I and everyone here at Wooly Ward’s Farm want to say a huge thank you to all our friends and visitors. 2016 was a momentous year as we had 20,000 visitors to our farm and 30,000 visitors to our Mobile Farm.
As we have so many families wishing to visit the farm, we now find ourselves in the position where we need to upgrade many facilities to give customers a better experience and to accommodate an even larger number. I’m afraid our little 300 year old farm wasn’t expecting such numbers!
For this reason, 2017 will be our year of reviewing and planning so we will not be hosting birthday parties or school tours here at the farm. I know this will disappoint many but hopefully we will see you again in 2018 for your party or school tour. I won’t know what to do with my weekends but my seven children are all very excited at the thought of spending more family time together.
However, we will be running the ever popular big events at the farm – Easter in April, the annual Teddy Bears Picnic in July, and our Halloween Extravaganza in October! We will update you with dates next month.
Of course we are still running our fabulous Mobile Farm! Our adorable animals are so excited to leave Wooly Ward’s Farm, and visit you for a change, at home or at work! Bookings are now fully open for hiring the Mobile Farm which is geared up and ready to go for any special occasion.
Wooly Ward’s Farm can’t wait to see all the Momma bears, Poppa bears and kiddie bears, and neither can all our cute critters!
I really have to start this post off by saying, “What a day! Absolutely amazing!” Myself, my mum, A and her little cousin, F, made our way to Wooly Ward’s Farm in Oldtown, Co. Dublin, on Saturday to meet Goldilocks and Daddy Bear at the Teddy Bear’s Picnic. I wasn’t too sure what to expect from the day and we’ve never been to Wooly Ward’s Farm before so it was a brand new experience for all of us. To say that the day was a huge success is an understatement! Read on to check out our review of the Teddy Bears Picnic…
We parked the car in a field of long grass at the back of the Farm which started the day off with a giggle. The parking sensors weren’t happy that I was flattening long shards of grass and the kids in the back, who were already excited, thought something magical was happening as the car beeped its way to a stop.
F and A practically jumped out of the car as they saw bouncy castles, animals, teddy’s everywhere and a giant obstacle course on the way in. I’ll be honest, myself and my mum were a little excited at everything there was to do too, and we had only parked the car! Holding hands, they brought their specially invited Teddy’s to the Farm – A had Duck, and F brought Smurfy and Max. Admittedly Momma Bear and Nanny looked after our cuddly friends for a large portion of the day. I was just happy A didn’t insist on bringing her life sized Dalmation dog, Bailey!
Scary Mary, Cathal and their family set up Wooly Ward’s Farm in 2011 when they saw the level of interest people and children had with farm animals. Over the four years they have put three mobile farms on the road, opened up their own farm for private parties and events and entertained thousands of people with their animal theatre and petting zoo. In 2015, they added the Reptile and Exotic Zoo to their collection of mobile units.
They have built up a highly trained team of young and energetic staff of approx 30 who work alongside Scary Mary, Cathal, daughters Amy & Laura, sons Sean & Rob and recently Caroline and Heather aged 10 and 8 who launched their acting career last Halloween!
Staff have backgrounds in Childcare, Drama, Tourism, Food Science, Animal Husbandry and Veterinary to name but a few. All staff undergo First Aid, Animal Handling and customer service training on an ongoing basis.
Mary’s Farm has been in the Ward Family for over 400 years and her parents both in their nineties still live on the farm. The farm has primarily been involved in sheep, beef and tillage over the years.
Mary’s background is in Agriculture having studied both in Ireland and Europe in her formative years.
As well as animal knowledge Mary and Cathal have a wealth of experience with children, having reared 7 little darlings – 4 girls and 3 boys!
First Impressions Count
The Farm and house itself is beautiful and very easy to move around. Wooden gates were opened between fields and we skipped from one area to the next. It most certainly was a Teddy Bears Picnic. Teddy’s were everywhere! In with the ducks, the geese, on trees and fence posts.
We were only there about five minutes and where soaking up the atmosphere when we were informed that a Teddy Bear was lost! A lovely gentleman, Eddie, asked F and A if they had seen his Teddy Bear and if they could help find him. My enthusiastic daughter, eager to help, declared “Yes. Lets find him!” After recruiting a few more kids to help in the search for the lost Teddy Bear we made our way through the farm, past the animals, over the wobbly bridge and up through the scary forest walk to find Scary Mary who Eddie thought might know where the Teddy Bear was.
Of course Eddie recruited a few parents too to help look for the Lost Teddy Bear. F and A looked everywhere and thought they had found him many times as so many Teddys were sitting in the trees. “We can’t find him anywhere,” was A’s catchphrase for a while.
The Scary Forest Walk is also where Scary Mary hangs out her washing. The kids laughed as we spotted Mary’s nightdress covered in Bird do-da!
At the top of the Scary Walk we found Scary Mary and her house. She was busy making some lunch in the kitchen… not the type of lunch you or I would eat!
