Wildlife Parks & City Farms

11 August 2011

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Goats, Mudchute Farm.Goats, Mudchute Farm.


For someone living in zone 2 of London we have an array of city farms on our doorstep. I think its so that urban children can grow up knowing what a pig looks likes before it gets on your plate. The recent introduction of the over-ground line has meant that links to Mudchute Farm (also has horse-riding) and Surrey Quays City Farm are now other options. I’ve yet to explore the children’s zoo at Crystal Palace but have seen that we can get there in 35 minutes.  As you can tell, I’m rather excited by the new train line.

Mudchute is very good for children’s parties as they’ll do a little bit of animal petting and I think the handlers are pretty clued up. My 5 year old was really excited to see a fully functioning stable there but was disappointed to learn that she couldn’t ride till she was 7. The catering is excellent, whoever makes the cakes knows what they’re doing and that’s really helpful if you’re planning a birthday party there.

Llama, Mudchute Farm

Delicious cakes at Mudchute Farm

I really liked the layout at Surrey Quays Farm, all small animals, but a good selection to pet and feed and they offer donkey rides to small children, which needless to say was really popular. They also do lots of lovely creative things like pottery and yoga and the catering is run by FRIZZANTE the same group at Hackney City Farm.

Recently I upped the ante on visiting the very large pigs and tired looking turkey at Hackney City Farm (although the food is fab) and went further afield to introduce my daughter to some more exotic creatures. Paradise Park in Hertfordshire – doesn’t quite live up to its name – but its a good introduction to some rather glamorous inhabitants.

My 3 year old saw a very large tiger having his tea, a couple of lions looking jolly pleased with themselves and a couple of cheetah, up close and personal. Its more than I can say for my 3 weeks on Safari in Africa. There are loads of non-exotic too, meerkats, dusty camels, zebra and monkeys. However, one might not be impressed by the size of the enclosures – they’re not massively large, but they’re well presented and the viewing stations are very much set out with younger children in mind.

I personally am not keen on the arcade slot machines and poor kiosk food. Though in fairness, there was a Starbucks to get a caffeine fix.

Paradise Park is clever in that it tries to do all things. There’s the animal enclosure on one side of the road and a play park on the other with a paddling pool, which was a godsend on the day we visited. I would however liked to have had a different layout – we had to walk pass the brightly coloured swings first, and then cross over the road to reach the main attraction. I couldn’t help feeling the animals were offered up as
sloppy seconds.

Post by our lovely guest blogger mustgetoutmore.

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