Technically Ashley Park isn’t in Wanganui. In fact it isn’t in the Whanganui district. It just squeaks into Taranaki. Nonetheless, this wee gem of a place is a mere 20 minute drive from Whanganui so it makes my cut.
Ashley Park has something for all the family. Lots of farm animals for the kids to feed, with some more exotic animals like alpacas and ostriches as well. A bird aviary. Mini golf. A small playground. Petanque. An antique shop. Tearooms. A museum of curiosities and antiques. Picnic areas. Wide open spaces to run around. Tranquil walks around the park and lake. There’s even a wide range of on-site accommodation for those who want to make the most of all the facilities (my family are already talking about staying there together over a long weekend…).
And hey, parents? It’s cheap!
At the time of writing (May 2014) it costs $5 for adults and $1 for children for access to the Park, lake, birds and animals. Entry to the museum is a little more. My 15 month old got in for free, which was really kind of the park owner. A bag of food pellets for the animals is $1, and quite generously sized too – which is just as well as there are so many cute animals to feed. Compared with similar animal/petting zoo places, I reckon Ashley Park is a bargain. If you’re on a budget there’s plenty here to keep the kids happy for several hours, and with plenty of beauty spots to have a picnic your visit doesn’t have to cost you much more than the entry fee and a bag of animal food.
I went with my daughter, husband, my parents and mother-in-law, and each one of us thoroughly enjoyed visiting Ashley Park. Sausage was soooo excited to see the animals (chickens and sheep roaming free = toddler’s mind blown). All of us loved feeding the animals and looking at the birds in the aviary. My Dad kept going on about how much he was loving just being out in the fresh country air. I enjoyed the beautiful walk down to the lake and my mother-in-law was impressed with the homestead and the gardens.
We tucked into a Devonshire tea at the tea shop after our walk, which proved to be so delicious another round of scones was ordered. Thanks Ashley Park – we’ll be back!
* I have no affiliation with Ashley Park. All opinions expressed are my own. Go visit! You won’t be disappointed.