Reviewed by Lee-Anne McCarthy
I was asked to visit Folly Farm so with my husband and animal loving twin toddlers, Finn and Alfie, come rain or shine we were going to check out the fun and games Folly Farm had to offer us. In true Welsh fashion it was a little rainy so we donned our wellies and raincoats and set out for a fantastic family day out.
When we were arrived it was clear that others like us hadn’t been put off by the weather. There is more than ample parking and the park had helpfully provided stewards to easily direct visitors and guide them to appropriate spaces. The car park is no distance from the park especially helpful for earlier walking little people. Even the overflow car park which is situated across a main road has been carefully considered as it too has a safe passage to the park in the form a tunnel that runs under the road. It is clear that Folly Farm has carefully considered the needs of its visitors. At the main entrance to the park there again were stewards directing the flow of visitor allowing for wait times to be very minimal. We were given on entrance wrist bands for our children so we could put our names and telephone numbers in case of them being lost in the crowd. Again a small gesture by the park that shows how much it cares about the entire visitor experience. We were also given a fantastic map and even when asked for a second for our other little boy there was no concern or trouble. My twin boys loved the fact they both got to see where they could visit and what they would do. We were to be bossed around all day by our rather demanding toddlers.
When we arrived the park had begun running its land train experience. Pulled by a tractor which was mesmerising for my boys the train carriages allow families to visit and enjoy a different part of the park. Our driver was extremely knowledgeable and helped us all including the adults identify some of the beautiful animals. We loved looking at the deer, pigs and lamas and getting to learn a little more about their behaviours and needs. The land train travels in a short circuit and lasts around 15 minutes. It really is worth the short queuing time to learn something a little new. As I said, we visited on a not so bright day and my only suggestion for the park would be to allocate some kind of towel or disposable item that could be used to dry the bench seating on particularly wet days. We were lucky and had a spare unused nappy which we used to have a nice dry bottom but we did see a few families leave the train a little more damp than us.
We then spent some time in farmer Glyn’s barn visiting his beautiful farm animals. Here were all sorts of animals from the horses to rats and bunny rabbits. We even got stroke a ferret. I’m not sure who was more nervous me or the twins but we did it. Throughout the day the farm offers children the opportunity to interact with some of the animals. There were other activities available in the barn like climbing frames, educational activities even face painting (at an additional charge).
Folly Farm has become far more than your average farm it has significantly developed and introduced a number of exotic zoo animals. The penguin enclosure is always a fantastic place to visit our little boys love the walk through and get to see the beautiful birds swimming beneath the surface, there is nothing more mesmerising or entertaining. The Giraffe Boardwalk is a place we always like to go. Everyone loves trying to get that silly selfie with a photo bombing giraffe in the background. The latest additions to the park are the lions. The enclosure is one that shows the park has as much concern for its animals as it does for its guests. It’s a large expanse that really gives the lions plenty of places to roam. The viewing windows are dotted around the enclosure and give the visitor a real opportunity to see the magnificent animals in their full glory. The farm is constantly expanding and developing and these exotic creatures are soon to be joined by some flamingos, we’ll definitely be back see these funny looking birds.
The park has a wealth of indoor and outdoor play areas. Outdoors there is a giant sand pit, climbing frames, swings and places to run, play and picnic. Unfortunately the weather didn’t allow use to fully utilise these facilities this time but we will definitely be back this summer for fun in the sun. Indoors there is a large climbing area for older children and a good sized soft play area for smaller people. Dotted around the play area are places to buy reasonably priced food, snacks and beverages. There are plenty of tables and chairs for people to relax while the children play or to use to indoor picnics in not so lovely weather. The area although vast is warmed through numerous heaters so more than comfortable for parents to have time to chill out and relax while little people run off some energy.
Indoor, the park also has a traditional fairground. There are rides suitable for big kids and small. These rides do come at an additional charge, however at 50p per small ride and £1 per larger ride is definitely a pocket money part of the park. Rides for toddlers include mini cars, traditional carousel and mini waltzers. Rides like the ghost train are more suitable for older customers. Throughout the park there are visitor toilets. Within the fairground area Folly Farm has provided an excellent family friendly changing and feeding facility. This is all newly refurbished and fantastically equipped to cater for young families even ones like mine with massive double buggies. The new facilities also boast the extra wide doors allowing double buggies to be easily manoeuvred in and out. All the visitor facilities are very well maintained and cleaned to a very high standard.
Folly Farm really does offer excellent value for money. It has facilities and attractions that suit all ages and abilities. Folly Farm gave us a fun pack day that we no doubt do all over again hopefully in the sunshine in a few months’ time. We give Folly Farm Park a fantastic 5/5.
Tickets cost from £9.95 to £10.95 (children under 2 are free).
For more information or to book tickets visit www.folly-farm.co.uk.
Folly Farm, Begelly, Kilgetty, Pembrokeshire, SA68 0XA | 01834 812731