Farms and Petting Zoos Around Boston: See Animals Up Close

Kids can see (and sometimes touch!) animals up close at Greater Boston's farms and petting zoos! Photo credit: Davis Farmland Sterling, MA
Kids can see (and sometimes touch!) animals up close at Greater Boston's farms and petting zoos! Photo credit: Davis Farmland Sterling, MA
4/12/24 - By Elyse Andrews

Farms and petting zoos are fun for all ages. Most kids (and adults, too!) get super excited to see animals up close. How can anyone resist? Luckily, there are some great local animal farms near Boston that are the perfect places for kids to visit. In some cases, kids can interact with some cute, furry creatures. Check out all the best petting zoos near Boston and the suburbs to meet llamas, cows, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, and other gentle farm animals. 

For more fun on Boston-area farms, don't miss our Farms and Pick Your Own Guide for Boston Familie to play, pick, grab an ice cream, and more! 


Farms and Petting Zoos Around Boston

1. Connors Farm—Danvers

Connors Farm is known for the great area where little ones can pet and feed barnyard friends. There's also a special spot designated just for farm babies. Please note that the farm stand and playground area are currently closed. Call ahead to find out if the pet and feed area is open. This is a wonderful place to experience seasonal family fun. Connors Farm opens for the season on May 30. 

2. Davis Farmland—Sterling

Plan an entire day to visit to Davis Farmland because this place is massive. For little animal lovers, there are multiple areas to interact with furry friends. There's a special pen to play with and hold baby goats, a shed with kittens and bunnies—beware they are up for adoption and hard to resist. There's also a wide-open grass area where little ones can feed goats, chickens, and other free-roaming animals. While the animals are the main attraction, the farm also features a bounce pillow, multiple playgrounds, a tiny play town, seasonal u-picks, a splash pad in the summer, and the Davis Farm Mega Maze in the Fall. The farm is open Wednesdays through Sundays, and advanced online ticket purchases are required.

Image of kids at Parlee Farms - Farms and Petting Zoos Around Boston 
Annie's Animal Barn at Parlee Farms has 90 animals to meet. Photo courtesy of the farm

3. Parlee Farms—Tyngsborough

Open seasonally, this petting zoo near Boston is most known for its extensive u-pick operations. Throughout the summer and fall, Parlee has strawberries, cherries, blueberries, peaches, apples, pumpkins, and even flowers. The on-site Annie’s Animal Barn has 90 animals, like goats, chickens, and bunnies, which are available for petting and feeding. The highlight is a "goat walk," aka "Annie's Goats in the Trees," where you can send goat food up a platform to feed the goats in the treetops! Animal food cups cost $1. Social distancing around the pens will be monitored.

4. Great Brook Farm State Park—Carlisle

Most state parks offer hiking, a pond or lake, and a place to picnic. Great Brook Farm State Park in Carlisle has all that and much more because it’s also a working farm. Visit the Holstein cow barn and take. a tour to see a working dairy farm in action. Round out the day by snagging a scoop of ice cream from the on-site shop. 

Image of kids petting a horse - Farms and Petting Zoos Around Boston
There are some stunning animals—and great photo ops!—at Boston petting zoos and farms.

5. Unity Farm Animal Sanctuary—Sherborn

This wonderful, non-profit facility is dedicated to rescuing farm animals and educating the public, especially children, about their importance and care. It holds scheduled tours and meet-and-greets of various animals, including alpacas, cows, dogs, donkeys, goats, ponies, sheep, and more. The farm also holds a variety of programs throughout the year, like Storytime with Animals, in which kids can enjoy a story followed by a tour complete with various animal encounters. For people who cannot visit the farm, there are live cams of animals available on Unity Farm's website.

6. Green Hill Park Farm—Worcester

The farm at Green Hill Park in Worcester has a variety of animals, including sheep, pigs, goats, and llamas. Green Hill Park Farm also has ducks, peacocks, and pheasant. Unfortunately the kids can't feed the animals. But the best part? The farm is FREE for families! This animal encounter spot is only an hour out of Boston.

7. Winslow Farm Animal Sanctuary—Norton

Another non-profit animal sanctuary, Winslow Farm welcomes visitors throughout the year to come say hello to its friendly array of rescued horses, donkeys, sheep, pigs, and more. Most years, there are also fun holiday events around Halloween and Christmas. This animal farm near Boston is open to visitors Fridays and Saturdays.

8. Chip-In Farm—Bedford

The "Farmer's Helpers" at Bedford's Chip-In Farm include rabbits, chickens, goats, sheep, cows, and pigs. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 10am to 5pm, this petting zoo near Boston is located near the intersection of I-95 and Route 2. Stop in to the farm's store to pick up feed for the animals. The store features farm-fresh eggs, produce, as well as local specialties and seasonal treats!

Petting Zoos and Farm Animals at Boston Zoos

9. Southwick Zoo—Mendon

Unique to Southwick Zoo, there is a 35-acre "Deer Forest" where families can roam the paths and get up close to feed the deer. The zoo also boasts a petting zoo area filled with energetic pygmy goats, a pot-bellied pig, and alpacas. For a more exotic interaction, pop into Parakeet Landing to feed parakeets and cockatiels! Advance tickets must be purchased online.

10. Stone Zoo—Stoneham

The Stone Zoo's farm-themed petting zoo (the Barnyard) features chickens, Babydoll Southdown Sheep, and even Nigerian Dwarf Goats. The Barnyard is typically open to families during the warmer months.

11. Animal Adventures Family Zoo and Rescue Center—Bolton

Animal Adventures rescues and cares for exotic pets, providing care for unwanted animals. The Boston-area facility offers some of the most remarkable animal encounters in Greater Boston. The critters kids can encounter range from Brazilian capybaras to alligators and kangaroos. Most of the encounters need to be booked (and paid) in advance, but general admission starts at $16. Animal Adventures also hosts classes, camps, and birthday parties.

12. Franklin Park Zoo—Boston

Franklin Farm is a petting zoo in Boston's Franklin Park Zoo. Open during the warm months, this petting zoo has donkeys, sheep, goats, and even a horse. Franklin Farm petting zoo even has its own barn cat, Waldo, keeping an eye on everything!

This post was originally published on September 18, 2020; updated 2021, 2024.


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