Friday, 17 May 2013

A return to Cantref

Those of you with long memories will remember that a couple of years ago, Squeaky & I took off to Cantref Adventure Farm near Brecon for an Easter Adventure.  If I'm completely honest, she was a bit too little for it at the time, though it was a lovely day out.

Well, last week, with the bank holiday, we decided to go back. The sun was shining, the birds were tweeting, so we slapped on some suncream & jumped in the car.

As Squeaky is a bit bigger now than she was two years ago, I had to pay for her to get in (only by 1 cm, but a rule's a rule).  But being over the minimum height meant she was able to join in a lot more of the activities this time around.

We fed a very greedy baby lamb, despite being a bit wary before he came round to us.  He was very friendly, and drank the milk far quicker than a human baby would!  Squeaky was quite surprised that baby animals drink milk, from bottles, just like human babies.

We wandered off outside, and had a look around the farm.  The paddle boats were something I thought would still be beyond the capabilities of a small and cautious 3 year old Squeaky, but no, she was determined to have a go, and I'm not bragging (much) when I say she got the hang of it far faster than the older children who were having their turn at the same time.

We joined in the pet handling show, where we got to meet baby rabbits, guinea pigs, mice, rats and ducklings, Squeaky was very brave and petted them all - and I was very restrained and didn't try to sneak the ducklings out in my handbag. They were just a bit too cute to be real, and only about 3 days old, so they were little yellow balls of fluff.

Squeaky spent a happy hour or so on the indoor play areas.  This wasn't a bad thing, as the weather was really quite hot, and it meant we got a bit of a break from the sun.  Almost everything at Cantref is free, once you've paid your entrance fee.  The only additional charges are for one mechanical digger inside the main barn, and the pony rides.  Oh yes, the pony rides.  Now that Squeaky's tall enough to have to pay to get in, she's tall enough to have a pony ride.  She wasn't quite so sure about the helmet, but accepted the fact that everyone has to wear one when they're on the ponies.

Squeaky rode a pony called Dusty.  I was quite lucky with our timing, as he was just about the right size for her, the other pony was much bigger, and I'm not sure she would have been so happy to ride him.  This, I felt was a bit of a swizz, it was an extra £2 for the pony ride, which was one guided walk around a small enclosure.  OK, it's no shorter distance than a donkey ride on the beach, and a comparable price, and I suspect it's partly to ensure everyone gets a chance - if it were free the same children would spend all day on there at the expense of other visitors.  But even so, it wasn't great value.  She did get a rosette at the end of her ride, though, which she is very proud of.

I mentioned the indoor play areas.  There's a great big indoor adventure playground, much of which was still a bit challenging for Squeaky.  It might have been the number of older children on it that put her off (it was a very busy day!), or it might have been the size of some of the obstacles.  But she had great fun in the under 4's section, and on the big slide.  Thankfully she decided the sheer drop slide wasn't for her, I'm not sure I could have watched that!  She was also really quite taken with the tractor rides, and spent quite a while pedalling, and maintaining her tractor.  The attention to detail in this section was great.  There were 3 fuel pumps, as well as a dummy pressure washer and tyre pressure gauge.  I'm working on getting her to do my tyres next!

She also took great delight in the soft ball area.  I can't think of a better description.  A netted area with 4 ball launchers, a great big target bucket, and oodles of spongy tennis balls.  More of which hit me than their target, but never mind.

Squeaky also managed to persuade me to have a go on the swamp adventure, which we'd had to miss out last time we visited.  A rowing boat, a lot of swampy water, and public humiliation.  Rowing is far harder than it looks, and I have a newfound respect for our Olympic heroes, who make it look so easy.  (That said, I'm not the person just in front of us who got their boat stuck 3 times and had to be rescued)

I'm glad we went back, it was a fun day out for Squeaky and I.  I was really pleased that she was able to take part in so much more this time around, and really got into the whole experience.  It's not somewhere I'd go all that often, because there's only so many times you can do the same things, and there's other places to visit around here too, but as she gets older, there's more for her to do, and more for her to take in.

I paid for our tickets, this review was not requested or sought by Cantref.  I have not received any form of payment or compensation for this review.  All opinions are my own.  I am not a member of any affiliate scheme, links are provided for convenience, I will not receive reward for their use.

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