Animal Farms and Petting Zoos near Boston
Most little kids get super-excited about some cute and cuddly barnyard fun. Whether you're city folk or farmers-in-training, these local animal farms and petting zoos are the perfect places for kids to visit, and in some cases, interact with some of their favorite furry creature. Check out all the best places near Boston and the suburbs to meet llamas, cows, chickens, pigs, goats, sheep, and other gentle farm animals, here.
2020 update: To monitor capacity, Connors is asking guests to reserve weekend tickets to Family Fun days through November 1, which include admission to its corn maze as well as farm-themed play areas. Weekday visitors can pay as they arrive.
Connors Farm has a great area where your little ones can pet and feed barnyard friends along with a special spot designated just for farm babies. There's also the Kids R OK Coral play area, jumping pillows, hayrides, a train ride around the pond, and more. Along with all the farm fun, there are multiple food shacks around the property, including BBQ, pizza, and kettle corn, as well as a farm stand.
2020 update: The farm is open Thursdays through Sundays in the fall, and advance online ticket purchases are required. Davis Farm Mega Maze is across the street.
You'll want to plan an entire day for your 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—and a wide open grass area where little ones can feed goats, chicken, and other free roaming animals. While the animals are the main attraction, the farm also features seasonal u-picks, a splash pad, bounce pillow, multiple playgrounds, a tiny play town, and more.
Annie's Animal Barn at Parlee Farms has 90 animals to meet. Photo courtesy of the farm
2020 update: There are nine baby goats this season! Animal food cups cost $1. Social distancing around the pens will be monitored.
Open seasonally, Parlee Farms in Tyngsborough 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!
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 got all that and much more because it’s also a working farm. Visit the Holstein cow barn before heading over to the petting zoo, where you’ll find goats, sheep, pigs, chickens, and ducks. Round out the day by snagging a scoop of ice cream from the on-site shop.
Unity Farm Animal Sanctuary—Sherborn
2020 update: For people who cannot visit the farm, there are live cams of animals available on Unity Farm's website.
This wonderful, non-profit facility is dedicated to rescuing farm animals and education 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.
2020 update: Winslow Farm has had to slightly raise admission fees this year to $10-15 for visitors ages 2 and up.
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.
2020 update: Walk-through zoo exhibits are open for visitors Tuesday through Sunday this fall. Advance tickets must be purchased online.
Unique to Southwick Zoo, there is a 35-acre "Deer Forest" where you and your kiddies 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. And if you're looking for a a more exotic interaction, pop into Parakeet Landing to feed parakeets and cockatiels!
Places featured in this article:
Great Brook Farm State Park
Unity Farm Sanctuary
Winslow Farm Animal Sanctuary