I‘m on a “Ottawa’s Hidden Treasures” tear these days! The photos from this post were actually taken a couple of weeks ago, but I’m just getting around to posting them now. No wonder we’re not getting any housework done — every time the sun shines, I feel the need to pack the boys up and celebrate with an excursion of some sort. Lucky for us, Ottawa never lets us down — there’s always something fun for a family to do.
We’ve been visiting Valley View Little Animal Farm since we moved to Barrhaven six years ago, but I suspect that a lot of people have overlooked this little gem. It’s right on the outskirts of Barrhaven, off Fallowfield Rd between Moodie and Eagleson. Admission is $6.50 per person, and kiddies two and under are free.
Valley View is the perfect place for the toddler to early school age set. There’s fun stuff to climb on at the front of the park, and a small barn with goats, chickens, rabbits and the usual petting zoo type creatures that you can feed by hand. My boys have always been fans of the dozens of metal yellow Tonka trucks strewn around near the entrance… when they were toddlers, I think we could’ve just paid our $6 to get in, play with the trucks for three hours and then leave again without actually looking at the rest of the farm!
Behind the small animals barn, there’s a path that meanders beside a duck pond on one side and some bigger animals in pens on the other side. This blue-eyed meanie scared the heck out of me when I got a bit too close — even though there was a fence in between us, I still jumped back hard enough to fall on my arse when he hissed angrily at my obnoxious camera in his face.
This donkey was a lot more placid. Beloved and I agreed, there is something in his soulful eyes and “pet me, please!” demeanor that highly resembles our Golden-Shepherd mix, Katie.
Other animals include peacocks and llamas, deer and ponies, pigs and some very unfriendly emus. They also have some gorgeous horses.
The animals are my favourite part, and the boys like them well enough, but what they really want to do is run wild over the half-acre or so of play structures strewn around the end of the park. They’ve added quite a few since the last time we visited. There’s a few of the traditional climber-and-slide combinations, but they have a whole bunch of custom structures in adventure-inspiring shapes like pirate ships, trucks and airplanes. There must be a dozen or more in various shapes and sizes and styles.
I really didn’t think we were going to be able to get Lucas out of this tractor-train combination. He would stand aside to let other kids have a turn at the wheel, but would not, under any circumstance, consider actually leaving the vehicle for the best part of 20 minutes. (Is it me or do the terrible twos start earlier with each kid?)
You know how just about every city playground has the same basic look and feel, with largely the same sorts of stuff? The thing I like best about Valley View, in addition to the animals and the small, friendly feel to the place, is the fact that they have such unique things for the kids to explore, from the hand-built play structures and the sea of Tonka trucks to this really neat see-saw built from old wagon wheels.
New this year, they’ve also opened up a whole new section with a farm machinery museum. It’s 365 heaven back there! I can’t remember what this does, but I love looking at it!
And what is it about milk jugs that make them so interesting? Or is that just me?
Something about this row of tobacco tins gave the farm museum barns a feel of authenticity. This is one of my favourite shots of the day, for some reason I don’t quite understand.
Of course, no trip to the farm is complete without inspecting the old tractor beside the equally weathered barn!
Oh wait, you mean we’re not here to indulge in my endless quest for photo opportunties? This is about the kids, you say? Well then, no trip to Valley View is complete without a ride on the tractor train around the corn fields, sunflower valley and the pumpkin patch!
I’d forgotten how much I love Valley View in the year or two since we’ve been, and it’s practially around the corner from us. We tend to go to the Experimental Farm when we need our farm fix, simply because we have the annual membership, but there’s a sweet quaintness to Valley View that makes it unique and worth the trip to the far southwest corner of town. This is a great place for a sunny autumn day family adventure – definitely one of Ottawa’s best kept secrets!
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