Newest Review: ... lambs and the baby goats being fed, we set off to their pens. There were three pens and we stood watching them all starting to make noise... more
Have A Hoot at Hoo Farm
Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom (Shropshire)
Member Name: arnoldhenryrufus
Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom (Shropshire)
Advantages: A wonderful family day out with something for all ages
Disadvantages: Not brilliant for rainy days
It is not often that I stop writing one review to start writing another one, but I was so excited about our lovely day out with two of our grand-children that I had to put pen to paper and share it with you all.
Hoo Farm is a family run business and is run by Carolyn and Edwards Dorrell who have lived there since 1988. The farm itself is over 100yrs old and the Dorrell family have made it into an award winning family attraction. I remember when it was Hoo Farm Country Park and there selling Christmas trees, I admit I did take my children down when it first opened its doors to show some of the animals, but I wasn't impressed in those early days, but it has come a long way since then and has gone from strength to strength introducing lovely walks and many different animals that all appear happy and well cared for. It is now a place you can visit time and time again with your children/grandchildren who will not only enjoy the wonderful array of animals, insects, reptiles and birds, but there is an adventure playground where your children can enjoy.
We arrived not long after it had opened at 10am, so we were one of the first families to arrive that day. The first thing our 3 year old grandson noticed was the bouncy castle situated in the play area by the entrance; for the rest of our visit he must of said can we go on the bouncy castle now Nanny every 5 minutes; believe me that was a lot of times during the day.
Our first surprise was when we came to buy our tickets, because I had looked it up online to check and I told my hubby the family ticket would be £31.00. The lovely lady behind the counter kindly told us that it would be cheaper for us to purchase them separately at the moment and we got them for £26.00 saving us £5.00. I was very impressed with her honesty as I would have just paid and would have been no the wiser.
Although Hoo Farm is settled within 32 acres of woodland and paddocks, we didn't have to walk around all of it, although by the end of the visit my feet, legs and back felt like they had. We were given a little map of the Animal Kingdom, which had some instructions on the back and a colourful leaflet letting you know what's on offer here. It is wise to look at the chalk boards around the farm as it tells you what is going on and the times etc.
We looked at the boards and saw that at 11am they did the bottle feeding for the baby animals; they also do events like sheep racing or goat racing, but these were not on during our visit, maybe next time. Whilst we waited for the bottle feeding we had a little walk round, as we were early some of the doors were still locked, so we just wandered about. The grandchildren loved this big plastic cow which was life size complete with an udder filled with milky water, a bucket underneath and a milking stool. They had loads of fun milking the cow, so much fun that our grand-daughter asked to go again later on.
In between our grandson asking for the bouncy castle we managed to get him to see the calves and the sheep. Still having a bit of time to kill before the feeding we took hubby for a quick coffee in the tea room and we took five minutes for the children to have a little drink and a fairy cake which they bought with them. Hubby was extremely pleased with the prices saying that for his coffee, sausage roll and my coke it was very reasonably prices and not over priced like many tourist attractions. The ethos here is very family orientated meeting everyone's expectations and not breaking the bank.
Rushing hubby to finish his coffee so we could get to see the lambs and the baby goats being fed, we set off to their pens. There were three pens and we stood watching them all starting to make noises to show it was time for feeding, we were about 5 minutes early even after rushing, so we watched all the baby animals of different ages and sizes clambering over each other in their eagerness. Just gone 11am three lads appeared carry buckets of baby bottles ready for the feeds, they asked us to all move around a fenced area, which we did; they then opened the gates which we were leaning against a few minutes earlier to sort out the little ones.
As there were a few of us they gave one bottle to every two children so our two shared, then they opened the first pen of baby goats, there was a mini stampede as they rushed to the fences guided by the keepers to get to a bottle. Our grandchildren loved this and so did I to be honest, next was the slightly older lambs which were still bottle fed, they were funny and the children laughed at their antics as they wanted to be greedy; the final pen was very young lambs and goats, our grandchildren were very lucky as they managed to feed three animals on this visit, as there were not too many visitors today I think due to heavy rain last night and the threat of it today.
After all that excitement we trotted off to the shop to buy some animal feed, so we could feed some more; there are notices around the farm letting you know what you can and can't feed. I did buy three bags of food, but as we tried to give some to the chickens who were totally not interested whatsoever, there was a little girl whose mummy wanted her to have some, so I gave them our spare bag. We moved on and saw the Llama, the alpacas, the ostriches and then loads of hungry goats, the children and I loved feeding them, they were very greedy and the kids were laughing so hard as when I wasn't looking properly one of them grabbed the whole bag of food from my hand eating it all and the bag as well. All the food gone we washed our hands and looked at some more animals before moving onto another area. Be careful of the water pressure on these taps, it came out so fast splashing everywhere, but this only added to the excitement for the grandchildren so I really didn't mind, we just laughed it off.
Our grandson impatience for the bouncy castle was still very loud, but he just had to wait as there was more to explore and I was leaving the play area to last. We spotted some motorised cars on a little track which were £1.00 per go, so we put the grandchildren in one each, but our grandsons little legs were not quite long enough to reach the pedal comfortably (well he is only 3yrs old), so grandpa had to push him around the track. He soon got bored, because he wasn't able to control it himself so we popped into a couple of rooms to see the insects, tortoises, snakes, iguana's etc, then went to where they hens were and the baby chicks, which just so happened to be next to another little track with 3 wheel bikes on and go carts. The children both loved these bikes as they pedalled around the track and the bales of hay but there for obstacles. I did smile at our grandsons ingenuity when he got off one bike ran forward and jumped on around as it got hard to pedal.
