If you grew up in Perth, it’s likely you know Landsdale Farm School. Possibly you visited as part of an excursion with your school. Thirty years after opening as an educational facility, Landsdale Farm School is still operating and introducing thousands of Perth children from all walks of life to their friendly farm animals.
On driving in the main gate, we were greeted by a friendly staff member. Entry is currently $7 per child or adult, with children under 2 years free. Cash or EFTPOS/PayPass is available. After paying, we were directed to parking under the trees or towards the back of the farm.
Once parked, the first part of Landsdale Farm School we visited was the beautiful sensory garden. This is grown and tended primarily by the students who visit and attend the educational programs. The garden bed include fruits and vegetables, which are pickable by the students only, and many flowers and herbs. Each is marked with different groups or organizations caring for it. In a section along a path adjacent to the admin building, there are pots of herbs lined up. Children are encouraged to touch, smell or taste these and read about their different benefits, such as mint helping digestion for example. This is always a hit with Miss 4 who loves to touch and sniff each one.
In among the garden beds, children can also follow the Gnome Trail. These colourful little guys are spread out throughout the sensory garden and all have different names. Miss 4 and her friends enjoyed discovering them.
Also adjacent to the sensory garden is the Henhouse Hilton, full of noisy chickens, and Bilton Cottage, which is mainly used for school educational visits. Surrounding the outside however are some historical household items, such as a water trough with a hand pump and a mangle. Miss 4 was fascinated with these, cranking or pumping the handle, and was surprised to hear her Nanna used to have to help wash the laundry with a copper and mangle like these as a girl.
New additions to the sensory garden are some musical instruments. These include a drum and a large xylophone, which reverberates for a long time after it’s been struck and sounds like magical fairy music in the garden setting. All the children seemed to love these. Miss 4 kept coming back to make music.
Walking past the sensory garden, you come to The Haystack Cafe. This has lots of outside seating with shady umbrellas, plus a few small seats undercover by the counter. Further undercover seating is on the other side of the cafe, outside the admin building, in the pavilion.
The menu at The Haystack Cafe is diverse, ranging from traditional breakfast options such as eggs on toast and blueberry pancakes (available 8am to 11.30am) to toasties, salads and hot food items such as The Haystack Burger, Chicken Quesadilla or Indonesian-style curries for lunch. The kids menu includes chips, cheese or cheese and tomato sandwich, ham and cheese or ham, cheese and tomato sandwich, hotdog or chicken nuggets. If you opt for a kids combo meal, this comes with a fruit drink, water or soft drink with chips.
Having eaten here a few times recently, I can tell you the coffee is excellent. My husband recently enjoyed The Haystack Burger, while I tried the bacon and egg roll. Both were delicious, and Miss 4 loved the kids nuggets. Friends had the beef rendang and the nasi goreng which comes with chicken satay sticks, and again, both were full of flavour. On another visit, we tried a chocolate brownie with coffee, and it too was excellent, moist and full of chocolatey flavour.
Beyond the cafe, there is a small fairytale themed playground. Kids seem to love visiting the Three Little Pigs houses, acting out the story, or playing in the Gnome School. Children can also pose for a photo as one of the Little Pigs. Another smaller xylophone similar to the one in the sensory playground has recently been added as well.
Native birds in large aviaries are located in this area too. There’s corellas, lorikeets and galahs. Most of the bigger birds love a scratch and can talk, but be a little careful with little fingers as they can be bitey or grab with their claws. I am speaking from personal experience here!
From the fairytale playground, there is a gate to access the farm animals. This has a double gate system so the bigger animals are less likely to escape. Families are asked to not bring food beyond these gates as the sheep and goats and even the chickens will snatch it and it is not good for their tummies to eat human food. Make sure bags are well closed and secured as we have witnessed the sheep and goats are clever enough and cheeky enough to open zips and raid your kids snacks!
All in all though, the animals are friendly and patient. Sheep, goats, chickens and guinea fowl wander freely, giving children the opportunity to quietly pet them. My friend’s son even managed to pop a hat on one of the male goats and give him big cuddles.
One of Miss 4’s favourite parts of our visits is to check the hen house for eggs. The laying boxes are set into the side of the shed with a carpet square covering for privacy. Children can lift these up and see if there is a chicken laying or if an egg has been left behind. On our most recent visit, one of the staff was came through around the same time to check the nests, and Miss 4 was thrilled to feel an egg still warm from the chicken.
Other animals are housed in separate paddocks with paths between them. The ducks have the Duckston Hotel, and the geese and ducks have a shared pond in their space. Other animals include horses, alpacas, llamas, cows and turkeys. Rabbits and guinea pigs live on the grassed areas in shaded hitches, and children can feed them bits of grass or give them scratches through the wire.
A piggery shed is located at the far end of the farm. Depending on the time of day you visit, the students come to feed them. Children can watch, or if they’re bold enough like my girl, they can ask to help and throw some veggies to the pigs, too. If the pigs are out in their outside area you may be lucky enough to be able to give them a pet or a scratch. We found they loved a scratch behind the ears. Again, you’ll need to watch little fingers here though as the piggies can bite.
In among this farm animal area we found Peter Rabbit’s garden fenced off from the sheep and goats, and a tractor and a buggy for kids to climb on. There is also a wooden model cow here with rubbery udders that children can try milking. A tractor-train ride also operates in this area. The first one is free with your entry ticket, and for any additional rides a gold coin donation is requested.
There is also a fenced off section for damper making. This is used for schools and educational group visits.
Heading back past the fairytale playground, you’ll find a toilet block with a baby change table. Around the corner from this is an undercover playground, covered by shade cloth and with a sand base. This consists of slides, tunnels, platforms and ladders. Great for active kids who still have some energy to burn after racing around the farm. Being well covered too, it is great all year round for a play, in rain or shine.
Landsdale Farm School has lots to see and do, and is great for kids of all ages. It is a great experience for children who haven’t seen farm animals and for paddock to plate discussions in the gardens. There is lots of parking available, and with solid paths and wide, the farm is easily pram and wheelchair accessible for all to enjoy.
Landsdale Farm School also takes bookings for birthday parties in the pavilion attached to the sensory garden. This is a large undercover area with plastic tables and chairs provided as well as gas barbecues. There is no cost beyond the entry-free, and you are able to self-cater with your own food and decorations. A great option for birthday parties on a budget!
Landsdale Farm School
Located on Evandale Road, Darch, just off Hepburn Avenue.
Landsdale Farm School is open 7 days per week, from 8am to 3pm, except for some public holidays.
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