By Misty Hamel
Butterfield Acres has been high on my list of “things to do with a toddler” for a while now. Finally, this past Saturday Max and I had a chance to check it out. Everything about the day was perfect. Well, almost perfect, but I’ll get to that later. First, the perfect stuff.
Big blue skies, warm sunshine and a slight breeze. Yes, summer in Calgary may take awhile to arrive but once it gets here it is wonderful! Max started squealing as soon as I took him out of the car in the Butterfield Acres parking lot. At 15 months old, seeing baby goats is just about as exciting as it gets.
One of the first things that I noticed was the abundance of signage. Helpful and humorous, there are signs everywhere you look. The wise owl signs talk about being gentle with the animals, washing your hands and other farm etiquette. Other signs ask questions like ‘What do you get when 2 geese crash into each other?’ (Find the answer to that as well as more pictures here at Life Where We Are.)
What we loved at Butterfield Acres:
Babies – So many baby animals! Max got up close and personal with kid goats, lambs, ponies and piglets.
Animal Sounds – All those noises we have been working on while reading our animal books were demonstrated by the original singers! Max is still neighing like a horse but we also heard the roosters crow, the goats maaing, and the pigs oinking. Wait…the pigs don’t actually oink so now I have to start snorting when we make pig sounds. Great! While I love oinking much more than snorting, where did we come up with oink?
Shaded Playgrounds – Scattered amongst the animals are fantastic play areas for all ages and most of them are well shaded by beautiful trees.
Mini John Deere Tractors! – What more needs to be said?
The Great Outdoors! – Butterfield Acres is a beautiful place to take your family. Fresh air (the normal barnyard smell you would expect was very minimal), gorgeous views, animals in their natural environments being well-cared for. Educational and enjoyable, you can’t ask for more.
What we will do to ensure our next visit is even better:
Wear enclosed shoes with socks! – Ok here comes the not-so-perfect part. I WORE FLIP-FLOPS! Can I claim mommy-brain for that huge mistake? Max was perfectly outfitted in socks and crocs but I WORE FLIP-FLOPS! Even if I would have been allowed in the pens while wearing inappropriate footwear, it still would have been inappropriate footwear. Muddy, poopy and gross. Need I say more?
Ride a pony – Tickets are $1.00 and you can buy them in advance with Admission. The rides are at 11:00am, 1:00pm, and 3:00pm, except for July and August when the last time slot is at 2:30. We just missed that last slot. (FYI, you have to be under 60 lbs to ride the pony.)
Use the free wagon! – Max was in his stroller and I enviously watched as other kids were pulled in little plastic wagons. Not only was I getting the stroller a little mucked up but I had to keep buckling and unbuckling him at each enclosure. I looked for info on how much it was to rent the wagons and finally asked. They are free at the front gate! How awesome is that?
Bring additional hand cleansing necessities – Butterfield Acres is very aware of the need to keep our children healthy and they provide many opportunities and reminders to wash your hands. Each hand-washing station is supposed to have a bucket of water with a spigot, liquid hand soap, and a stack of towels. Unfortunately, most stations were out of one of two of the necessary items. Make sure you have extra anti-bacterial wipes and maybe some dry towels. I ended up using my scarf to dry our hands as we left the farm.
Use the restroom before you go – Butterfield Acres has a site dedicated to future flushing toilets but for now the facilities are a little more rustic. 🙂
Don’t delay! – I really do wish we had checked out Butterfield Acres sooner. Now that I know how much fun it is we will definitely visit again soon!