Introducing Baby to Animals
We made a visit to Maplewood Farm in North Vancouver this long weekend because hubby really wanted to introduce Bibi to animals to help her foster a similar love of animals. Up to this point, she never really had a long encounter with a whole bunch of different animals before. Her experience with animals at almost 3 months old have been limited to the geese, ducks and dogs that we’d see on our walks in parks.
At first, hubby thought the Vancouver Aquarium would be a good place to bring Bibi as there are both tropical forest mammals and sea animals to see. When I mentioned that we wanted to bring Bibi to the aquarium and possibly get a membership, several parents of older children remarked that she might be too young still to appreciate it considering how much it would cost for admission (around $76 for two adults, children under 3 free). We decided to find an alternative outing for this weekend and hold off on the aquarium for a few more months so she could eventually grow with the yearly membership.
An Interactive Kid-Friendly Farm
We decided to go to the Maplewood Farm, opened since 1975 and run by the District of North Vancouver, Parks Department. It’s not a very big farm, most of the animals were in spacious enclosed areas within close proximity of each other. We were able to introduce the approximately 200 domestic farm animals to Bibi visually and take some photos all in under an hour. Families with older children will most likely spend more time there petting the animals, feeding the ducks and bunnies, going for pony rides ($111/hr) or watching the cow milking demonstrations. The farm is very well run with happy healthy animals, clean bathrooms and a separate hand washing station to minimize the spread of germs. There’s also a small gift shop where you can purchase farm related gifts.
Overall, we had a great time and it met our objective of introducing cute animals to Bibi for a fraction ($17 for 2 adults) of what it would have cost at the aquarium. It was wonderful seeing the look of wonderment in Bibi’s eyes as we introduced her to new animals she had never seen before. She’s still too young to pet or feed any of the animals by herself and she didn’t have the desire to interact with any of them yet but we felt it was a good experience for her to see animals in real life rather than from a book or TV. Older children will have a lot more to do at the farm. Teenagers and adults might find the farm animals less interesting than the more “exotic” ones found at the Aquarium but I would recommend the farm to all families with younger children as a safe, clean and interactive family activity.
Until next time.
A: 405 Seymour River Pl, North Vancouver, BC V7H 1S6
T: (604) 929-5610
H: 10 am – 4 pm
Tips for a visit to Maplewood Farm:
– Wear comfy clothes to play with animals. Bring sunglasses and water for sunny days. Bring hooded jackets, umbrellas and water for a rainy day.
– Hand sanitizer but there is a clean bathroom and a hand washing station available.
– Strollers can be used on the farm as the walkways are clean and packed.
– Sneakers are good for walking on the packed pathways and grass. It wasn’t raining or muddy when I visited. You can consider rain boots for a rainy day.
– Bring your own vegetables if you’d like to feed the bunnies. Check on the website to see approved items.
– Birdseed for feeding ducks is available for $3/bag.
– Cow milking demonstrations daily at 1:15 pm.
– Free parking is available in their parking lot along with free street parking.
– Book pony rides in advance.
UPDATED ON AUGUST 3rd, 2020:
We made another visit to the farm this long weekend after it newly reopened again due to the pandemic. There are new precautions in place to keep guests safe. Only a limited amount of people are allowed to enter at a time and indoor exhibits are no longer opened to the public. To enter, guests are required to pre-book a time slot over the phone. Each slot starts on the hour. As always, hand washing stations (activated with foot pedals) are available by the petting area.