Normally Green Dragon is a bit outside of my cheap days out limit of £20 per family but, during January, you get FREE entry for one child per full paying adult which brings you down beneath the limit. I actually think that, even without the offer, Green Dragon offers really good value for money.
Smallest child is OBSESSED with animals at the moment, particularly birds and squirrels. Given the offer is on, we decided to take everyone to the farm this weekend. The first thing to point out, particularly in the winter, is that the farm is located in the middle of nowhere on a very flat site. It is windy and cold up there so make sure you wrap up warm so everyone stays happy.
There are several different areas to this site. As well as the farm animals (both inside and out) there is a pets corner (which is actually where the insects and reptiles live), soft play barn, walled garden, go-karts, really good outdoor playground, bouncing pillow, sand-pit, meadow and messy play barn. There are no additional costs for any of the activities. They also have a fantastic, brand new this year, wildlife zone. This is a large site and you can very easily spend a full day here, particularly in warmer weather.
Currently some of the animals are in their winter houses so there are a few less around and they tend to be hiding a bit more because they’re cold. They do have a good range of animals, including some that you wouldn’t necessarily expect; including a couple of Silver Foxes and Wallabies. Throughout the day they do talks and opportunities to meet / stroke various animals and of course you can buy food (50p per bag) to feed some of the animals with.
A highlight was absolutely the Wildlife Zone. This is still a work in progress, and a few of the aviaries are currently empty, but there are plans for these to be filled over the next few months. This is also where they hold their daily flying shows and where you can see the Red Squirrels and Wallabies being fed. We listened to the talk about Red Squirrels and Wallabies and it was fascinating. Despite it being quite chilly we all really enjoyed it.
When we have been before we also had the chance to meet and hold some of the reptiles. I didn’t get his name but the bloke who was there with us was amazing. He was so enthusiastic about the animals he cares for and was really engaging – he is a really asset to the farm. In general all of the staff that I’ve spoken to at Green Dragon have always been polite and helpful.
The other thing to mention is that it is really clean. You’d expect a farm to be pretty grubby but it really wasn’t. They have loos dotted around the site and even though they’re essentially posh porta-loos they were neat and tidy as well. The kids play area is well maintained and the cafe was regularly cleaned whilst we were there as well.
The soft play is relatively small but the kids loved it. They have a cool blacked out maze which I’ve not seen before. They also have a separate under 5’s section which has a ball pool, obstacles to clamber over and a platform to climb up.
The only slight downside to the entire day was the cafe. I will start by saying that this wasn’t my typical experience there. Previously we’d had very good, speedy service and found it to be good value for money. We went in about 11:45 and it seems we hit the lunchtime rush – our food didn’t arrive for over half and hour. They had run out of kids sandwiches for the lunchboxes so were making them to order, which meant the kids also had to wait 30 minutes for their sandwich. The bacon baguette was nice but for the amount we paid for it, I would have expected more than 2 rashers of bacon. Overall I was a bit disappointed, especially when compared to my previous experience. The chocolate cake was good, and nearly made up for the lack of bacon.
You’re not allowed to eat your own food in the cafe but they have picnic benches dotted around the site and there is a room that you can have your picnics in if the weather is bad.
Entry – Adult £9, Child £8. Until 31st January one child goes free for each full paying adult. Children under 2 go free.
Parking – plenty on-site, free
Toilets – on-site, dotted throughout the farm but mainly around the main barns. Lots of additional hand washing facilities.
Food – cafe on-site. Picnics allowed in certain areas.
Rating – 4 / 5 – we’ve been before and it’s probably my favourite open farm locally because it offers a good balance between facilities and price.