If your kids are growing up in a city like mine, in our case Toronto, you might have an urge to take them to a farm every time they argue that chicken fingers don’t contain meat. Once you get to the farm they may actually point out to you, that like they previously told you, chickens don’t actually have fingers.
The kids and I started visiting farms before they could walk. Here is a review of Whittamore’s Farm, one of the best in the Toronto area.
If you have visited the Toronto Zoo, you probably saw the signs directing you past the zoo to Whittamore’s Farm. Located in Markham, about a 40 minute drive from the downtown core, the farm seems like it should be hours away. I am always blown away when walking around at the difference a 40 minute drive can really make. Directions to the farm and tons of information about the farm are available on their website.
My kids are drawn to Whittamore’s Farm for their Fun Farm. The Fun Farm is open all summer and in the fall it is transformed into PumpkinLand. The fun farm is broken up into quite a few sections. Admission to the Fun Farm is only $8 but that being said some activities have an additional cost. Here are some of my favourites:
Maybe its just me but I don’t think you can call yourself a fun farm without at least a few animals. Whittamore’s Farm has done this section right. The animals are small and friendly and broken up into two sections. The first pen is mostly ducks, geese and chickens (without fingers). The second pen is made up mostly of goats and a delightful baby cow.
The animals are free to visit but bring a few quarters in case your children want to feed them. I visited the farm with 3 kids and put 3 quarters in the machine at once. This gave us way too much food. Start by using just 25 cents.
The baby goats are delightful as is the cow and they all like to lick. I can’t resist baby cow kisses but my son’s friend who was visiting didn’t think it was quite as cute as I did. Know your kids and be prepared. These animals have seen a lot of kids and they are extremely friendly. If your child is scared, let them sit back and watch for a minute. They will join in in no time.
Ask any kid what they love most at Whittamore’s Farm and its probably the numerous play structures and slides. From the big red slide at the top of a hill to the assorted climbers, there are numerous structures to climb up and slide down. Your kids can literally spend an entire day here just going up and down slides and we actually have. I shot this adorable video of Charlie who started off unsure about the big red slide but later in the day went down it at least 10 times in a row.
Bouncy Houses and Jumpers
What kid doesn’t want to jump in a bouncy house? Not mine. If I had allowed it, I am sure my kids would have spent at least half an hour bouncing in the giant inflatable farm. Depending on the season, Whittamore’s Farm has a selection of bouncy houses and inflatables. They also have giant corn and pumpkin jumpers which I am pretty sure I need to try for myself.
Whittamore’s Mining Co.
This is one of the only activities that will cost you extra but it is worth trying once or twice. I purchased on bag of gems for three children at the cost of $9.99 and it was more than enough. Cole, the mining expert, led us out with our giant big bag of mining rough (dirt) and explained the early pioneer mining practices to the kids. They were completely blown away when they used the sluice to sift through their dirt and find gems. The kids all brought their gems home and used them to decorate a fish tank. You can access a coupon here for $1 off your bag of mining rough.
So much more
Besides all these activities, there are tire playgrounds, multiple sandboxes, a cool puppet chicken show and even a really nice nature trail walk that my kids beg to go on. Bring a picnic or grab lunch at the outdoor canteen because you will probably want to stay more than a few hours.
Opening soon, Whittamore’s Farm offers pick-your-own hours daily in the summer. My kids love heading into the field to pick juicy strawberries and so far it looks like the strawberries will be ready to pick after June 25, 2014. Throughout the summer different parts of the fields open and kids can pick things like raspberries, green peas, snow peas, beans and potatoes. In the fall, you can pick your own pumpkins. Whittamore’s Farm has a great Crack of Dawn Report, you can check before heading out to the farm to see what’s available to be picked that day.
Before you leave don’t miss out on the farm shop which offers local Ontario produce, fresh baked pies made on site and artisanal olive oils to list only a few things. Whenever my kids tell our neighbours we just got back from Whittamore’s Farm the first question I get asked is: “Where is our pie?”.