If there is one attraction that is sure to go down well with children of any age it’s farm parks and animal attractions! Of course, the Hope Valley itself has a wide variety of wild animals roaming around such as otters, bats, badgers, water voles, buzzards, owls and many more, but they can be rather tricky to spot and children don’t normally have the patience to sit around in a hide for hours on end! So let us bring the animals to you with plenty of animal attractions in and around the Hope Valley that allow little ones to get up close and personal with some rather special animals.
Many of the farm parks are part of real working farms, so they give children the chance to find out what life is like on a rural farm. At certain times of the year they can even help feed the lambs, watch the cows being milked and ride on a tractor! For those children who live in towns or cities, visiting a real working farm can be a wonderful experience and a chance to get their hands dirty! Both Matlock Farm Park and Chatsworth Farmyard also have petting areas where children can stroke woolly sheep, cuddle rabbits and be snuffled by a pig. The farmer will often be on hand to explain about the various animals that live on the farm, what they eat and how they are cared for.
It’s a fairly cheap day out with most family tickets costing under £20. You can make a whole day of it and get the children nice and tired so you get a quiet evening to yourselves – that’s got to be worth it!
Other animal attractions include the Chestnut Conservation and Wildlife Centre where children can see species native to the Hope Valley and the rest of the UK such as pine martens, Scottish wildcats, deer and foxes.
And if you want to see some watery wildlife then head for the Matlock Bath Aquarium where you can get involved in feeding some rather large koi carp!