31 August 2007
We visited Almond Valley Children's Farm, Museum and Railway during our holiday at Craig Tara, Haven Caravan site, in Ayr Scotland. This was quite a long drive away from the site we stayed at. It was worthwhile, but there were alternative locations within a shorter distance (we visited another farm which was much closer to the site - ie. next door). The weather was not particularly good for our visit, but some of the attraction is indoors which helped.
The first thing is the museum. This has a number of different themes relating to the original buildings use as a mill, but also covering the environment and and science. Although I found the museum to be quite interesting it didn't really appeal to our daughter, and so most of this review is actually on the farm.
The farm is fairly small, and only has a few indoor rooms, but still manages to provide enough for interest. This includes some small pet type animals such as rabbits to a dairy where you can watch a cow being milked and see the new born baby chickens. There is also a larger barn elsewhere which houses some other animals including goats, sheep and a pony. There is a fairly large outdoor area including pens with the sheep in, a large duck pond area and other grazing animals. The staff around were very friendly and explained about the animals both during the milking of the cow and later when she was feeding some of the other animals.
The was a barn provided for those that had brought their own picnic food (which included us on this occasion), and a few vending machines with pop and sweets. There was also a small cafe, but we didn't use that. Baby changing was provided in the ladies, but not the gents, there was however a sign saying that there was additional baby changing in a disabled toilet elsewhere on the site. Access around the site was not a problem with most places accessible by pushchair, except for some parts of the mill, and the soft play area where they asked for pushchairs to be left outside if possible. We were able to leave the pushchair in a sheltered area. Although there wasn't much shelter for pushchairs I suspect the site in not particularly busy if the weather is bad anyway (it was certainly quiet on the day we went - but that was midweek before the start of the summer holidays).
The site had a bouncy castle (although we did not use it due to the weather) and an indoor soft play area with foam shapes and a ball pool.
There were tractor rides available, but we decided against going on that. We also didn't go on the narrow gauge railway that was there, although both these were reasonably priced.
There are better farms, there are better museums and there are better railways, but the fact that this site has all 3 makes it a good place for all the family as everyone should be able to find something they like.