There seems to be a bit of a tradition in my destination choice when I’ve a day off work. On Bank Holiday Monday I made my way to another haven for animal lovers: Mount Panther Farm Park.
As the sun made an unexpected appearance, myself, along with my sister Gail, bro-in-law Alan and their tiny human, left Belfast, and thousands and marathon runners behind, as we headed for Co Down. (Regular readers will by now realise ‘auntie Kellie’ is a regular gatecrasher on these family adventures, possibly because I have the same amusement level as my two year old niece.)
Mount Panther is situated on the outskirts of Clough. I have passed the grounds many times, taking great joy whenever I glimpsed a herd of deer relaxing on the grounds, and whilst I was aware of the Mount Panther stately home which is the pinnacle of the estate, I had no idea of the family-run farm park which was recently opened on the grounds.
When we arrived we followed the sign posts to the car park before making our way to the reception area. Once we paid our entrance fee, we were told what all experiences were available on the farm, before being given bags of food to feed the larger animals.
Our first step was the petting farm where you could get upclose with a range of animals such as chicks, rabbits and, for the brave, snakes. There was also a majestic eagle and adorable ring tailed lemurs in the enclosures.
From here we went to the next stage of farm which contained a large sandpit with plenty of buckets and spades as well as an indoor track for go karting. However, what was the best thing here, for me, was a beautiful, baby pygmy goat called Bambi. I was lucky enough to be able to hold it and I instantly fell in love; it was the sweetest wee thing and I was all for recreating The Goat Escape but the staff were to wise to my attempts to smuggle Bambi home.
As we made our way to the outdoor enclosures of animals, we got out our bags of food and had a hilarious time feeding the animals, which included pigs, a donkey and pony, amazing llamas, lambs and even more pygmy goats (there was even one with a quiff that would have put Elvis to shame). The highlight of the trip for the tiny human, however, was the large outdoor play area which had everything from slides and a climbing frame to the very cool looking jumping pillow!
After a fun day filled with sunshine and furry friends it was soon time to head back to Belfast. I would recommend a visit to Mount Panther: it’s only about 40 minutes from Belfast, has super friendly staff that are happy to assist if you want to pet a chicken or cuddle a pygmy goat, and has plenty of space so you can easily see all the animals, even if it’s busy!
- Adults: £7.50
- Child: £6.50