Spring is coming, and the baby animals are appearing at local farms.
A few years ago, I took this picture of a 2 week old calf at Farrell-McWhirter. He was shorter than my 3 year old! (Sorry that it’s not a great picture… my son was really ready to go have snack, so we only got a really quick look at the calf… but wow he was cute!)
At any time of year, toddlers love outings to meet farm animals. Lots of children’s books, games, and videos feature farm animals, so kids tend to be familiar with them, and get very excited when they can recognize and name the “real thing.” Seeing and hearing (and smelling) the animals in person make the idea much more real. At farm parks, you can check out chickens, sheep, bunnies, cows, pigs, and goats. Some times you’ll get an opportunity to see fresh eggs in the coop, or see a cow or goat being milked. This is a great outing for a child who has just learned to answer all those vital questions like “What does a cow say?”
For my readers in the Seattle area… here are some free outings:
Farrell McWhirter Park in Redmond. When last I visited (it’s been a while), they had a small pot-bellied pig and a really big pig, bunnies, chickens, 2 goats, a calf and horses. Animals are on view 9 am to 4 pm. It is not a petting zoon – you can’t pet or feed the animals – just see them. They do offer farm classes and pony rides. You can register for programs here. Farrell McWhirter is also home to Nature Vision preschool. There are great hiking trails, streams, swings, and tire swings too.
Kelsey Creek Farm Park in Bellevue. They’ve got sheep, pigs, cows, goats, ponies, bunnies, and chickens. (Learn about their animals.) Again, they’re on view, but this is not a petting zoo and you can’t feed them. It’s free to visit – animals are on view every day from 9 am to 3 pm. They also offer horseback riding and farm classes, including a great program for toddlers called Little Farmers. They also have a nice playground and walking trails. Learn about farm tours and farm classes.
Sammamish Animal Sanctuary. They have alpaca, goats, mini horses, mini donkeys, llama, cows, pigs, sheep, chicken, ducks, bunnies and guinea pigs. For a small donation, you can purchase treats to feed the animals, or you can bring your own spinach or carrots. You do have to make reservations. It is free, but they encourage donations to support their work.
Farms with a Fee:
Red Barn Farm in Redmond. They do farm visits on Wednesdays – you need to reserve. Feed the animals and walk around the farm! Price is $25 per car up to 4 guests. Additional guests beyond 4 are $10 each children under 2 free. They have cats, chickens, dogs, donkeys, ducks, goats, pigs and rabbits. (See pictures.)
Fancy Farm in Fall City. By appointment only. (Check their Facebook page for availability.) $10 per person, or $20 for family for a one hour visit. They have emu, goats, pigs, horses, chickens and ducks. Pony ride for an additional fee. I believe they let you hold / pet the animals.
Remlinger Farms Fun Park in Carnation. Opens for the season on Mother’s Day. They haven’t announced 2023 fees yet – a few years ago, they were ~$20 per person (babies under 1 are free). They have horses, pigs, sheep, alpaca, goats, rabbits and donkeys. They have pony rides for an additional fee. They also have some amusement park style rides, and a train ride. Plus a hay maze and a hay barn to play in.
Woodland Park Zoo in Seattle. Adults $27.00. Kids are $16.50. Under two years is free. By the south entrance, there’s the Family Farm area, which includes a petting zoo where kids can meet goats up close. There’s pigs, goats, sheep, cows, bunnies, chickens, and a donkey. Plus, of course, lots of more exotic animals.
When visiting farm parks: remember bring a change of clothes and shoes for your child! They can get pretty muddy in any of these places. Please teach your children to be calm around animals and gentle. If you’re at a petting zoo, always remember that these are animals – if you stand behind a horse and spook it, you may get kicked. If you annoy a goat, you may get bit. If you stay calm and quiet around petting zoo animals, you’ll do fine.
Updated March 2023.
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