Having grown up in Suffolk, my sister and I were lucky enough to have had a fantastic outdoorsy childhood. From visiting Eastern Farmpark, to Stickleback fishing down the Broads and walks around the Nacton Lairs…our mum took us everywhere along with our next door neighbour and her two boys.
I always said that if I was blessed with children, I would make sure they would experience the great outdoors and wildlife just as I did, as a child.
As the weather seemed fair on Easter Monday, we thought we’d take the dumpling on an outdoorsy trip. First stop – a farm! Jimmy’s Farm, no less.
Brief background; Jimmy Doherty is a good friend of Jamie Oliver – the well known TV Chef and when he first set up his farm, Jamie loaned Jimmy some money to help fund the farm.
Anywho, Jimmy’s Farm is located in Wherstead which is just outside of Ipswich, Suffolk and rather handily, just a 10 minute drive from my parents’ house.
My sis and I loaded up a little picnic for the dumpling and off we went.
We arrived at around 11am and having enjoyed a 40 minute power nap, dumpling woke up to find himself looking at some goats, who were rather hungry! Luckily we had bought some animal feed at the same time as paying for entry to the farm, so dumpling could watch us feed the goats (not appropriate to allow a near 10 month old to feed goats!).
The farm, as always, was very busy but there is so much room that you don’t feel as though you’re rammed in or queuing to see the animals.
By 11:30, we had seen the goats, ponies, alpacas, reindeer, meerkats and butterflies. There were still the raccoons, pigs, cows and sheep to see. Dumpling was very quiet as we walked around (Auntie Tracey carried him so he could see everything) and I could tell he was enjoying this new experience as he was taking it all in and looking all around him.
By 12pm it was dumpling’s lunchtime so, we headed to the picnic area for lunch. There are table-benches and a lovely lawn area for families to enjoy a picnic or if you’re feeling fancy, there are a couple of restaurants on site, serving produce reared on the farm itself.
There’s also a stall which sells homemade ice cream using milk produced by the cows on the farm.
For the older kidlets, there’s a sandpit and a jungle Jim as well as a huge bouncy balloon which was a big hit with most of the little ones.
The farm itself is vast, roomy and surprisingly fresh considering it’s a farm! It kept saying to my sister that, we are lucky to have somewhere like this pretty much on our doorstep.
Entry to the farm costs £6.50 and animal feed comes in bags for 50p or £1 for a large bag. Each animal ‘station’ has a signboard explaining what the animal is in both written form and sign language – another useful tool for people wishing to learn sign language or teach their children to sign.
After a munch, we went to see the goats again to give them the rest of the animal feed then headed back home as it was starting to get ridiculously busy. We obviously times our visit well! We bought dumpling a giraffe balloon, which lasted all of 30 minutes before I busted it trying to get it out the car…bad mummy!
After we got home, dumpling had a mammoth 2 and 1/2 hour nap! He was obviously knackered after all that fresh air, new sights and sounds.
I don’t think it’s ever too early to introduce children to new experiences, especially the outdoors. Dumpling probably won’t remember this experience but, every new experience and Sensory activity enables new brain cells to develop and that can only be a good thing, eh?
If you’re looking for a fun, outdoors activity which doesn’t cost much and is great for the whole family, then I’d definitely recommend Jimmy’s Farm! 🙂