Growing up in a farming family, I’m a big advocate of my kids knowing where their food comes from. They know that many of Grandpa’s cows are sold to become meat. They know we eat chickens and fish and pigs. And, thanks to our trip to the Eco-Dairy with Kidsworld, they now know all about where milk comes from too.
The Eco-Dairy is kid-friendly demonstration farm in Abbotsford, run in partnership with ScienceWorld. It smelled like a farm as soon as we stepped out of the van—a familiar, homey smell to me, though the girls didn’t have quite the same reaction. There’s a farm market there as well, where you can buy fresh, local produce.
We headed into the Eco-Dairy, eager to find out more about the cows and the milk. It’s a big, bright building with lots to look at while waiting for the next tour. The girls were soon learning how to milk a cow and trying to decide which poop sample belonged to which animal. (The poop was behind glass. And it was probably plastic. I think.)
After we’d read about where the cows slept and what they eat, our tour guide arrived to take us into the barn. He gave us a few quick safety rules before we stepped through the doors to meet the cows. I think this was Pearl’s favourite part—she kept pointing at the cows and shrieking. If I’d put her down, she would probably have run right up to them.
We got to see how the cows milk themselves… almost. The Eco-Dairy has an innovative robot milker so that the cows simply wander in whenever they feel like getting milked. The milking machine hooks itself up and when they’re done, they get a treat. (The milking machine also reads their tags, so they can’t just keep going for treats.) There were three cows patiently waiting for their turn at the milker when we walked past.
For the girls, it was all new and interesting. For me, it was interesting to see how the Eco-Dairy differed from the dairy my brothers’ worked in when we were growing up. They would have appreciated the robot milker, instead of having to wake up early in the morning to get the cows milked.
After seeing the cows, we wandered upstairs to find the play area. The Eco-Dairy has an amazing selection of farm-themed toys, from puzzles to books to tractors to a mini market. Sunshine was soon selling ice cream to her friends while Jade herded the cows into the barn and Jade simply sat in a box.
Baby-friendly: Yes. The Eco-Dairy had baby changing stations in the washrooms. I wouldn’t take a stroller, but the dairy is fairly small so it wasn’t a problem to carry Pearl. There were lots of things even for her to play with and touch throughout the dairy.
Kid-friendly: Yes! The girls really enjoyed the interactive farm activities, both in the foyer and upstairs, before and after our tour. The guide was really friendly and cheerful and answered the kids’ questions.
Fees: A family rate is $25. We spent just over an hour there, including the tour and playtime.
The Eco-Dairy welcomes community and school groups. They also offer workshops and camps, and host birthday parties. Located just off the Trans-Canada Highway in Abbotsford, the Eco-Dairy is also easy to get to. For more about their programs, or to plan your visit, drop by the website.
We visited the Eco-Dairy as part of the Kidsworld program. The girls have enjoyed various activities around Vancouver every weekend with their passes. Summer Kidsworld passes are now on sale! Get the most out of Vancouver in July and August as your pass takes you to an exciting new destination every day. For a full calendar of events and to buy your pass, drop by the Kidsworld website.
I received complimentary Kidsworld passes for Sunshine and Lily through the Healthy Family Expo blog ambassador program this year; all opinions expressed are my own.