Scary Mary is a force to be reckoned with! But the lost Teddy was found safe and sound – well, almost safe, he was found in Scary Mary’s oven! – everyone was happy and excited and Eddie was over the moon to find his teddy again! Searching for the lost Teddy Bear was the perfect way to get us into the swing of things at Wooly Ward’s Farm. After the search we were all revved up and excited to see what else there was to do.
And yes, there was plenty to do!
After our little preamble with the lost Teddy, we made our way back through the farm to retrieve A’s wellies which she insisted she wanted to wear. We were on a farm after all. It was then that we found Thomas. A is a massive Thomas the Tank Engine fan and was fairly insistent that she drive the very useful engine. But after being informed that A didn’t hold the correct licence she sat herself in the back with F and Momma Bear and went on a bumpy but eagle eyed view of the farm and fields.
F and A spent time on the Bouncy Castle, running through the Fairy Field and knocking on all the doors to see who was home. They went Teddy Bear spotting – in fact they were more interested in finding Teddy Bears than animals! – and raced each other through the obstacle course. F proclaimed after the juggling show, that he was hungry so we left the barn and found a bale of hay to sit on and have our picnic lunch. Prepacked lunches were available to purchase but knowing these two kids I decided to bring some sandwiches along and of course Nanny had a few snacks in her bag, as all the best grandmothers do. I’ll admit I was too excited to stop and wanted to keep going and see what else we could find. I was eager for them to eat up!
Cookie Decorating or Rather Eating!
We found our way to the Cookie Decorating Tent, with a quick stop off on the tractor slide which was in front of the main house and like a beehive swarmed by excited little bee kids! Momma and Papa Bears could stop off at the house and have a hot cup of tea or coffee and the picnic area outside was very comfortable. On to the cookies. F enthusiastically, aided by Nanny, decorated his cookie with jellies, marshmallows, sprinkles and lots of icing. A decided the cookie was perfect plain and ate the toppings first followed by the plain cookie … to each their own
Teddy Bears Hospital
An exciting part of the day was the Teddy Bears Hospital (which I totally forgot to take pictures of). Poorly Teddy Bears were all in their beds and cared for by the wonderful Wooly Ward’s Farm Doctor. A had brought Duck with her to get a check up and turns out he had hit his noggin! Doc and A expertly patched him up with a very special plaster just for Ducks.
For me, my favourite part of the day was seeing A’s proud face as she rode Sheba the pony. I was always the kid who wanted to ride the horse or pony and that little kid came back when I saw Sheba! I lived through A for those few moments as she proudly held on tight (as did Momma Bear!) and talked to Sheba.
Meeting Goldilocks and Daddy Bear
Finally, getting a warm hug from Goldilocks and a wicked high five from Daddy Bear rounded off our day. The beautiful Goldilocks smiled all day long and was so happy to sit and talk to all of the kids. Daddy Bear accompanied her and was handing out high fives and hugs all day long.
The Teddy Bears Picnic was without a doubt a success for our two little kids. They were excited from the moment we got there and we didn’t stop all afternoon. So, what is our verdict?
Verdict from A (2 years 9 months old ) – 10/10
Verdict from F (4 years old) – 10/10
When I asked both kids what they’re favourite part of the day was, they simply said EVERYTHING! I couldn’t get them to choose one thing as I listed everything off. They sat in the back seat of the car giggling and laughing as we drove out, waving to the animals, Goldilocks and the Teddy Bears as we headed home. “Everything, everything, everything,” F kept repeating as A danced in her seat.
Verdict from Momma Bear and Nanny – 10/10
As Momma Bear, I was happily surprised with the amount of activities. There wasn’t a moment that we didn’t have something to do or see. Wooly Ward’s Farm was decorated so well and was so inviting. We all went home really happy after a fun filled afternoon. I even received a text from Nanny the next morning thanking me for asking her to come with us since she had such a great time and the day was a beautiful memory.
I spoke to another Mum at the Picnic who was at Wooly Ward’s with her two kids for the first time also. She reiterated my thoughts exactly when she said,
“It’s fantastic, there’s so much to do. It’s really great value. I have to say, I’m so surprised by it all. “
Teddy Bears Picnic Annual Event
The Teddy Bears Picnic is an annual event at Wooly Ward’s Farm and I highly recommend it for young kids. It really was a fantastic day. It ran from 2pm to 5pm which is a perfect length of time for young legs. We arrived at 2:15pm and left at 4:45pm, a very happy bunch.
A quick round up of things to do at the Teddy Bears Picnic:
Explore the Farm
The Teddy Bears Hospital
Meet Goldilocks and Daddy Bear
The Fairy Door Field
An Obstacle Course
Journey on Thomas the Tank Engine
Arts and Crafts
Decorate your own Cookie
Meet Scary Mary
Help Eddie find the Lost Teddy Bear
All activities are included in the ticket price
(€6 adults / €15 children – family tickets available)
Things Momma and Papa Bears might like to know:
Wooly Ward’s Farm is located a short distance off the Ashbourne/Swords road (approximately a ten minute drive from either town)