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The Odds are in...and the result is...
Odds Farm Park (Buckinghamshire)
Member Name: elfbwillow1
Odds Farm Park (Buckinghamshire)
Advantages: Lots of play areas
Disadvantages: Not much hands - on experience with the animals compared to other farms
Odds Farm Park
I will begin this review by telling you why most of the specific criteria are rated average rather than good or excellent as once they may have been rated higher. Perhaps an unusual way of beginning this review, usually it would be explained in the summery, yet I felt that it needed to be explained first as I don't want you to look at the specific ratings and turn away from the farm because is IS a good farm though it is lacking certain qualities which I have now found in other farm parks in and around the area.
This was one of the first farm parks I took my young daughter to and on first sight, I loved it, as did my daughter and the other children who came with us resulting in us going back many times before finding a couple of other farm parks and then I realised that Odds Farm Park was actually quite low in rating opposed to many others.
Please let me explain further...
Odds Farm Park is situated in High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire and easily accessible from the M40 and M4, both easily signposted, though if you miss a signpost you may get a little lost on some of the back roads! To see full directions from various different ways, go to Odds Farm Parks main website:
Once you arrive you will find adequate parking a short walk from the main entrance. It has never been full any of the times I have been which is a plus as there is no other parking around the close area. Parking is completely FREE.
The farm is open seven days a week at 10.00am daily and closes at 5.30pm throughout the year except for the period of winter between November 2nd - February 12th when it shuts an hour earlier. Please note that it is also shut Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Years Day though that is it!
Admission prices are average for this kind of day out with adults paying £8.50 and children 7.50 with children under two going free. Yes, around this area this is average prices, though I would say perhaps a little expensive in the main. The older generation go in for the same as children and anyone with special needs go in for £4.00 only. There are discounts for all members of a group over 15 plus people. The annual ticket prices are just under £50.00 for adults, just under £44 for children and the older generation and those with special needs just under £24.
The season ticket would work out value for money as long as you went enough, and it would also enable you to pop there for a couple of hours only if you wished and lived close enough so perhaps something to keep in mind, though I would suggest go to the farm at least once before making that decision and visit other farms to make sure you are spending your money at the one you think best.
Now I have covered the basics let me take you for a walk around the farm.
You are greeted by staff that are polite enough though I have come across a few at the desk which you just know they want to be somewhere else. As you only really see the staff at the entrance and in the shops, though, if the staff are having a bad day then at least you can safely say that the animals will make you feel welcome!
One of the first things you will see is both an indoor and outdoor play area which you will find the children suddenly forget about the animals and only want to spend their time in the play areas. A lot of money for a trip to the park!
The play parks themselves are not overly big though very inviting to those of most ages there are two outside and one inside), and not only these, they also have crazy golf, tractors (both ride-on's, stationary actual tractors and a tractor and trailer ride and go-karts and a straw bale climbing area inside.
Further down the other end of the farm there is a average sized maze which did not take my brother very long to get around (I didn't go in as I had a buggy) and right next to that is an area they call a fitness trail which literally is a a few wooden obsticals in a circle for children to climb around.
So if you can drag your children away from the play parks what next? Ah yes, you are at a farm so there should be animals...shouldn't there?
Well, yes, of course there are though they are either right down the other end of the farm or in dry days all bunched up in the barn inside by the entrance and to be honest there is never that many animals, not compared to the other farms I have been to. My daughter who is nearly two years of age still loves it, though my sister and brother who are 5 and 7 get bored very quickly as once you have spent twenty minutes looking at the animals there is nothing much else to do. There are occasionally daily events though this is weather and season dependent. (I will cover these below).
You will also find a small race track with sheep racing daily (weather permitting) which really is the highlight of the day, though no real excitement you get from sheep racing at other farms. The children can bet on the winning sheep for free.
As mentioned above, there are not a huge amount of animals though my daughter loved seeing the animals that were there. This is the point that really made me think about what I actually thought about this farm after I went to a couple of other farms that offered real hands on experiences with the animals which my daughter and other children adore, though here there isn't really any of that which is really disappointing. The review I wrote just before this one is on another park in the area which you will see the huge difference in this area and perhaps see why I am not rating this farm excellent (though many might disagree with me)
The following animals are at this park;
Apparently there are some rare breeds of chicken and birds here at the farm, though to be honest chickens do not do much for me, or for my daughter and other children who came with us. Yes, they enjoy throwing the food at them to eat (or I think perhaps to see who could hit them on the head was the view of some of the children there!) but then those couple of minutes are over and the children are bored once again. One thing that is a plus (as I try to see a plus wherever I can) is that they do have a few different breeds of chicken with lovely colorings which look lovely together (ok, that's the best plus I can think of with chickens I am afraid!!)
Onto the bigger animals which are more appealing to the children. The cows are right at the other end of the farm and there are not really many of them. They are right next to the far play area so at least you can have a melody of noises whilst your children once again play on the play area and ignore the animals!
