Vancouver was one of our stops on our return road trip from the Rockies to Seattle and we would be spending 3 full days there. This is such a respite from being on the road for 3-4 hours a day in the past week, staying at a different hotel/inn/lodge every night.
I was especially excited for Gwen (who finally didn't have to be strapped into the car seat for hours) and wanted her to have as much fun as she could in Vancouver!
A quick online search recommended Maplewood Farm for us to visit with a young toddler.
Here's my review of Maplewood Farm!
As it turns out, Maplewood Farm's location is superb! It is so close to downtown in North Vancouver, while most other farms are situated in Langley.
Admission price was $8.50cad for each adult (children under 2 are free!) which is really affordable considering that prices here in Washington are almost double of that!
The first animals we saw were ponies, which Gwen mistook as horses because she started saying “nana” for “neigh neigh”. They were peacefully munching grass and looked well cared for.
We moved on to the next enclosure and saw pigs up close. I've been to farms where you could smell the animals from a mile away and there are heaps of flies buzzing around, but there weren't any annoying flies or any unpleasant odour from the enclosures here despite viewing the animals so close!
The most exciting thing was seeing squirrels scampering up the trees nearby and chasing after the free roaming chickens. Gwen took my hand and toddled after the chickens exuberantly. She was really fascinated with how they were pecking at the grass. We saw another family feeding the chickens some dried bird seed so the husband hurried back into the gift shop to buy some too. That endeared us to the chickens considerably.
We saw very good-looking cows next. I like that Maplewood Farm put up name signages for their cows on the fences, so we could get on first name basis with the animals haha.
Next, we entered the enclosure to pet goats! The goats kept rubbing themselves against my pants (probably to scratch their heads lol). Remember to dress in long-sleeved clothing if you don't want goats rubbing you (and your bare skin) the wrong way. Gwen was afraid to touch the goats and only wanted to observe me petting.
Near the goat petting enclosure was a washing station with stepping mechanisms to activate taps (very handy when you're wrestling a toddler) and foam sanitising soap (easy to slather on and wash off). The farm has adequate washing stations around, so it was very convenient to wash up after touching the animals.
I like that there're educational posters around emphasizing the reasons for practising good hand hygiene after animal contact.
We saw horses and sheep next. Throughout the visit, I reinforced Gwen's real-world learning about animals by singing "Old MacDonald Had A Farm", naming the animals and making corresponding animal noises.
Gwen responded by happily pointing to animals and imitating the animal noises, which is how I knew she enjoyed seeing the animals real-life out of the books.
We spotted peacocks in the cage next. You can’t miss the peacocks, they yelp so loudly that I saw a preschooler-age child saying, “Please stop talking” to it 😂It was a pity they didn't open up their beautiful feathers though, I think Gwen's used to seeing peacocks with their fanned-out feathers in animal books.
We entered another petting enclosure with fluffy white bunnies and guinea pigs. There were half bitten carrots lying around in the hay so we picked them up to offer to the bunnies.
There were ducks, turkeys and some other animals that we didn't have time to look at. I thought we would stay for an hour at most at the farm, but we ended up staying for 2 hours (and still couldn't view all of them!) I think that speaks to how much quality time we spent with our favourite farm animals - the goats and the bunnies.
Maplewood Farm was really well maintained and above-average clean with ample, modern bathrooms and hand washing stations. There was a great variety of farm animals to see and petting enclosures for close contact, so I would totally recommend it to fellow parents with young children!
- Do time your visit to coincide with farm activities like cow milking demonstration in the barn (we weren't able to because of our travel schedule and Gwen's nap timings)
- Bring a change of clothes and shoes for your little one if she's got hay/soil/grass all over and you're intending to go places after the farm visit
Follow #gweninnature on Instagram for my chronicles of traipsing North America with a toddler and seeing nature through her eyes.
Gorgeous photos by le husband.
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Hi! I am Yunnie. I am the newly minted mama to a little baby girl and a mum friend to everyone on this special (and many times scary) journey of motherhood. Also a graduated bride with a penchant for weddings.