Forget toys and television – escape outdoors and bring out your child’s inner farmer
There’s something beautiful about watching a child’s face light up when they know they are going to see animals. And Collingwood Children’s Farm brings that delight to children every day.
Tucked away on the outskirts of Melbourne’s CBD, the Collingwood Children’s Farm brings a little bit of the countryside to the city-kids who get to come up close to the animals they read about in story books.
From milking a cow, feeding lambs and mingling in the paddock with the sheep, this farm knows how to keep the children entertained from start to finish.
The farm has been running since the late 70s as a community-based charitable organisation relying on fundraising and donations to keep it going. It started with the intention to help children living in an urban environment learn to care for animals and nature, and more than 30 years later the foot traffic has grown significantly. Twice a month they also hold a farmers market, which attracts hordes of locals wanting to buy fresh organic produce.
Attire for the day out should include gumboots and casual clothes because there will be guaranteed puddle splashing (in the winter months) and a lot of walking through the paddocks.
Walking in to the farm your first stop should be at the charming Farm Café for a babyccino and delicious freshly baked muffin before choosing which animals to see first.
Often the first in sight are the chickens who stroll along at their own leisure with no notice of the cluster of people walking up to them, or the tiny tots trying to touch them. The farm cats are more willing for cuddles and love the attention from visitors.
The pigs are the next stopover often found munching on food and you may even catch a glimpse of the adorable piglets. As you walk along the paddocks you’ll find cows and horses and you can even go into any paddock that does not have a lock on it, which includes the sheep and goats. You can tell this isn’t their first gig either, as the sheep allow the children to playfully touch them while they munch away on grass.
On the other side of the farm is where most of the poultry are found wondering around and also where you can cuddle a guinea pig – a highlight of the day.
In the same area, there is the opportunity to milk a cow, which is something the children love to do and even the adults find amusing as well.
On your way out you can take a stroll through the orchard where you can see the hard work put in by volunteers and staff to produce organic fruit and vegetable crops as well as food for the animals.
By this time, you’re most likely feeling peckish again, which gives you a good excuse to stop at the Farm Café. Grab a spot of lunch before heading home and reflecting on what you and your children have learnt about your day at the farm, and when you’ll be coming back!
By Sarah Lamont