Top 5 best open FARM parks and petting ZOOS in Northern Ireland

Looking for a fun day out with the family? Look no further than our list of the top five best open farm parks and petting zoos in Northern Ireland.

Top 5 best open FARM parks and petting ZOOS in Northern Ireland.

Ireland has a rich agricultural history that continues to the present day. Many of its operational farms also afford visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with the livestock.

Some house animals from across the globe, while others are dedicated to the conservation of endangered local animals.

All, however, make for a fun-filled and educational excursion. So check out the top five best open farm parks and petting zoos in Northern Ireland.

5. The Ark Open Farm – a family-run farm

The Ark Open Farm is one of the best open farm parks and petting zoos in Northern Ireland.
Credit: Facebook/ The Ark Open Farm

The Ark first opened its gates to the public in 1990 and has steadily grown since. Today, the Ark houses over 200 species of animals, including donkeys, deer, and the beautiful alpaca.

On top of handling and feeding the animals, the Ark offers a multitude of activities. There is a fascinating reptile room and a child-friendly dinosaur exhibition humorously titled “Jurassic Ark”.

Furthermore, this family-run farm offers quad barrel rides, tractor-trailer rides, and several outdoor play areas.

Address: 296 Bangor Rd, Newtownards BT23 7PH

4. Mountpanther Farm Park – home of the exclusive deer safari

Home of the exclusive deer safari.
Credit: Facebook/ @Mountpanther

Mountpanther Farm Park is a relatively recent addition to the open farm parks and petting zoos in Northern Ireland, having only opened in 2017. But they did not waste time in developing one of the best open farm park experiences.

Mountpanther is home to all types of animals: from guinea pigs and llamas to lizards and snakes and everything in between! They also boast a range of other facilities to keep kids entertained, such as a go-kart track and bouncy castles.

But perhaps Mountpanther’s pièce de resistance is its deer safari experience. Running through spring and summer, the deer safari tours Mountpanther’s deer field, allowing lucky visitors the chance to photograph and even feed the deer!

However, be advised that availability for the deer safari tour is limited. Enquire upon entry to the park to avoid disappointment.

Address: 39 Dundrum Rd, Clough, Downpatrick BT30 8SJ

3. Tannaghmore Gardens and Animal Farm – Ireland’s only Rare Breeds Survival Trust-approved farm park

Tannaghmore Gardens is one of the best open farm parks and petting zoos in Northern Ireland.

Tannaghmore Gardens and Animal Farm offers visitors the opportunity to get up close and personal with animals traditionally found on Ulster farms 100 years ago.

Many of these animals are now close to extinction, so this is a rare chance to see the likes of the Irish Moiled Cattle, Galway Sheep, and Saddleback Pigs.

Tannaghmore is the island’s only Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST) approved farm park. The staff work closely with the RBST on breeding programmes to help preserve the endangered breeds for the future.

On top of the animal farm, there are several other features that make for a great day out. Enjoy the colours and scents of the native and exotic plants in the botanical gardens, or set up a barbecue at one of the designated spots.

Address: Craigavon, BT66 6RU

2. Streamvale – one of the best open farm parks and petting zoos in Northern Ireland

Streamvale is one of the most popular in the north.
Credit: Facebook/ Streamvale Farm

Perhaps the most popular of its kind in Northern Ireland is Steamvale Park, which you’ll find a short drive outside Belfast.

Their daily activities include “Cuddle Time” with chicks and ducklings. Keep an eye out on social media, as sometimes “Cuddle Time” includes puppies from Brookvale Kennels.

Feeding the farm animals is also a huge hit, regardless of age. Make sure to bottle-feed the lambs and goats and get plenty of photos!

Address: 38 Ballyhanwood Rd, Belfast BT5 7SN

1. Fermanagh Fun Farm – protecting animals and the local community

Fermanagh Fun Farm is one of the best open farm parks and petting zoos in Northern Ireland.
Credit: Facebook/ Fermanagh Fun Farm & Granny Flo’s Cafe

Fermanagh Fun Farm is a registered community interest company. This means they are a not-for-profit enterprise that puts the money they make to use for the good of the public.

All profits generated by the farm go towards care for the animals and the provision of volunteering opportunities for people with poor mental health or additional educational needs.

Any surplus funds maintenance and the development of new facilities. While its species list might be shorter than most on this list, the majority of the animals on the farm have been rescued or adopted.

Moreover, the staff at Fermanagh Fun Farm pride themselves on treating their animals as pets. Subject to funding, they have expansion plans for 2023 that include a new outdoor space for animals that are usually kept indoors.

We are huge fans of the work done at Fermanagh Fun Farm, which is why we think it deserves the top spot on our list of the top five best open farm parks and petting zoos in Northern Ireland.

Address: 4 Slate Quarry Ln, Lisbellaw, Enniskillen BT94 5BB

For more, check out our article on the best open farm parks and petting zoos in Ireland.

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