There’s nothing quite like getting out of the city and heading to a farm with your little one on a warm spring day. The sounds of sirens are replaced with cock-a-doodle-dos, the smell of bus exhaust with fresh hay, and the urban skyline with A-frame barns. Just a half-hour outside the city, Drumlin Farm in Lincoln is ideal for just such an experience—no matter what the season.
Here are some of my favorite activities at Drumlin:
1. Check out the solar kinetic sculpture. Show kids how the motion of the sculpture can be changed by casting shadows over its solar panels; discuss why that happens.
2. Meander around Bird Hill. Impressive looking local raptors of all kinds take up residence here. Wink back at an owl.
3. Try out your green thumb in the Learning Garden. Get your hands dirty, taste fresh mint and smell baby basil, and learn all about gardening vegetables and composting.
4. Take a hayride. Sit up close to the driver to watch the massive tractor wheels turn in the dirt. Bring a little cash: rides are $2 for adults, $1 for children 2 and over.
5. Check out Tractor Row. There are machines, horns, and diggers galore.
6. Walk through the chicken coop. See the beautiful hens and roosters up close and play with the wooden egg laying game at the end.
7. Weigh yourself in the pig barn. Are you a piglet? Growing pig? Finishing pig? Sow? Boar? (One thing for sure: I’ll never tell.)
8. Play Nature Bingo. How many items can you find?
9. Pack a picnic. Eat outside in one of the designated picnic areas on a sunny day.
10. Pet a sheep. These softies will occasionally stroll to the fence, where you can give a gentle pat to their wool coat.
11. Frolic with a baby goat. These friendly animals come right up to you in their shed or just outside.
12. Measure yourself in the stables. Are you a horse? Or a pony?
13. Groom a "pony" in the red barn. Near the horse stalls, there are saddles to sit on and artificial manes and tails to brush.
14. Pick a long stem of grass and blow on it. The whistling sound delights every time and guarantees a return to childhood summer memories.
15. Don’t miss the bunny, turtle, and red fox habitats. They are smaller than the main attractions and easy to walk past.
16. Notice dew forming on your cheeks in the greenhouse. Why does that happen?
17. Hold a buttercup under your little one’s chin. Does he/she like butter?
18. Dairy Day is June 3rd. Prove to kids that milk doesn't simply come from Stop and Shop.
19. Celebrate your child’s birthday. Gather your group in the cozy pond house or hidden turkey house, reserved exclusively for you.
20. Whether you use your phone or a digital camera, be sure you go with a fully charged battery. You won’t want to miss the endless photo ops!
21. Visit the Audubon gift shop. Check out an excellent selection of birdhouses or snag an ornament for your Christmas tree.
22. Buy fresh farm eggs to cook at home. Quite literally farm to table!
23. Sign up for a Summer Camp week. Sessions run all summer, focus on animal, agricultural, and environmental themes, and allow kids to be more hands-on with the cool things they've seen at the farm.
24. Mark your calendar for Strawberry Picking Day. Learn how berries grow and what animals enjoy them, and, if the early summer climate is cooperating, pick some ripe berries to taste.
25. Hit Dairy Joy on the way home. A day of "hard work" at the farm merits a tasty treat. In our minds, few local spots serve up better soft-serve than this roadside fried clam and hamburger shack right on North Avenue in Weston. Try to chocolate dipped marble twist. Yum.
Drumlin Farm Admission
$9 non-member adults
$6 for non-member children (2-12) and seniors
Note: Discounted admission available at many local libraries
Drumlin Farm is open Tuesday-Sunday year-round, except Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, and New Year's Day.
Closed Mondays except federal Monday holidays.
Occasionally closed to general visitation for special events.
Photo courtesy of Steven & Courtney Johnson & Horwitz via Flickr
Original post in May 2013. Updated May 2017.