Despite living in a cottage on a working farm, when my grandchildren visit one of their favourite places to go to is Farmer Parr’s Animal World near Fleetwood in Lancashire – very close to the more well-known resort of Blackpool.
This attraction is open 7 days a week all year round; and whatever time of the year we go there is always something different to see.
JUST WHERE IS IT?
Farmer Parr’s is situated at the junction of Rossall Lane (B5409) and Fleetwood Road (B5268) on the road into Fleetwood – (FY7 8JP for Sat Nav directions) and is easily found with the adequate amount of brown leisure signs in the area.
If you wish to go by bus the number 14 bus stops right outside the door.
It is open 7 days a week, 10am - 5pm each day, with the last admission time being at 4:30pm.
WHEN IS IT OPEN?
As I said in the introduction, the farm is open 7 days a week all year round. It is open 10 am to 5 pm EVERY day – although in the winter months there may be less attractions (this is compensated by lower entrance prices at these times)
WHAT IS THE COST?
The cost of entrance to the farm is:
Children/senior citizens/concessions… £5.50
Family ticket… £20.00
Children under 2... Free
From the 1st November until the 1st March the price is £4 per person.
During the main season there are special activities like …Meet the Animals… Pony Rides ….Tractor Rides and an Animal Show… (One of which my wife saw me volunteered by my grandkids to have a rat on my head!!) Additional costs do occur for certain events, such as the tractor rides are £1.00 each and the pony rides are £2.00 each.
There are also ride on tractors and diggers for the children to play on at no extra cost plus a couple of reasonably priced coin operated attractions like the lovely little coin operated train for just £1– my little granddaughters favourite!!
JUST WHAT IS AT THE FARM?
Over the years I have visited many visitor farms around the country with both children and grandchildren, but I have to say that this one is really quite different.
Yes there are the normal array of farm animals to view – pigs, goats, horses, alpacas, geese, rabbits. giant tortoise etc. (including some rare breeds); these are housed both inside and out in undercover barns and twelve acres of paddocks and well maintained walkways
However what makes this farm unique to us is the little museum that is included in the admission price.
The museum – ‘Fylde Country Life Heritage Centre’ – occupies around 10.000 square feet in one of the large farm building. There are plenty of interesting exhibits which are set out in convincing scenes; these are rooms of houses over the years, shops, blacksmith, clog maker, office, dairy, and World Wars 1 and 2 exhibits. They are all very interesting. (Although I have to say it is quite depressing when museum exhibits resemble your childhood kitchen – makes you feel quite old!!) This little museum makes the visit to the farm so much more entertaining for visitors of all ages.
Farmer Parr’s works a lot with the charity ‘Autism Initiatives ‘ ; this charity run a little pottery studio - 'Paint-a-pot ‘where adults on The Autistic Spectrum help run the little studio were children are able, for a small fee, to paint their own pots to take home.
There is also plenty of scope for the children to run of some energy with a lovely outdoors playground and a new indoor play area with bouncy castle, ball pool, toys etc. – all inclusive of the entrance fee.
EATING AT THE FARM
While there are plenty of places to eat you own food – both indoors and out there is a small café where you can buy snacks, meals and drinks. 'Daisy Parr's Cafe' offers a good variety of economically priced food ranging from sandwiches, salads, omelettes etc. to full meals – the ‘Mega Farmhouse Breakfast ‘ at just £5.95 and offering 2 sausages, 2 bacon, 2 black pudding, 2 eggs, heaps of beans, mushrooms and tomatoes with fried bread + 2 toast is always a favourite with the men in our party!!
In the summer there is also a small refreshment bar in the play barn.
Whatever the season there is always some special event; starting at Easter with the Easter Holiday event where you can meet the 7ft tall 'Wobert the Wabbit' who likes to hand out chocolate and the Egg Hunt where children can find Easter Eggs around the farm by following some Easter themed questions! As well as special animal shows, lamb feeding, chicken and bunnies handling.
October brings along the Halloween Special where on top of the normal attraction for the same admission price there is on offer the ‘Cweepy Cottage and Terror Tunnel’, ‘The Demented Doctor’ and Werewolves, Scary Mike's Dicso and Spooky Stories, ‘Meet the owls, snakes, & rats’, a daily Fancy Dress Parade and Competition, spooky music and dancing competitions and a Halloween quiz. In June and July there are events to celebrate the birth of the farm’s newest pygmy goats and also a scarecrow festival – were groups or individuals can enter their own scarecrows.
