Streamvale Farm is a family-run dairy farm that opens to the public with all sorts of fun and inclusive activities to entertain all ages. But most importantly it is an educational experience for the whole farm-to-fork concept and it promotes the importance of local farming in Northern Ireland. Meaning there’s a lot of hands-on experiences with the cutest of farm animals. “Awk, look at the adorable baby chicks!” “So, how long until we can eat them?“. And there’s obviously alpacas. (Official Prices here).
Streamvale Farm Opening Times?
Streamvale farm opens almost year-round (10.30 to 5.00pm daily) with various seasonal events through the year like Bottle Feeding Lambs in Spring, the Halloween Pumpkin Patch in Autumn, and Santa calls in for the Christmas months. Before a short break between January and mid-March (it’s best to double-check current events on their Facebook). So we were otherwise there in the sunnier summer months (mid-July), calling in early at 10:30AM before the noisy crowds of kids arrived at around midday.
We originally planned on visiting Streamvale Farm for the Bottle-Feeding Lambs in Spring, something Fanfan has dreamed of since first visiting Northern Ireland. But unfortunately this was put off due to our recent stint in Asia and by late June the lambs and goats are too old for milk feeding. So instead we are able to feed the bigger sheep with grass and meal (Veggie Feeding Fun), which is fun, I guess, but it’s nowhere near as adorable as bottle-feeding a baby sheep. “What’s the difference between mutton and lamb”.
Cuddling animals is not limited to the petting zoo and during our “Summer Weekend Fun” there were additional snuggling activities including “Cuddle Baby Rabbits”, which are so soft it’s like cuddling a cloud. As well as “Sniffer Pups Cuddle and Play” and “Cuddle Chicks” in the Chick House with the cutest baby chicks I’ve ever seen (you can eat them from 6-7 weeks apparently). But there’s also the opportunity to ruffle the fluff of all sorts of farm animals throughout the compound. Just “Don’t put your Fingers in Animal Mouths!”.
We did have an actual 10yo with us on our visit to Streamvale Farm, and his highlights were always the games and activities, although he was super excited for the baby alpaca. So we spent what felt like hours at the new “Air Cannon Arena” where you shoot nerf-like balls at targets within a spongy enclosed play park. His 2nd favourite was the “Go Carts”, which are not as exciting as expected, given you have to do the cycling around the track yourself. But there are bigger carts for adults as well. Then there are just various climbing frames, obstacles courses, play parks, and a zipline and tire swing dotted around the compound.
Dog Agility and Sheep Race
Through the day there are certain events scheduled at different parts of the farm. Including “Pony Grooming”, “Ice Cream Tasting”, “Watch the Cows Being Milked”, and all sorts of feeding. Otherwise, it was the “Dog Agility and Sheep Race” that stood out. And this is kind of a sheepdog demonstration where the farm’s border collie shows off his obstacle course skills before herding a bunch of sheep. There are no actual jockeys for the sheep race, and it’s really more a sheep chase, where we were cheering for “Lamb Chop” (he came 2nd).
Free Barrel Rides
Streamvale Farm also has “anytime” activities where you can just turn up any time of the day to join short queues for various activities and attractions. So the highlight here would have to be the “Free Barrel Rides” that circle the main features of the compound of Streamvale Farm. Which is kind of a short ride, but still fun with the excitement of danger, given you’re literally trailed in converted barrels by some guy driving an ATV Quad Bike. Again, it is more for kids, but adults are free to have a go as well, given they can squeeze themselves into the size of the mini barrels.
The Red Deer
Another highlight for me was the “Free Tractor Ride” where we escaped the noise of screaming kids to the surrounding farmlands of Streamvale Farm. But it was not so much for the tractor ride, given you’re only really in tow in a massive trolley, and was more for the red deer at the end of the track. Where there’s the opportunity to feed them nuts and stuff. There are also some fantastic views in these hills with Stormont Estate in the nearish distance. But you will find other escapes and Nature Trails to follow in surrounding grounds, with duck ponds, squirrels and even badgers, which we never quite spotted. As these walks just ended up with kids playing sticky weed fights (you can’t take me anywhere).
Free Range Ice Cream
Streamvale Farm is a family-run dairy farm, although we missed the main activities that reflect this like the “Ice Cream Tasting” which happens twice through the day, as well as “the Cows Being Milked” which happens later (between 15:30 – 16:00PM) when the cows are home from pasture (I guess). One of the downsides of arriving early. So you can pretty much follow the process “From Cow to Cone” and we at least found their Free Range Ice Cream in their onsite cafe and farm shop. And there is always the opportunity to “milk” a fake cow, which we didn’t because it looked weird. There is a “Burger Barn” as well but I guess the meats here are all bought in.