There are quite a number of goats and most are quite friendly, allowing your children to feed them grass or goat food which can be brought at the entrance kiosk for a small fee. You are able to pet these animals as they do come up to the fences to you which the children love. And an interesting fact for you - two of their current goats appear in the new film Mamma Mia!
Well if you love sheep then do come to this park as they have more sheep than anything else it seems. On a good weather day they are outside in two areas either side of the farm though on a wet or overcast day they are all crammed into the barn outside in a small space which becomes very noisy and quite scary for the children at times (at least my nephew ran screaming when the staff member ran into the pens throwing their food troughs over scaring the sheep and in turn scaring a lot of young children. There was no warning for this)
There are on occasion horses at the arm though we seem to miss them a lot of the time (off riding somewhere perhaps!) and they are more ponies than horses, not that I am an expert by any means!
A few pigs in a couple of pens though again, not many.
RABBITS AND GUINEA PIGS
There is a small area near the entrance where the children can go two at a time into the small pens to hold the rabbits. On a busy day there is little chance of being able to get into the pen to hold the rabbits which is a disappointment for the child. There are not many rabbits which is a shame as this is really the only petting area except for the friendly goats.
In certain times, there are some special events with extra hands-on experiences though these are all weather and season dependant and every time we have been there, we have never seen them happen. Please see below for more details.
BOTTLE FEED LAMBS
This occurs between February and May when the lambs are being born though we have been a couple of times during this time and the times were messed up or it did not occur at all as we did not get the chance to participate. Now of course, I can not give this a negative rating as I have been unable to see it for myself and they do say it does happen daily, though where was it on the days I was there - and we spent all day there...
Between January and June there are cow milking demonstrations in the demo barn which we did go in to see though it quickly bored the children and there was no real hands-on experience here like there is in other farms. You are allowed to go up and say hello to the cow after demonstration though that's as close as you get.
Between October and May they parade the goats around talking of their different breeds. Interesting perhaps for adults though most of the children get fidgety after a while.
In June if you are lucky to catch the day it happens you can watch the sheep being sheared though dates and times each year vary and can change and therefore we have never seen it.
PIG TEA TIME
Held throughout the year - watch the pigs eat! Now we know why we are called pigs when we eat a lot and fast!
Puppet World arrives at Odds Farm every weekend from October to December. With giant puppets, sing-alongs and themed stories, they're great fun and at no extra cost. Each month is a different themed show. We have not seen this here before though does sound great.
HALLOWEEN AND CHRISTMAS
These festive times bring a few extra events. Halloween you get to carve a pumpkin and follow a basic trail (witches trail) for a small treat (usually a small sweet). Pumpkin carving is only offered to those in fancy dress apparently which seems a little unfair to children whose parents did not know about it so please check beforehand and you do have to pay a small extra cost to cover the pumpkin for carving.
Santa also makes an appearance in December though again, an extra cost is required to see him and for a small gift.
There are ample toilets with baby changing and disabled facilities and generally not much queuing unless school parties are there. The indoor coffee shop is the usual expensive place and not overly big, with a small selection of mainly cold food though some hot food is served. We prefer to take picnics as it is much cheaper - that is of course if you can find seating that isn't on the ground. The ground, don't get me wrong, is fine in dry weather but this is England...! There really is not many tables and benches at all and most of the time in the warmer weather, you are hard pushed to find one at lunch time.
There are plenty of hand washing areas which is a must if the children want to touch the animals (which most of them you can't reach!)
You are able to book children's parties here and for either a whole morning or a whole afternoon - not the usual in and out job which is good (2.5 hours each). Parties are quite expensive though at just under £15 per child. Free admission for every 1 adult to 1 child. Children under two will be charged just under £10 if they are participating in full party package or free if they are not. Additional adults will be charged at £8 and for adults to be given a 'high tea' there is an extra £4.00 to pay for sandwiches, salad, cake and hot drink.
Prices are based on a booking of between 10 and 20 children.
The party package includes;
* hire of a fully decorated party room
* entrance to the farm park
* animal feed for the goats and sheep
* FREE admission for 1 adult for every child's place booked
* special Odds Farm Park party invites
* all the party food
* jolly party bags filled with goodies to take home
* animal masks for every child
* signed birthday card and badges for your guests
* complimentary tea and coffee
* FREE entry pass for 1 family visit
Food is included in the price and included are sandwiches, cheese and tomato pizza, crisps, cakes, sweets, ice cream, and squash.
After reading the opening to this review you probably thought that it was a lot worse than it sounds. To be honest it is a good farm though it is not by far the best farm park in the area. Personally I would rather go to one of the other farm parks for the money you pay as you see more animals and have much more hands on experience with the animals which children love. There seems also to be more play parks areas her than actual animal areas which is like paying to take your child to the park and seeing a couple of animals walk down the road. Alright, maybe a little exaggeration there though play areas opposed to animal areas - the play areas take over easy.
Would I recommend this farm park? Yes. It may surprise you for me to say that though I know a number of people who do like this farm a lot, though I also know more who have actually been to the others who don't tend to go back here. Take a look for yourself to make a judgment. Personally I would rather go to the better farm parks for the money.
Summary: Not the best around but well worth a visit
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