But for us the highlight of the year is Christmas at Farmer Parr’s!! As a mum of 5 and nana of 11 I have visited many grottos over the years but I have to say Farmer Parr’s is by far the best and Christmas just wouldn’t be the same without it!! From late November right through to 3.30 pm Christmas Eve Santa (oh and he IS the real one – beard as well!) is at the farm! The admission price for Christmas 2014 was £4 per person (only babies under 1 year old have free admission at this time); this price includes all the normal farm attractions plus a free visit to Santa. There are photos and presents available but you are not harassed to get either – although both are excellent value – at £5 each you choose a good quality toy of choice and the lovely photograph with Santa is presented in a lovely frame. The barn is completely transformed into a beautiful winter wonderland complete with Nativity scene and donkeys but the star attraction is Santa’s special log cabin where Rudolph peeps through the window (and likes to nibble mum’s and nana’s hair!!). Children can send their letters to Santa there too.
What I love is the fact that Santa doesn’t rush your talk he spends as long as a child requires talking to them and he is completely charming! Beware though if you go at weekends close to Christmas – the queues can be very long – although Santa’s Elves do come along the queue handing out complimentary cups of tea or coffee!
There is also the opportunity to have breakfast with Santa – last year the price was £15 per child (adults free) This is held in the new barn between 9.15am - 10.30am and includes breakfast, a present, dancing and a party type theme – you can then stay on to look around the farm as normal.
SOME USEFUL INFORMATION
Most of the farm is paved and so it is not essential to wear wellington boots but they may be useful.
Dogs are not allowed on the farm site (apart from Guide Dogs) but they are only allowed in the picnic area just inside the entrance where they must be kept on leads.
Card payments by Visa, Mastercard, Switch & Maestro are accepted as well as cash; however there is a 50p charge for card payments of less than £12.
Each visitor is given a sticker on payment and so are allowed to come in and out during the day of your visit – simply show your sticker upon re-entry.
There is a large free car park.
You need at least half a day to make the most of your visit and last entry is half an hour before closing.
Most of the farm is easily accessible for wheelchairs, with plenty of paved walkways and there
are disabled toilet facilities on site.
The farm run animal therapy sessions for groups of individuals of all ages with disabilities.
James Parr & Deborah Parr T/A Farmer Parr's Animal World
Telephone: 01253 874389
Address: Rossall Lane, Fleetwood, Lancashire FY7 8JP
During the long school summer holidays I was given a family ticket to gain free entry to a place called Farmer Parrs Animal World, a place which I had never heard of at all. But, after a quick search online I soon realised that it was not the name of the latest Pixar movie, it is in fact a place where you can go to mingle with the animals usually seen on a farm, maybe gaining a little education as you go.
WHERE IS IT THEN..?
It is situated in Fleetwood, along the B5268, which is near the better known thriving tourist spot called Blackpool. The exact location for the farm is....
Farmer Parrs Animal World
If you put the postcode into your Sat Nav it may send you down a road called Sandy Lane, (it did for me). Luckily, before turning down this road, there is a sign for the Animal World directly in front of you which points to you in the right direction, sending you down the road leading to the car park of Farmer Parrs Animal World.
It is open 7 days a week, 10am - 5pm each day, with the last admission time being at 4:30pm.
** ENTRANCE COST...( to date)
Children/senior citizens/concessions... £5.00
Family ticket... £18.00
Children under 2... Free
** There are also timed events, mainly in the summer months, such as...
Meet the animals... 11:30
Tractor rides... 11:50, 1:00, 2:50 and 4:00, (an announcement is made before the times of each ride)
Animal show... 1:30
Pony rides... begin at 2:00.
Additional cost do occur for certain events, such as the tractor rides are £1.00 each and the pony rides are £2.00 each.
** WHAT'S THERE..?
It's not a zoo, and it's not called a zoo, it's a farm, so there are no wild animals like lions, tigers, Elephants and the like. The animals in the farm consist of your standard farm animals, such as...goats, sheep, chickens, pigs and more. There are also animals that aren't on your normal farm, such as Llamas, a snake, a big fat hairy spider and a few other lovely looking creatures.
The farm itself isn't the biggest, in fact, compared to some it is pretty small in fact, but it is crammed with some very cute little animals, and some funny looking ones too.
Apart from the animals on the farm, there's also a rather small, but well laid out little museum with exhibits such as World War 2 objects, old fashioned telephone systems, some rather old milk bottles, some rooms laid out in old fashioned ways and a lot more, all representing the passed and how people managed.
There's also a café which is situated next to the entrance gate, with ample room inside and several seats positioned around the outside, wiith the toilet facilities being near to the entrance of the museum.
And the disabled access is second to none with most, if not all, the farm open to wheel chairs without a struggle at all, although if there is a struggle the staff there are happy to help as they are the friendliest bunch of people I have met in a long time.
