walk up the road these run fairly often. It would be easier getting there by car as it is a few miles outside Ayr which is the nearest train station.
Adult - £10
Child/OAP/Concession/Carer - £8.50*
Family Ticket - 5 people (max. 2 adults) - £40
* Under 2's are FREE
Additional Charges are:
Adult quads (12 yrs + and min. height restriction 5ft) - £6
Child quads (7-11 yrs) - £5
Quad & barrel ride (max height 5' 6") - £1.50
Electric diggers, tractors and quads - £1
Bumper Boats - £2
Water Wars - £1 per bucket
Quacky Racers - £1 per duck
It is a great day out and you could easily spend a whole day there is lots to do for a great age range of children and although after all the extras it can be a costly day out it is great fun. You really do need a nice day to visit as it is situated on fields it is both very messy if you visit after it has been raining but also as it is right on the coast and you are a small stone's throw away from the beach it can get very chilly if the sun does not decide to show its face.
There is a fair amount of walking to get between each attraction and to walk around the whole farm so you will need a decent pair of shoes and I do feel it is most suited for younger children between 3-7 years purely because of the lack of activities for older children and babies.
I would suggest taking your own picnic there are benches dotted all round the park and when you take in to account the cost of getting in and all the extras you need to pay for spending £30-£40 more on food for a family of 5 just adds to the cost and knocks your bank balance when the lovely views the park offers along with the facilities to take your own food really there is no excuse.
All of the indoor areas are rather stuffy in my opinion but I think this is due to the fact there is no monitoring how many people enter at one time which can lead to them being over crowded especially in the schools holidays as the park is that busy. There are often queues for the activities but they are not too long.
We have been 3 times so far as it is right on our doorstep and the children really do love it there although it becomes boring for us the novelty never seems to wear off for them and they always find new things to do each time they go. As a lot of the activities are pay per go this means the bill does creep up while you are inside the park so I would take advantage of the whole day there if possible to get your money's worth. A good day out for a family with younger children we have been 3 times and my children would love to go again. We did not really come in to contact with many staff apart from entering the park and getting our wrist band and then at the cafe and animal food bag stall but they all seemed friendly enough.
I would recommend this park it is a fun day out and each time we go we find something new to do they have recently added a digger land section to the area which I am sure my children will love but as we have been so many times already we will leave it a while before our next visit.
Summary: A nice family day out