What it is: I always love taking my toddler to the farm. He loves to see the animals and explore nature. However, they tend to be far away. That's why I was so pleased when I discovered Spence's Farm. It's an educational farm for kids that has activities for older and younger children including summer and after school camps. Located about 30 minutes away from the Southpoint area of Durham, Spence's was great for a day at the farm. They even have toddler day every Wednesday morning starting at 9 where the kids are taken on guided tours of the farm.
When we went we were able to pick fresh mint from the garden (We could pick as much as we want and take it home!), visit with the chickens and collect their eggs if there were any available, watch the tadpoles in the pond, and interact with their ponies through brushing and even a pony ride! There's also a playground and a covered area with picnic tables for your enjoyment before or after exploring the rest of the farm. Spence's Farm is focused on local sustainable farming and involves kids in the farming and maintenance of the farm.
What we liked: We enjoyed our whole day at the farm, but it was interesting because all of the toddlers that we went with had unique parts that they liked and disliked respectively. Most of the toddlers couldn't hold their attention through the gardening portion of the tour, but mine absolutely loved getting in the garden and pulling up the mint. However, when we went to the chickens, another toddler had a ball chasing and feeding the chickens while mine was petrified of being down on the same level as the active birds. All of the children found something to interest them with the ponies: one liked riding, another loved brushing, another just watched them and explored the tent. Afterward, all of the mommies enjoyed the shaded picnic tables with sink and soap for handwashing nearby.
What we would change: While we had a good time, as I said, there were parts that the toddlers didn't enjoy. In fact, the whole tour was probably geared toward children 3-5 years of age. Our two year-olds were a bit young to hold their attention through all of it. The wait for the pony rides was the longest part and by the end of it my toddler was too distracted to even want to ride the pony anymore. Another pretty big drawback of the farm was the cost for the tour. It was $15 for my child to tour the farm, and that is too expensive for a normal activity for us.
Website and other important information: Spence's Farm is located off of I-40 on Hwy. 86 in Chapel Hill.
6407 Mill House Road
Chapel Hill, NC 27516
phone: (919) 968-7618
fax: (919) 968-7618
*Check website or call for current activities/hours if you plan on heading over there. I think there's quite a bit of variation as far as what goes on each day.
1. A view of the ponies awaiting their riders
2. The pond
3. The chickens
4. Pony brushing