Visiting Farms, Nature Centers, and Zoos!
I love animals. Honestly, sometimes, I feel they get me more than humans. But beyond that, visiting, farms, nature centers and zoos teaches valuable life lessons to my little one as well as a hands on experience far better than watching about animals on the television. These place are an awesome hands on educational experience! Our list is always growing as we continue our adventures. However, here are a few of the ones we have visited so far! FYI these are all personal opinions and I was not compensated in any way to write about the places below.
- Sprout Creek Farm Poughkeepsie, NY (https://sproutcreekfarm.org/)-
We love this farm. My daughter can run free with the chickens and ducks and that alone is awesome. There are also pigs, goats, cows, donkeys and barn cats to name the main cast of characters. Abby actually kissed one of the goats and gave her a hug the last time we were there. Baby goat season is too adorable for words. If you are lucky, you may even get a chance to interact with the babies! We were one of the lucky ones! They have events there and a summer camp that my daughter is still too young to attend. The last event there, had a bounce house, hay-ride and vendors. So it had everything. But, we like going during week when it is nice and quiet too.
They also have a gift shop and the cheese rocks. Any place with awesome cheese gets our vote! I believe our favorite cheese is the Lacey cheese.
- Stony Kill Foundation, Wappingers Falls NY (http://stonykill.org/)
In addition, this is also another great place for other reasons. They have adorable cows and one that reminds me of Elvis that we have pet. They have sheep, pigs, chickens etc. We have fed the pigs from over a high wall. I don’t want to be pig food and you can’t chase the chickens. They also have a lot of cool events throughout the year. We went on a tractor ride at a special event. They also have a lovely butterfly festival too. Stony Kill also has walking trails. We have lovely memories of going through the mud and oh, the epic face plant running on the connector road or mommy doing yoga in their gardens. There is a cute preschool program we have attended a couple of times also.
- Lily Moore Farm, Pleasant Valley NY (https://www.lilymoorefarm.com/)-
All I have to say is story-time is epic here. They have a different animal at story-time each week that resides at their farm and last time we were there for story-time, they had a borrow a book going on. Sorry, we need to give our book back. We are a tad behind.
Anyways, their main gig is Alpacas. I love them. They have the best personalities. They also have chickens and ducks, barn kitties and I have seen horses as well here. If I am forgetting any animals, I apologize. The Alpacas have my heart here. Abby can feed them and the chickens and ducks too. My epic disaster memory here is Abby telling me she has to potty and as she said it, she peed all over me in ridiculously hot weather. All I had to put on were these ugly mom jeans from 1985 that were really hot and about two sizes too small in the waist bound for the donation bin. This all happened about five minutes after arriving.
- Forsyth Nature Center, Kingston, NY(http://forsythnaturecenter.org/)-
Here, they have all types of animals. They even have little cards with the food preferences of each animal so you can either prepare for the next time, or feed them whatever you brought as long as it’s an approved food. Have you ever seen a goat chewing bubblegum? Silly image. They also have programs and we spent a lot of time going around the loop looking and interacting with the animals.
When my daughter got bored and needed a break, we went to their awesome playground. On Fridays, there is a guy that is DJing right next to the playground. I’m not sure if it is any every Friday thing or just happened that one time. I was told he is usually there on Fridays. However, I liked that there are also a couple of walking trails. The day we went it was like 90 plus degrees outside and we were sweltering!
- Noah’s Ark Retreat, Goshen, NY (http://noahsparkretreat.org/)-
Now this place is a suggested donation and they completely deserve it. They have the usual farm animals and exotics. We all started our tour by sitting in the community room and got to meet all kinds of animals. Many we were even allowed to pet and hold. Then, they take you on a tour of some other rooms inside before the outside tour. We were greeted by two animals outside and one was an adorable donkey that had a moment with me. Lastly, we went and toured all the other animals and Abby even came face to face with an Emu. Call or text first as reservations are needed in advance. We went with our good friends and were joined by a handful of people we didn’t know.
In addition, even if you aren’t in the area, just ask around. Join groups online, or google it! There are farms, nature centers and zoos everywhere waiting for you to visit and explore!
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