Daddy Ducklings Dream come true
Croxteth Park Farm is a gem of an urban farm within one of Liverpool’s finest country parks. The farm has a multitude of rare breeds on show to the public with some fantastic staff to help guide you through your visit.
The farm is nestled behind a large children’s play area within the park and close to the main House. It is good value to visit at just £3.50 per adult, £2.70 per child or a tenner for a family of four. Our last visit was in July but we do go back every month as with the changing seasons there is always something different to see.
The farmers are amazingly helpful encouraging children and adults to interact with the animals — feeding, petting and indirectly learning. Over the last year we’ve fed the piglets, bottle-fed lambs, bottle fed calves, handfed goats, sheep and ponies. Most recently and the highlight for my husband has been holding a duckling. Farmer Liam showed us the incubator unit where he had personally hatched the eggs and displayed proudly that the ducklings thought he was their mamma!! Little Legs AND Daddy held a couple of ducklings and helped them across to their Olympic sized swimming pool for a little dip.
Little did I know that holding a duckling turns out to be one of THE best things that my husband has ever done in his life. Lets face it as a couple we haven’t done much in our lives…. We’ve had two beautiful babies born at home in almost perfect water births, an amazing Las Vegas Wedding, driving the West Coast of America, swimming with turtles in Maui, diving with sharks in Egypt, paragliding over the aqua sea in Cyprus, completing Tough Mudder for Roy Castle on my 40th birthday …. There are so many other things but holding a duckling was actually an unknown ambition he has had all of his life. This has been discussed with multiple work colleagues too… they all think it is an amazing achievement!
The farm itself has lots to offer and the animal feed is actually fresh vegetables in a carton! It almost looks good enough to eat fresh apple, carrot, grapes and lots of other veggies. This is a refreshing change to the dried feed we have seen in so many other farms where some can be given to some animals and not others… try explain that to an enthusiastic three year old!
We saw piglets running free in the farmyard stopping for little scratches and strokes along with the promise of food from the box. Little Legs was delighted when they had a wee in the middle of the floor! There were small goats also roaming free who were cheeky and friendly to all who would let them have a nibble. The calves were in the pen but so peaceful and pleasant to feed and pet. The other farmyard animals were welcoming especially for a bit of food — chickens, ducks, pigs, sheep, goats, ponies, cows and bulls.
There is a birds of prey area with numerous birds including a hawk, owl, falcon, on display on their perches. We didn’t get to see the birds of prey close up but there are numerous opportunities during the day to experience this. We did see the large owls in their enclosures — one is called Olaf so there’s an obvious attraction there!
There is an added benefit in the farm of a huge sandpit with lots of toys in for hiding as treasure. Little Legs made a new friend and they played treasure hunt burying the spades and moulds in the sand to then go and find them. The education centre had lost of sinks and hand wash to encourage folks to keep clean. It was a very warm day and the classroom offered a space to chill out in, read some books and take a break from the sun. It was a weekday when we visited but there are regular pony rides and a mini fair ground in the park that is also open of a weekend and during the summer holidays.
The farm café is welcoming with a good selection of cakes, sandwiches, drinks and fruit. We enjoyed a light snack before entering the farm — the dining room has large windows that open onto the farmyard so you’re not missing out on the action. The menu is also great value and boasts using local suppliers for the sourcing of ingredients. Best of all for our Littlest Legs is weaning and they have the Ikea Antilop highchairs suitable for even smaller babies once they can sit up. There’s also a large outdoor picnic area so no pressure to buy from the café — although food is great so would be shame not to try it at least once!
All in all the farm is an really great day out. You can easily spend half a day wandering around meeting all the animals and learning more about the different species. The wider offer from the park (which will be in a separate blog post) makes it a brilliant low cost full day out for all the family. The team there are fantastic and would be a struggle to beat from the various places we’ve ever visited.
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