It’s a Farm. A bit like Old McDonald’s Farm but with Meerkats! Smithills Open Farm is or was on a large estate in Bolton dominated by Smithills Hall. A well known hotel Smithills Coaching House was part of the estate but sadly this seems to be a housing estate now. The management has visited with a class from the school where she works and found it enjoyable and so persuaded me we should go. We arrived to a pretty full carpark but found a spot and joined the que of families with excited youngsters. £8 for adults. Bag of food extra and tractor rides £1.00. we didn’t buy any food as I’d just paid £8 to keep the animals fed, don’t cows and sheep eat grass? We did buy a tractor ride. In we went and the first thing we saw were a couple of ferrits who warned that they may bite. Then cows, surprise! The management loves cows but unless it’s a nice fillet minion or a rump, sirloin or rib eye I’m not over enammered. Why do they always look like they have a snotty nose?
There is a pets corner where lambs are bottle fed by children and they are also introduced to some of the other younger animals on the farm.
Some animals on the farm are not traditionally associated with a UK farm. Skunks, wallabies and Meerkats to name a few but they do add a bit of interest.
The Meerkats are funny creatures and it would be quite easy to start giving them funny voices and quirky characters a la Johnny Morris on TV when I was a kid.
The Wallaby was a white version, I have no idea if it’s supposed to be white of if it was an albino. Either way it spent all it’s time (while I was watching anyway) doing precisely nothing! That’s the life eh?
The tractor ride was very bouncy and Joanne is apparently the fastest tractor driver on the farm. We kind of hit lucky with our tractor ride, the first one was full so we got on the back of a ride for a group that had their own guide with them so we got the commentary as well. The tractor ride takes you up the hill to meet the Donkeys who are apparently always hungry. A bucket of bread is handed around for you to feed them, and yes they are hungry!
The view from the top of the hill is also pretty good.
It was quite a pleasant afternoon really and quite enjoyable if a little expensive for what it is. You can see similar at local community farms in Manchester for free.