Yesterday morning, the children and I met friends at Willows Activity Farm to celebrate Wriggly’s 2nd birthday a few days early. We opted for a day out with friends rather than going for a party. Although a large number of activities at Willows are based outdoors, there is always plenty to do indoors, so the rain did not deter us from getting together. We also learnt quite a few facts about sheep shearing during our visit.
The car park was surprisingly busy when we got there. I had assumed Willows would be quiet on a wet day, but there were hordes of children and mothers in waterproof coats and wellies already there.
The activity farm is so vast it never felt overcrowded and wherever we went we always had somewhere to sit, whether it be the undercover picnic area, cuddles with guinea pigs, soft play, the sheep shearing demo or pony grooming session.
When we got in, we were all quite cold and our 10 little people were keen to see some animals so we headed towards The Farmyard, where we saw horses, cows, donkeys, a cute bunch of piglets as well as Charlie and Lola, two cute kids (the baby goat type!). The children had a cuddling session with the guinea pigs.
I also had a turn and my friend Anna took this lovely photo.
All the children had a go on one of the funfair rides.
We then made our way to the Sheep Shearing Pen at noon. We all enjoyed the demonstration and learnt quite a lot.
Here are a few facts about sheep shearing
– Wool keeps you warm when it is cold and cool when it is hot!
– A sheep’s coat is called a fleece and it is made of wool.
– The grease in a sheep’s fleece, lanolin, is used for creams and lipstick.
– Wool is used to make clothes and carpets. An average bedroom carpet has the wool from 6 sheep.
– The fastest time to shear a sheep is 39.31 seconds.
– Sheep are shorn once a year when the weather warms up in late spring or early summer.
– The same technique is used all around the world to shear sheep. Although it was rather impressive to see the sheep held in place between the farmer’s legs, it made complete sense when he started shearing as it prevented the ewe from kicking him or hurting herself.
As the demonstration was drawing to an end, it started raining heavily and we all got soaked!
It was definitely time for lunch and there was plenty of space in the picnic area. We had houmous, carrot and cucumber batons, cocktail sausages, Pom Bears, water and lemonade.
Rather than making sandwiches ahead and risking throwing away half of them, I had bought small bread rolls, egg and mayo, coleslaw, crispy bacon and ham. Cé bought chips for everyone (they were gluten-free and safe for Jumpy!) and Loraine treated us to a hot drink. We were freezing so that was much needed!
We moved to Wooly Jumpers, the soft play area, for dessert. I had completely forgotten to bring a lighter so Wriggly had to pretend blowing the two candles on her chocolate cake.
We devoured the cake before moving on to strawberries and satsumas and as the children were desperate to run around and spend time together, we sent them free and had nice conversations ourselves.
We braved the bitter wind once again to play outdoors and walk around the farm again for a bit. Jumpy was disappointed about the bouncy castles being down, but a bit of tree house adventure and the Peter Rabbit Adventure Playground made her forget all about it.
During our stroll around the animal feeding area, Wriggly discovered the joy of jumping in muddy puddles. She had the time of her life!
We all had a wonderful day despite the rain and the cold (is it really June?) and Wriggly was spoilt! She now has a couple of cute swimming costumes, a princess pool, a Peppa Pig tea set and an impossibly cute pair of Cienta shoes. If you have not come across those shoes before, head over to my friend Anna’s website: they are perfect for summer!
What did you think about the facts about sheep shearing we shared?
Disclosure: My children and I were given free entry to Willows Activity Farm but all thoughts and photos are my own.