For health and safety reasons, and to stop you getting an upset stomach after stroking the animals, there are hand washing devices on almost every corner, with sinks on every other corner.
When we first got there it was just in time for one of the animal shows so we headed straight into the hall, where the show was being held, walking through the small but very well laid out museum. The show involved us, us being a group of visitors sitting in a few rows of chairs, listening to a man talk about the animals and the farm. Although the show did involve a lot of audience participation, which meant us singing along to a few songs such as Old McDonald had a farm, which was quite appropriate considering where we were.
The show lasted about twenty minutes and was aimed more towards the younger people in the crowd, gently introducing them to the ways of the animals in the farm.
As for the museum I mentioned, well, as I said, this was what I like to call compact and very well laid out. It is on two floors, sort of, with the second floor being a simple walkway around the edges of the building.
On the lower floor, there are many things scattered around the floor, although when I say scattered I should really say 'strategically positioned'. These items being a few vehicles, such as farm machinery, military equipment and others, which all seem to be in good condition as if ready for action.
There are also a few rooms from the passed, such as a Post Office, telephone exchange and even a prison cell.
Then, it's up the stairs and onto the walkway, with this second floor of several separate little rooms all containing different things from the passed, such as a women and her family in their house, a blacksmiths and even an outside toilet, with some of the rooms containing dodgy looking mannequins dressed accordingly, with each room having its own meaning.
Plus, in one room there's a lady with her back to you which, according to the book you can buy from the café, if she turned around would not be as 'pretty' as you would have hoped. Then, in another 'room' there's another rather surprise which, if you open the door, you'd wish you hadn't.
You can't go into the rooms but looking into them can give you a sense of actually being there.
Then it was out of the building and into the open air, heading through some open gates and into the fields and barns were the animals were. This is quite a good sized area with the paddocks allowing the few animals that walked around in them plenty of room to live.
In the barns there are the smaller animals, such as the cute and very friendly lambs, which had a tendency to bounce over to us for a bit of a tickle. Even the older goats were friendly, if a bit nibbly, especially a dark coloured one which was on its own in the corner of one of the barns. This goat seemed to be a little jealous as it watched people paying all that attention to the cute lambs and when we went over to it the goat seemed to go all giddy, like an over excited child in a sweet shop.
Each barn has several pens around the edges with a few animals in each, giving each animal ample room to move around. The animals looked quite happy and content, especially when they were being fed by the people walking around, the special animal feed can be bought from the café area so don't just feed them your prawn sandwiches and sausage rolls.
Then it was time to have a gentle wander around the fields which contained a few larger animals in separate paddocks, such as horses and a very fluffy Llama and more.
The area around the fields looks as though it is still under some form of construction so I'm guessing that the farm may get even bigger as time goes on, maybe.
There are many places to stop and enjoy the scenery, even though you are technically on the side of a busy road I managed to get the feel that I was actually in the middle of nowhere, enjoying the peace and quiet, that was until a lorry goes passed hooting it horn.
As for the value for money aspect, well, getting around the farm takes around 2-3 hours at a gentle stroll, if you take your time reading the information and taking in the gentleness of the place, although if you rush around you can be in and out with-in ten minutes I suppose. And take into account the time taken to have a picnic, or even a bite to eat in the café, (which we didn't do as we took our own food and drink), then you could stay here for a good 4 hours without getting bored. So a family ticket costing £18.00 for a 4 hour stop is not bad value at all, especially if you like looking at really cute and very friendly animals.
Also, for those people who like horse riding, there is a chance to have a ride around a paddock on one, which my eldest daughter, who loves horse riding, chose to do. Although she was a little disappointed as it only lasted about 2 minutes as the horse, with her on it, was led around the paddock, then back to the steps.
Although, at this point, I felt that this pony ride scenario was quite unprofessional and possible a little unsafe. Don't get me wrong, there were hats supplied, which was good, but with each person getting in the saddles there were no adjustments of the stirrups for a riders feet to slip into, This meant that the rider had to balance on the saddle, basically sitting as still as possible, one slip and they will fall off, with no hope of using their feet in the stirrups to push themselves back into position.
Maybe it was me just being a little over cautious but I felt that a few seconds to adjust the stirrups would make the riding experience a little more comfortable for the rider.
And also, another thing that slightly annoyed my daughter was the fact that I kept telling her to use the soap dispenser every time we passed one, and there are a lot screwed to almost every piece of wooden structure they could find.
In all, a pleasant day out for the family, especially the kids, as they can slightly interact with the animals, learning about how they act and being able to stroke them and feed them. Plus, the museum is a nice little extra as there is something in there too that will be enjoyable to everyone.
Try it if you're ever near Fleetwood, or finished spending your money in the Arcades of Blackpool, you'll love the cute little lambs.