territory Getting close to animals and nature on the farm is an unforgettable experience for both children and adults. A selection of facilities in the region with programs for families.
It smells of hay and pastures, roosters crow, pigs frolic in the barn and goats bleat. On farms, nature is within reach. Everywhere there is something to stroke, feed and smell. Many farms give an insight into the farmers’ work and everyday life on a farm, mostly with an educational approach. This is often an unforgettable experience for children. An overview of where this is possible in Bonn and the region.
■Leyenhof: The history of the Leyenhof in Bonn-Friesdorf goes back at least to the 15th century: at that time it belonged to the Siegburg Benedictine monastery, which gave it as a fief. The later owner von der Leyen eventually gave the farm his name. Only the half-timbered house behind the street wall has survived from Leyenhof’s earlier times.
Leyenhof not only has a lot to offer historically. There are guided tours about organic farming for school classes, kindergarten groups or conferences. “The tours are best in the summer months,” says Leyenhof owner Vicky Jacobs. “We still offer some in October, but they are already fully booked.” It will then continue in May 2023. There will be an open tour on Saturday 8 October from 11.00 to 12.00 (participation possible without registration).
The Leyenhof is home to rabbits, three goats and a flock of sheep. According to Jacobs, the sheep are very trusting. “It’s an experience that children rarely have,” she says. “In addition, the children go through the entire site on the guided tours and can try everything that grows in the field. In this way, they also get to know new vegetables and find out what is in season.” It is also about the basics of organic farming. For example, that instead of chemical agents for plant protection, organic fertilizers and beneficial insects are used.
Leyenhof also offers a delivery service for organic products from its own nursery and from partners in the region.
■Education and meeting farmstead talk Alfter: The teaching and meeting place in Alfter is not a farm in the traditional sense. There are a number of offers so that children do not lose contact with nature. For the owner Ulrike Kreysa is certain: Alienation from nature has a negative effect on emotional, motor and cognitive development. To promote this, her farm has a number of different learning and experience spaces which aim to raise awareness of the environment and agricultural processes – whether in the barn and on the pasture, in the garden or in the field.
“We offer animal-assisted interventions, farm education projects and natural recreational activities on our farm,” says Kreysa. For example, children learn about the importance of agriculture in everyday life. Sustainable learning with all the senses enables participation in the daily care of the animals or in sowing, tending or harvesting the plants in the field. At the same time, the children expand their social skills through joint activities and interaction with the animals.
“We have guinea pigs, chickens, five sheep, six goats, horses, cats and dogs. They are all used to people,’ says Kreysa. “They are really trained therapy animals.”
The farm does not have specific opening hours. “We’re here and we’re working, but we’re busy with animal care and everything,” Kreysa says. “And then we have groups here, so you can’t just drop by here, but only if you sign up for an offer in advance.” The offer is not only aimed at children. According to Kreysa, there is also a dementia project i.a.
■Farm Schiefelbusch in Lohmar: Visitors to the Schiefelbusch farm in Lohmar also get a comprehensive insight. The program includes farm tours and workshops for kindergartens and school classes. The trained staff at the farm explain everything about working in agriculture, such as how grain turns into bread or milk into cheese. Depending on the time, it is possible to participate in the milking and pick strawberries or asparagus depending on the season.
One focus is on visitors being able to experience agriculture up close. Therefore, the farm offers a wide range of games and activities related to agriculture, including a corn maze. The farm also organizes children’s birthday parties. Information boards and direct application examples of sustainable agriculture, such as lark fields, convey knowledge about nature and modern agriculture.
■Krewelshof in Lohmar:
Corn maze, skating rink and pumpkin displays: all this is available at the Krewelshof in Lohmar. The focus is on movement: In the family’s barn with play park, it is possible to drive trampgo karts and jump on the trampoline or bouncy castle. A corn maze is set up in the yard from July to November.
In autumn, everything revolves around the pumpkin show at Krewelshof. The highlight is a large pyramid made of pumpkins in the middle of the yard. The orange vegetables are also the focus of the pumpkin carving. Every weekend in September and October, children and adults can create their own pumpkin figures from 2pm to 5pm. This costs 6.90 euros per pumpkin. According to marketing manager Najla A. Nabout, the goal is to break the record for the largest pumpkin carving street in North Rhine-Westphalia. “The more kids and families that participate, the longer our pumpkin carving street will be,” she says.
Krewelshof is also home to animals. The visitor room offers the opportunity to see goats or visit donkeys. Krewelshof also provides information worth knowing: for example, how fresh and soft cheese is made from goat’s milk. Showcases, information posters, guided tours and cheese workshops give visitors an insight into the farm’s cheese production. Every day it is possible to look into the cheese dairy from the outside and follow every single production step.
In addition, guided herbal tours or herbal seminars with the workshop “Make your own herbal salts, oils and vinegars” are held for small groups several times a year. Krewelshof has other locations in Prüm and Mechernich-Obergartzem.