Thursday, September 16, 2010

Spence's Farm

As C is obsessed with making animal noises right now, I went on the prowl to find animals for him to see. Like, in real life. Not just in a book. Searching the handy-dandy The Big, Fun Guide to Tar Heel Country, I found Spence's Farm on page 90.

Visiting Spence's Farm is a little tricky. The place is very laidback. Because of that it is hard to figure out when you are welcome to show up with your toddler (and toddler is defined very loosely, pretty much any age will do). I was told Wednesdays "at 9, or 10, or 11, but no definitely before 10:30"; and Fridays, "11, no, wait, 10." The gist is: open Toddler Time on Wednesdays and Fridays in the morning. Just call ahead to let them know you are on your way, make sure the time works, and they will accommodate you.

Toddler time is GREAT. Spence's farm is all about hands-on learning. So bring anti-bacterial wipes and shoes that you can hose off afterwards.

We started by getting in with the chickens. Literally, we got in the chicken pen. We fed them, chased them, laid our hands on warm eggs fresh from under a nesting hen, and petted them. C was a little apprehensive of the turkeys, but I would be, too, if a turkey twice my size was wandering around.

Then we went to the bunnies. We tried to feed them, but they weren't so interested. So we petted them, and watched a loose bunny hop around enjoying his freedom.

We pet and fed the goats. And we brushed and groomed a pony. Spence's Farm offers pony rides as part of the Toddler Time. So at some point in your visit you get to put your child on a pony, and they walk him around. We opted not to do this this time around simply because we were so busy chasing chickens....and brushing the pony (which was a huge hit).

C and I also wandered the garden. The garden is mostly for educational purposes. Spence's does offer a CSA, though, if you are interested. I left with some fresh mint. They encourage all visitors to bring home handfuls of mint since it grows like a weed, and they have problems controlling it. I'll be having a mint julep tonight.

It isn't cheap to visit at $15. But that is $15 total for your family, not per visitor. The Toddler Time is said to last 45 minutes but we were there well over an hour without any complaints. And we were accompanied the entire time by 2 very enthusiastic and fun workers. I personally felt as though it was money well-spent to get up close with the animals.

Spence's Farm is full of whimsy. There are signs all over, pottery shed, haymaze, swings, and lots of color and art. So it can seem a little disorganized. I was completely confused upon first arriving. But the staff here is absolutely fantastic and willing to help. They clearly love children and what they do.

Spence's also offers after-school activities, summer camps, mini-camps, horseback riding lessons, organized field trips, birthday packages, and who knows what else (Toddler Time just showed up on their website and they don't even list the Friday time, but I know it exists).

Right off of Eubanks right, kinda near Timberlyne (Orange Leaf anyone?), we had a great hour at Spence's Farm.

Oh, and make sure you charge your camera battery before you go. That's a good tip.

Spence's Farm for Kids

http://www.spencesfarm.com/

6406 Mill House Road

Chapel Hill

919-968-8581

4 Comments:

At September 16, 2010 at 10:47 AM , Blogger Susan said...

Thanks so much for this post! I have been wanting to take my almost 4yr old there to check things out and just get some fresh air, but their website couldn't be more vague, so thanks for the details! I agree that $15 is high, even if per family, b/c the reality is that on these days/times, that means one adult and in our case one child. Do you happen to know if this at least includes the pony ride, or is that extra?

 
At September 16, 2010 at 4:45 PM , Blogger chapelhillmom said...

I agree, the website isn't helpful. Yes, the $15 includes the pony ride! We just elected not to pony ride for a myriad of C-related issues, but it is part of the package. I think Spence's is great for a special occasion big outing. But yeah, little too pricey for an all-the-time activity. We had a great time here though. Let me know if you do make it!

 
At September 23, 2010 at 12:52 PM , Anonymous Alison said...

Be sure to call before you go! I tried calling today to plan a visit tomorrow, but they said they are having mini-camps for year round school kids, so they won't be offering Toddler Time. They said to try back next week.

 
At September 23, 2010 at 1:06 PM , Blogger chapelhillmom said...

Thanks for the tip Alison. Everyone should call ahead before they go-- turns out that it isn't just about time of day but also about other events they may be offering!

 

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