One thing I enjoy about living in Taipei, especially having twin 6-year olds, is the relatively easy and inexpensive access to family-friendly day trips. Unfortunately, it usually takes some Chinese literacy and knowledge of local online BBSes to find and register for upcoming trips, so if you are like me and lack fluency, make a friend who can help. Trips are typically arranged ‘Groupon-style’. A mother will post a message on a blog or forums community, like BabyHome, saying that she wants to go to X place and offering to arrange transportation (usually a chartered bus), group tickets, and a prepared meal for Y dollars if Z amount of people commit. Typical prices range from NT$500-$1000/person (US$15-30) and often include multiple stops.
And it is by this method that I ended up at Weichuan Pushin Ranch in Taoyuan County, an hour’s drive outside of Taipei. If you’re a resident of Taiwan then you know who Weichuan is. If you live outside the country, it’s one of the largest (if not the largest) Taiwanese producer of snacks & condiments. They also produce milk and milk products, so the fact that they have a tourist ranch makes sense.
The Weichuan Ranch has everything you would expect from a tourist ranch like cows you can milk, lassos you can toss, sheep you can pet, and horses you can ride.
There is also a huge barbecue area with plenty of benches and grills between each if you want to cook your own for lunch. There are also condos on the grounds that you can lease for an overnight stay and a driving range if you get bored with the animals.
For both me and my kids the highlight of the day was the cowboy show in which a rancher demonstrated corralling some sheep. This was followed half an hour later by something even more awesome: a goat race through an obstacle course!
As sure-footed as a…
…well, maybe not.
What’s more awesome then a goat race?
That’s right. Pig racing! With both the goat and pig races you could place ‘bets’ with raffle tickets. You place your raffle ticket into the numbered box of the corresponding animal you want to win. Post-race tickets are picked from the winner’s box.
This was a really fun trip and both my kids and I enjoyed ourselves. Is it worth going? Well, if your child is still young enough to want to be a cowboy when he or she grows up, then the answer is a definite ‘yes’. Heck, it’s worth it just for the pig racing. It’s not quite at the scale of the Flying Cow Ranch, but it has it’s own unique activities that make it worth a visit.
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