Family Friendly Honey Farm
One of the insects that I have always been nervous around are bees. Even though I don’t have an allergy, when I see the black and yellow or hear the buzzing my anxiety level rises.
So why would I suggest checking out an apiary? Well, the fruits of their labour are sweet, sticky and delicious and they are actually very cool to watch.
Last week we took the kids to a local apiary called Clovermead. This particular Apiary is not only a bee farm but it's also an “Adventure Farm” . There are lots of activities there that make this type of outing not only fun but also provides educational and physical activities for the kids aswell. There are displays showing honey producing equipment both historical and modern day as well a bee hives. There is also lots of information available on bees and the honey making process. The staff is very friendly want to make sure that everyone has the best experience possible.
Before you even enter the adventure farm, one of the cool features that my kids loved was the washrooms. The walls of the washroom are real beehives which are enclosed in plexiglass with a tube leading outside for the bees to come and go. You can watch them crawling around filling the honeycombs which my kids thought was really cool.
Shortly after we arrived the owner (and beekeeper) Chris Hiemstra was opening a bee hive. We walked into a small building and in the center surrounded by a net screen was Mr. Hiemstra holding a honeycomb just removed from the hive. He was open to answer any questions and he showed the kids a new bee coming out of the comb. You don’t get much more connected with nature than actually seeing the production of one of nature’s sweetest gifts. This type of experience also reminds us how everything in nature, including those ‘pesky’ bees, play such an important part in the world we all share.
At this particular farm there were a variety animals too, like chickens, a peacock, sheep and a host of others to view and interact with and the kids especially loved feeding the goats. Just a little taste of London’s countryside. The kids also had a blast jumping on the giant jumping pillow, racing rubber ducks and zooming down the zip line. And one of the kid’s favorite activities was the pedal carts that they could drive and race around the track under their own power.
Another cool thing about Clovermead is the “BeeTown” that they have created. Many of the buildings have been built using recycled material from around the Aylmer area (one of them is from our family farm). They take down old barns and buildings no longer used and restore them or reuse their materials to create these old fashion looking buildings. To me this is just another way that the owners of Clovermead show environmental awareness and pride in their local area.
Clovermead is a great destination and a wonderful experience for the kids. They have some great events (bee beard competition) and a wonderful fall festival. They also have a cute gift shop where they not only sell little trinkets but all of their honey and spreads (which are also available to sample).
Apiaries like this are a fun and unique place to visit and explore. As well they help us understand and gain an important respect for a potentially intimidating insect that serves a much greater purpose than we think about most of the time.
Looking for a unique summer activity that combines fun, education and physical activity in a welcoming and kid friendly outdoor environment? Then why not take a trip down to Clovermead Apiary and Adventure Farm. Located just 30 minutes southeast of London, Ontario.
Check out the following list to find an Ontario Apiary near your city.
honey photo courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net