One of our children’s favourite locations to visit, both during term time and the school holidays, was Horton Park Children’s Farm in Epsom, Surrey. For a relatively modest sum, we were able to take our children there to exercise in the play barn, stroke some animals and, if the weather permitted, play on some child-friendly structures in the fresh air. We always found the staff courteous and kind to our children too.
Sadly the farm closed some time ago and has been replaced by ‘Hobbledown‘ billed on it’s website as a “Mysterical (sic) Farm Park Adventure“. For many months we have avoided taking our children there because the prices seem excessively high compared with the old farm and we weren’t really convinced it was any better. However after some good reports from fellow parents and a particularly good experience our son had at a party there recently I decided I would take both our children there tomorrow as a treat.
Thinking we might avoid queuing to get in if we purchased tickets on-line first, I set about booking the three of us a visit despite the fact that at £32 it came to nearly twice what the old farm charged. In order to pre-order tickets I had to register first and, for reasons better known to the owners, the registration required my date of birth.
Each time I tried to register it came up with the same error message that it expected my age to be ‘in the range 65-99’. At first I was confused as to why they only allowed old age pensioners under 100 to register then ‘the penny dropped’: I was too old to register as they wanted not my age but my year of birth to be between 1965 and 1999!
Now at 57 I fully accept that I am probably older than the average parent who takes their children to Hobbledown but I was genuinely shocked that any website has placed an upper age condition on registration. Do they not want older parents (let alone grandparents) to bring their children there or is it that they just don’t think anyone over 48 uses the Internet?
I think I’ll go there tomorrow (with my Zimmer frame of course!) just to ask what they intend to do about my feelings of outrage. I suspect I know the answer…..