By Olivia Burke

THE weekend is here and the sun is forecast to shine, so why not round up the family and enjoy a visit to a Lancashire farm?

Here are five places which are sure to delight visitors, both young and old.

1. Mrs Dowsons Farm Park ­— Hawkshaw Farm, Longsight Road, Blackburn

Chorley Citizen:

You may have heard of Mrs Dowsons' award-winning ice-cream, so why not go behind the scenes to discover what makes it so tasty?

Visit this real working family-run farm for an educational and exciting day out for all the family.

The 350-acre farmland is home to hundreds of animals, giving you a sneak peek into life on the farm.

Enjoy some fresh air and your favourite animal tales with Strolling Stories, before feeding the goats and alpacas.

Boasting an extensive play area with pedal along tractors, you can unwind with one of Lancashire’s finest ice creams while the children amuse themselves.

Open 7 days a week from 10:30am to 5pm. Entry is £4.95 per person, under twos go free.

2. Farmer Ted's Adventure Farm ­— Worrall House Farm Larder, Flatman's Lane, Ormskirk

Chorley Citizen:

Farmer Teds Adventure Farm is a haven of farmyard fun and resident to some familiar faces ­— the UK’s only Shaun the Sheep Adventure.

Themed activities include Bitzers Kinetic Club House, navigation challenge Moley Moley and reaction game Hog Splash.

You can visit Guinea Pig Village or, for a dose of adrenaline, edge your bets on the fastest ferret in the afternoon race.

Elsewhere at Farmer Ted's, you can observe the incredible aerial acrobatics at the Birds of Prey demonstrations, take a spin on the go-kart circuit, or call in the reptile house.

The outside Adventure Area has one of the UK’s largest Maize Mazes incorporating augmented reality, which really makes this a farm of the future. With fun for all ages, the attraction also offers indoor archery as well as an array of outdoor jumping pillows. You would be BAA-rmy to miss this!

Open daily from 10am-6pm. Adult tickets £10.50, £13.25 for children, £7.75 for under threes, under ones go free.

3. Smithills Open Farm ­— Smithills Dean Road, Bolton

Chorley Citizen:

There’s plenty to see and do at Smithills Open Farm, which is home to 25 different residents including pigs, owls, meerkats and skunks.

Situated just outside of Bolton town centre, get a glimpse of life as a traditional dairy farmer in the Old Milking Barn as well as the opportunity to see more modern methods, like the Robotic Milking Machine.

The family-run farm is also home to some more exotic animals, such as Sika deer, wallaby and pythons.

Get up, close and personal with the animals in Pets' Corner, where it's chock-a-flock with baby chicks, lambs and baby alpacas.

Highly interactive, it proves a perfect learning opportunity for all.

Take a detour down the Donkey Riding Track or enjoy the wide range of homemade dairy products available in the Ice Creamery.

With an inflatable assault course, tractor tour, sandpit and adventure playground, there’s something fun for everyone.

Open 7 days a week from 10am-5pm. Adult tickets £8, £7 for children and OAPS, children under 2 go free

4. Windmill Animal Farm ­— Fish Lane, Burscough, Ormskirk

Chorley Citizen:

Open to the public since 1992, Windmill Animal Farm promises an educational and authentic experience.

Home to one of the largest indoor play barns in the North West, the real working farm also has an extensive play area for Roller Racers and ride-along tractors.

The idyllic and dainty feel of Windmill Animal Farm is enriched further by the 15” gauge miniature railway, which transports visitors across the farm.

Why not disembark at Lake View Station, the perfect picnic spot, or if you’re after some creepy crawlies, relocate to the Reptile Area where Critters2You have taken up residence.

Become acquainted with the new inhabitants, including Jungle Jaguar Pythons, a Yemen Chameleon and a Chilli Rose Tarantula.

Children can bottle feed the baby lambs, stroke some furry friends and feel like a real farmer for the day.

Open daily from 10am-5pm. £7.50 for adult admission, £8.50 for children, under-1s go free.

5. Animal Quackers Petting Farm ­— Huttock Top Farm, Newchurch Old Road, Bacup

Chorley Citizen:

Hear everything you need to know, straight from the horse’s mouth, as resident farmer Terry delivers a guided tour of his grounds whilst introducing you to some fun facts, his favourite animals and available activities.

A truly hands-on experience, visitors can feed the farm animals, cuddle up with chinchillas and witness Harry the Harris Hawks extraordinary tricks in his audience-interactive Bird Show.

Although on the smaller scale, Animal Quackers has character and provides an intimate and informative experience for all the family.

Enjoy a bite to eat or drink in the rustic on-site café, hand feed the goats and even say hi to Hamish the Highland Cow! If you're crackers about animals, Animal Quackers is a great dose of real farm fun.

Open Tuesday to Sunday, 11am-4pm. £4.50 entry or £16 for a family of 4.

6. Lancaster Park and Animal Farm ­— Middleton Road West, Chadderton, Oldham

Head to Lancaster Park and Animal Farm to meet more than 50 species of farm and domesticated animals, many of which they have helped rescue.

Home to American turkeys, Shetland ponies and an eye-catching flock of peafowl, you can even help at bath time with Tilly the Tortoise!

Try your hand at construction in the Digger Corner, test your aim at the Pirate Shootout, or sit back, relax and enjoy the ride on the Caterpillar across the meadow.

Head to the Rooster Rally for a rapid change of pace, as youngsters can speed along the track on a miniature quad bike. The Nature Walk, through the picturesque valley of the River Irk, provides an endearing opportunity to see the animals in their element ­— but you will need to remember your wellies for the wet weather.

Open daily 10am-4pm. Entry is £4 per person, under-1s go free.