The other day I traveled about 10kms away from my home in downtown Vancouver and ended up at a 2.5 hectare farm on the North Shore. Maplewood Farm‘s rural heritage in a rapidly expanding urban setting is a rarity and I wanted to learn more about their history, experiences, and educational programs.
Operated by the Parks Department of the District of North Vancouver and a collaboration of volunteers and full time staff, the farm is home to over 200 domestic animals from birds to ponies. Kids can feed the ducks who come to visit, watch a hand-milking demonstration, sign up for pony rides, meet farm hands and volunteers, look in on feeding time with the pigs and Belgian draft horses, and witness the “running of the goats” each day when they go from their paddock to the barn for supper.
The rules are simple at Maplewood. Don’t feed the animals, don’t chase the birds, no loud noises, no swimming with the ducks, and no climbing on the fences. Other than that, kids have free-reign (with adult supervision) to explore the property. During my visit, there were dozens of children, probably between 2 and 5 years old, with their parents feeding ducks and hanging out with the Goat Hill Gang. It’s a great way to teach your kids about the farm animals they may read about in books, and allows them to learn about respecting these creatures.
According to Find Family Fun, they also host special seasonal events like the Sheep Fair, Country Fair, Pumpkin Day, and the annual Country Christmas. Admission prices range from free (children 0-18 months) to $7 for adults (ages 17 and up). The farm is located just off Mount Seymour Parkway, about 2 minutes from the Ironworkers Memorial Bridge, at 405 Seymour River Place, North Vancouver.
If you would like to check out the farm for yourself, I have a family pass available that is good until December, 2011. To win, please leave a comment on this post and I’ll draw a winner next Tuesday, April 5, 2011. You can follow the farm on Twitter @Maplewood_Farm.
Update The winner is Kelly – congratulations!