We had been there half an hour or so on a windy day when we decided to feed our 5 month-old baby. Too windy outside, so went to the cafe to find it shut. Asked in the gift shop and were told it was closed for the day due to an electrical problem. No one offered to open it for us temporarily to feed tha baby. Had to do the feed in the open. Decided it was too windy & cold to stay. Discovered most of the staff sheltering in the ticket office on the way out. Asked to speak to the owner to tell them why we were leaving and that we didn't think it was right not to inform us that the cafe was closed when we first arrived. Discovered two things. 1. apparently the cafe is run by an external contractor and is "nothing to do with the farm" despite being a) the only place to sit indoors and b) right smack in the middle of the farm... and 2. the bloke who owns the place is an unbelievably rude arse with as much empathy as a plank of wood, who clearly hates his customers. If it was just him I suppose it wouldn't be so bad, but it shows in the attitude of the staff. So, we paid £20 for a thoroughly miserable hour. Not going back and wouldn't recommend it to anyone else either.
Monk Park Farm used to be a good day out with the family, unfortunately it has really gone down hill over the last couple of years. Faded signs greet you as you enter and the grounds are starting to look unkempt. In fact it seemed to have all he charm of a run down seaside resort. When we last visited (and it will be our last) many of the animals were in unlabeled pens or were totally missing. Many of the staff seem to posess an absolute lack of knowledge at best and were surly at worst. With so many good petting zoos and rare breed parks around I would give Monk Park Farm a miss and spend your money on something much better instead. You could support organisations that welcome their visitors. As a resident of Yorkshire I know there are many better things to do. For visitors to Yorkshire - check out other things.
I pass the signpost to this most days of the week when I go to work but haven't visited this to this year. We choose to visit this farm on the Easter Bank Holiday weekend as our young son loves animals and thought he would enjoy the trip.
What is there
There is a huge and varied collection of both Outdoor and Indoor Feeding Areas where you can see such as lambs, sheep, goats, calves, cattle, pigs, ponies, donkeys, horses, llamas, alpacas, wallabies, albino wallabies, deer, ducks, geese, hens, peacocks, rabbits and guinea pigs. The car park on arriving is basically a huge field. When you get there you walk down the field Which is on a hill to the ticket booth. Once you have purchased your ticket you can either head straight to the indoor petting area or follow the walk around the farm.
Where is it
The Farm Park Visitor Centre is located near Thirsk in North Yorkshire and is in the heart of Herriot Country and on the edge of the North York Moors National Park
Take the A170 out of Thirsk. After 3 miles turn right for Bagby, Balk and Kilburn. We are only half a mile along this road, on the left at the brow of the hill. Or, if you are on the A19 York road, take the turn for Bagby Village, turn left and drive half a mile to find us on the right.
Opening times and prices
2009 OPENING TIMES:
OPEN EVERY DAY FROM SATURDAY 14TH FEBRUARY 2009 UNTIL SUNDAY 1st NOVEMBER 2009 10.30AM - 5.30PM.
PRE-BOOKED SCHOOL VISITS FROM 10AM.
Children (2-16 years): £4-00
Senior Citizens: £4-00
Season Tickets Per Person: £22
At Monk Park Farm Visitor Centre and Farm Park there is a Tea Room, which serves a wide range of Hot and Cold Meals, with a selection of freshly home-made sandwiches, Cakes and Scones.
There is also refreshment hatch/ stall which sells Hot and Cold Drinks and Ice Cream and Lollies.
There is an outdoor picnic area if you want to take your own food.
On our trip we went just for the afternoon and didn't use any of these facilities.
There is toilets and changing facilities for babies.
On arriving we went straight to the indoor petting area my son was totally amazed at the animals. The indoor petting area is a large barns with several different penned off areas. He got the opportunity to stroke rabbits and guinea pigs in one area. We then moved on to the Pygmy goats we were actually allowed into the pen with about 15 goats and kids who were probably more curious about us than we were about them. My son enjoyed stroking these animals and the animals were very relaxed about a toddler patting and trying to stroke them. Also in the barn which you could stroke and touch were a donkey and foal several calves and lambs. Once you have petted the animals you are reminded to use the hand washing facilities and alcohol rub to clean your hands to reduce infection.
We then went for a walk around the farm there are multiple animals to see lots of rare breeds of goat, sheep and cows as well as the wallabies. My son was totally enthralled by it and kept making very excited noises. when we got to one of the ponds there was a black swan which he was totally fascinated by.
There is also the possibility of taking pony rides which we didn't do as he was to young for it.
Back at the main farm area there is ride on toys and a large sandpit for children to play in as well as several swings and other playground toys.
One of the highlights was the lamb feeding which was great fun to watch and take part in.
This is a great family day out and I was totally surprised how much there was actually there for you to see and do and we will be going back.