We moved on and followed the Fairy Trail, this is a beautiful woodland walk, where they had set up little areas, to show you what a Badger Set would look like, a rabbit warren etc, they had a little fairy station with gnomes and fairies, it was very cute, mole homes and lots more; mainly you were fairy hunting and you would find them hiding everywhere. Our grand-daughter really enjoyed looking for the fairies. There was a sign as you entered the walk saying turn around three times when you see a fairy, but we missed the sign for some reason so we didn't do this; my friend at work told me about it after our visit, she mentioned how it made it even more fun for her daughter, who is a little older than my grand-daughter.
After this lovely walk we looked at parrots, owls, ducks, and foxes and more; they even have wallaby's. It was feeding time so you could see the foxes and the owls with small animals hanging out of their mouths, this didn't seem to bother the children one bit, I think it just added to the excitement of them seeing the animals up close.
After a quick visit to the toilets, which were clean and adequate, our grandson finally got his wish and we headed for the bouncy castle. Sadly when we got there it was still very wet from last night's heavy rain and it was closed, the sign said it would be open later in the afternoon and there is a small charge of 50p per turn (which lasts around 5mins I believe). There were other play things so he soon got distracted and went tearing around all the play area, on the swings, see-saw, the small merry-go-round thing; there were three large trampolines available and as one was empty they both had a go on this and loved every minute. In busy times you are limited to 5 mins at a time on these.
The play area like the rest of the animal kingdom catered for all ages, from babies right up to the older child, our two loved every minute and tried most of the items; we ended our visit with a lovely pony ride with we paid £3.00 for each child, they were kitted out with a riding hat and one of the staff walked around the circuit with a parent and the child on the pony. Our grandson especially enjoyed this and wanted to go round again.
The children were given some pocket money by their mom so we popped into the gift shop which was full of all the usual gift ideas relating to the animals and more children based gifts. They picked one item each a furry rabbit and a toy quad bike, their £2.50 each did not cover it, but nanny came to the rescue and made up the rest.
Another of the kid's favourites which I nearly forgot to mention was the chipmunks, which ran around the activities in their cage entertaining the children, who were positive that Alvin was in there with them, even naming some of them from the film.
It is well worth visiting here and taking your children/grand-children for a lovely day out; I know we will go again. Watch out of the events boards as they also do all kinds of races with some of the animals, you can even dig for gems. There is a play room for the older children which has a pool table, table tennis and air hockey etc. Santa also comes here at Christmas time along with his reindeer so we may be back later this year with the grand-children.
A fantastic day out and highly recommended.
~~2010 Prices ~~
Children under the age of 2 are Free
Family Ticket (which is 2 adults and 3 children) £31.00 (I can see where I went wrong now).
They do offer season tickets so that you can come as often as you want over the calendar year. They also cater for school trips and group visits if you want to make contact please take a look at their web site for these offers - www.hoofarm.com
~~Forthcoming events in 2010~~
Halloween - between 23rd October - 31st October they are open between 10am and 5pm and they feature the Haunted Manor, Forgotten Child, Deserted Bride and more. They have a Devils Derby Sheep Race and a fancy dress competition, a witch hunt and more to get the kids excited with some scary fun.
Christmas at Hoo Farm runs from Sat 27th November through to Christmas Eve - I have heard lots of wonderful things about Christmas here and I am really looking forward to visiting, they put on nativity plays with the animals as well, Santa has his own log cabin, you can see the bears in the factory and see the Santa school and walk through the enchanted forest, visit Santa ice castle, a very exciting visit for all.
They do advise to make advance bookings to see Father Christmas so that your children don't get disappointed.
March 20th - 12th September 2010
It is open every except for Mondays (apart from the Bank Holidays) from 10am to 6pm, last entry being at 5pm. They do not hold sheep racing on a Friday, something to note if you wish to see the event.
Autumn opening runs from Sept 16th - Oct 22nd 2010 and it is only open from Thurs to Sun from 10am - 5pm last entry being at 4pm, the sheep racing at this time of year is only on the weekends.
It is closed from the 1st - 26th November as it gets ready for Santa's arrival.
The address is
Hoo Farm Animal Kingdom and Christmas Tree Farm
Put HUMBER LANE for your Sat Nav reference.
Phone number is - 01952 677917
Fax - 01952 677944
Web site - www.hoofarm.com
Email - firstname.lastname@example.org
Directions from M54 motorway, get off at junction 6 and head toward the Princess Royal Hospital, you should pass Tesco's and the retail park which is clearly visible from the motorway island. Follow the hospital signs and then go straight over at the island for the hospital taking you the Shawbirch Island which has a petrol station on your left. Turn right here and Hoo Farm is signposted from here.
It still sells 1000's of Christmas trees every year which are all freshly dug and cut.
The Animal Kingdom is wheelchair and pushchair friendly; there are also disabled toilet facilities and baby changing station available.
There are specially designated areas for picnics; they do ask you not to eat around the animals and not to feed the animal's human food as it could make them ill.
There are hand washing stations dotted all over the farm reminding you to wash your hands after touching or feeding the animals (with specially provided animal feed, which you can buy from the shop at 50p a bag).
You see staff moving around all the time and they are only too happy to answer any questions you may have.
Disabled and coaches are parked near to the main entrance and there are a couple of large car parks a short walk away. These are quite rustic, as they have no tarmac.
There is not much more that I can say, other than this place is a must to visit and is great value for money. It cost me well over £70.00 to take us all to Sea World last month and this visit cost us just £26.00 and we had loads more fun and spent more time here. I really do highly recommend a visit if you live near, you certainly won't regret it. Our grandson enjoyed it so much he finally gave up on the bouncy castle (which didn't open before 2.30pm) and he fell asleep in the car very connected on the way home.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this.
Summary: A wonderful family day out with something for all ages
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