Monday, 21 December 2015

Aldenham country park - farm and Santa visit - Oliver won!

Last month Oliver won a competition held on Aldenham country park facebook page to name one of their new pygmy goats. He obviously had to have something octonauts related and with much thought decided upon Tweak! So after asking me about 10 times per day if he had won... he had! Yay. 
The prize? A morning down on lower farm helping the farmer with the morning feed as well as meeting all the animals and as we took the prize before Christmas a visit to santa was thrown in too!!

So this morning, Grandma arrived at just gone 8am and we were actually ready to leave! (if you know me, you know I'm late so the idea of me getting myself and 2 children ready to leave the house by 8am -eeeeeeeeek?! But actually I managed it... and only because I had everything ready last night and laid out so all I needed to do was get dressed and have breakfast!)

We arrived at Aldenham country park about 8:50am so we had some time to get our wellies on, it was very muddy so I'm so glad we took them! Upon arrival we met Farmer Sophie who has been working at Aldenham country park since March, she seems to love it and knows the animals well. She was very kind to Oliver and got him involved lots.

wait for little me!
We started by following the farmer to the room where they keep all the animal feed, Oliver helped to scoop some into a bucket before setting off to feed the chickens. There's lots of chickens! All different types and as an adult you may think at first glance, that's a lot of chickens.... but look closer and let your children look because actually they're so different and Isabelle was even amazed by them. She was trying to have a little chat with them.

Before feeding the chickens Oliver had the very important job of going around and opening all their hutches to let them out.

One of the chickens hutches had some eggs in. Oliver made it very clear that he really likes eggs and they kindly gave us a box to take home and enjoy! You can buy their fresh free range eggs there. Fantastic for getting really fresh eggs and also teaching young children about where they come from.

Isabelle was so keen to join in, she kept patting her chest and saying meeee meeee me.

After the chickens it was time to let the ducks out for their breakfast too, they were ever so excited! and it was VERY VERY muddy in there. Grandma, myself and Isabelle struggled a bit in the sticky mud. Oliver went off to let the turkeys out for the day too.
Then it was back to get the goats food, Oliver was so excited about this bit as it meant he would soon meet Tweak - the pygmy goat that he named. She was so tiny and cute! He was allowed in to see the goats too, the normal goats were not fazed by him at all but the pygmy ones were a bit 'jumpy' and scared of him.
Time to feed the rest of lower farm!
Oliver then got the chance to hold some of the animals, firstly he wanted to hold a rat as he hadn't held one before. It was very soft, gently and wanted to explore. Apparently he is a fancy rat and his name is Bandit. He then had a chance to stroke a young Frizzle chicken and as a feather fell off her, Oliver has brought it home with him!
Oliver loved oreo the rabbit! Apparently all the rabbits have names after sweet treats, also a big cuddle with Teddy the guinea pig. Oliver then received a certificate which he now loves and wants to put in a frame in his room!
Isabelle loved touching the animals too and she was very gentle for a toddler which surprised me. I remember Oliver poking things a lot, she's so gentle and caring already.

Then it was onwards to SANTA! We couldn't wait to see Santa. We were booked in for 10am - I know right?! We done all of the above in an hour!
When you get to the play barn - where santa is located you meet a very cheerful Elf who will show you where to sign in onto the nice list. You'll also receive an elf passport with various things on to get checked off as you go. First stop - Santa ofcourse! it was very comfy with a sofa for the child to sit on next to santa and theres a Christmas tree, lots of presents, a sleigh, lots of Christmas lights. Oliver loved telling Santa all about what he had done so far, what he wanted for Christmas and the fact he's a bird watcher! Santa spent a decent amount of time talking to Oliver and tried his hardest to talk to Isabelle who just doesn't like Santa at the moment... she's terrified. Both children received a present from Santa which they were helped to pick with Santas helper.
After meeting Santa it was time to do some arts and crafts with Santa's elf. I have to say I'm impressed with this extra bit! Not many places would offer this too and I think it's a great little extra. Oliver really enjoyed it and for little ones who, also enjoyed it but not for as long there is some toys such as a slide and ride on tractor which were both very popular with little lady over the other side of the room so she was very happy to play with those whilst Oliver finished his Christmas card. The elf, helped Oliver lots even when he asked for help with spelling.
After the Christmas card, the next table had some pots on it - which I didn't get a photo of at the time! But its a small pot to be turned into reindeer food (You put it on your lawn at night and its all glittery, meaning the reindeer will see it and come to your house!) it was oats and glitter. Isabelle enjoyed making it as she didn't have any, Oliver has already made one at school so he made some for his cousin to have on Christmas eve at Grandma & Grandads house instead.

Onto the next table! Make your own Christmas Baubles! such a sweet idea but both children were keen to get back out to the animals and were getting hungry too so we took two to take home to create here instead! Elfs didn't mind at all.

We then popped to the car to get our lunch, we noticed the kiosk and really fancied a warm drink. I decided I really would like a hot chocolate so I asked the man what brand it was and he replied with it wont be one you've heard of but if you don't like it bring it back to me...... well I didn't have to because it was delicious! They even offer a childs hot chocolate - smaller and cooler, ideal for tiny people so we treated Oliver to one as well. Isabelle has a lot of allergies so usually theres nothing for her but today we got her some popcorn!! I was very impressed. She loved her first taste of popcorn.

After our lunch we went back in to see the rest of the farm, we had some bags of food given to us too some for the chickens and ducks again as well as some for the cows and pigs. Isabelle was scared of the cows and the bull but Oliver loved it.

We had a lovely morning at the farm, thank you so much Aldenham Country park!
 
Don't forget that its not just the farm, it's a whole day out! There's so many things there including 100 acre woods so if you're a winnie the pooh fan - you need to visit. There is the massive lake, which in nicer months is a lovely walk around with children, outside play areas and pony rides.

We will definitely be returning and we cannot wait to explore more of Aldenham country park!

If you're local I really recommend getting online and booking to see Santa! Go at 10am, it was so quiet and lovely the kids got loads of attention.

You can find out more including prices here - Aldenham country park

You can also like their facebook page to support this great place here - Facebook page

Mary-Kate, x

*please note all of these opinions are my own. Oliver won a prize and I decided to blog about it as we loved it there so much.*
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