See Baby Animals at Petting Zoos and Family Farms in NJ

Make friends with the bunnies at Abma's Farm. Photo courtesy of the farm
Make friends with the bunnies at Abma's Farm. Photo courtesy of the farm

Get outdoors while visiting cute, cuddly baby animals and barnyard pets on a local farm or New Jersey petting zoo. In addition to seeing chicks, calves, lambs, bunnies, and piglets, kids can often pick their own fruits and vegetables at these Garden State farms. Some even host events where kids can watch cows being milked or another farmstead demonstration, such as learning how cheese and bread are made.

Some offer full petting zoos, as well as wagon rides and pick-your-own fruits and vegetables. Read on for more than a dozen of our favorite NJ petting zoos, and don't forget you can also meet barnyard and other animals at several of New Jersey's zoos.

Editor's note: While we are trying to promote safer activities that occur outdoors or with social distancing guidelines in place, please keep your family and others safe by always wearing a mask and practicing social distancing. If you arrive at an event that appears too crowded, try using the “nearby” search feature on our Event Calendar to find something else to do.

Northern New Jersey Petting Zoos

Abma’s Farm – Wyckoff

2021 update: Barnyard tickets are sold exclusively online and in specific time slots. Pony rides are temporarily unavailable due to COVID.
Head to Abma’s for a quaint farm experience. The family staff welcomes everyone to visit and feed their cows, goats, bunnies, and more friendly farm animals. Head into the market to purchase crackers to feed some of the animals, or grab a sandwich, cookie, soup, and other delicious treats for yourself and the kids. The barnyard is open every day but Sunday. On Wednesdays, grandparents can enjoy FREE admission.

Fosterfields Living Historical Farm – Morristown

2021 update: Open for in-person farm tours with online reservations through Sunday, October 31.
Fosterfields Living Historical Farm functions exactly as it did at the turn of the 20th century. This is no petting zoo, but kids can see exactly how the animals were raised in the olden days. They can watch pigs, sheep, horses, and donkeys in the fields and pens. Kids can also crack corn and feed the chickens, and they can even go into the hen house to collect eggs at the end of the day. Bear in mind that the animals are just a small part of the farm, and kids are expected to help out with other chores such as pumping water, doing laundry, churning butter, and much more.

RELATED: Spring Fun Guide for New Jersey Kids

Alstede Farms petting zoo
Learn how to handle and care for many different animals at Alstede Farms.

Alstede Farms – Chester

2021 update: Farm area and animals are available for visitors, including feeding stations. Online reservations are required for pick-your-own.
Alstede is a great place to bring the family year-round, and it offers everything from fresh produce to Christmas trees. There is always a seasonal fruit to pick, and the barnyard animals meet you right at the parking lot! It also has a baby animal tour for children: A scenic hayride brings everyone to a heated barn, where you can visit all the babies. Children can pet ducklings and visit baby goats, pigs, cows, lambs, and more. There are pony rides during certain seasons, too! You can purchase feed bags filled with veggies to feed the animals.

RELATED: 10 Best Farms for Family Fun and Entertainment in NJ

Alpacas at Brookhollows Barnyard
Go on a walk through or drive-thru at Brookhollow's Barnyard in Boonton.

Brookhollow's Barnyard – Boonton

2021 update: The walk-through farm opens for the season on Saturday, May 1. Book tickets online. Separate tickets are available for festival days.
Brookhollow's Barnyard is a small petting farm where kids can interact with animals such as alpacas, llamas, sheep, goats, ponies, donkeys, chickens, peafowl, ducks, and miniature horses. Its unique bucket-and-shovel method of safety-first feeding ensures little fingers are never too close to the animals’ chompers. Many baby animals arrive throughout the spring and early summer. Other activities include a playground and seasonal fun from egg hunts to a pumpkin patch. The farm also offers birthday parties and weekly summer camps for kids. The barn here typically opens its doors in May and closes for the season following Halloween.

The Barnyard Sanctuary – Columbia

2021 update: Temporarily closed to visitors due to COVID-19
The Barnyard Sanctuary is a safe place where animals are rescued, rehabilitated, and re-homed. Currently, the property is home to more than 720 rescued farm animals, including horses, donkeys, mules, cows, water buffalo, sheep, goats, llamas, alpacas, emus, pot-bellied pigs, farm hogs, and many birds. This unique place is open to visitors, but you must schedule an appointment to visit. Open Monday through Friday between 9am and 3pm or Saturday from 9am-noon. If you’ve been thinking about adding to your family (by two or four feet), the farm has an ‘Adopt Me’ program and a very vigilant vetting process to ensure its animals and adopters are ideally matched.

RELATED: Step Back in Time at NJ's Living History Farms

In non-COVID times, you can rent two baby chicks for two weeks from Sparta Mountain Farm.

Sparta Mountain Farm – Oak Ridge

2021 update: Rent-a-chick is not available this year.
Looking for a real hands-on experience for your family? Sparta Mountain Farm's popular rent-a-chick program allows families to rent two newly hatched chicks or ducklings for two weeks during the early spring. Kids will learn how these adorable creatures grow and how to care for them during this unique experience. Though the farm doesn’t currently provide public tours, you can call or email in advance to schedule a visit at your convenience.

Valley Shepherd Creamery – Long Valley

This is the place to see everything sheep. Starting in April, the farm offers weekend spring and summer lambing tours, during which kids can see hundreds of lambs. It also offers milk and cheese tours in the fall, where you can learn how cheeses are made, see the milking and cheese-making process, and enjoy tastings. Check the tour schedule online to see what is offered seasonally.

RELATED: Spring Festivals for New Jersey Kids and Families

Visit the gentle alpacas at Bluebird.

Central New Jersey Petting Zoos

Bluebird Farm Alpacas – Peapack

2021 update: Open on weekends by reservation only.
The Bluebird Farm Alpacas is a unique type of petting zoo, with an 11-acre farm situated in the Somerset Hills. On a visit, you are encouraged to take pictures and meet and interact with the farm's cuddly herd. Visits are by reservation only, or you can attend one of the farm's open farm days.

10 Lil' Acre Rescued Animal Farm – Old Bridge

2021 update: Open weekends, and tickets must be bought online.
Bring your family to 10 Lil' Acre Rescued Animal Farm to meet rescued animals like bunnies, ponies, ducks, pigs, sheep, cows, horses, and more. Learn how to care for them and buy a bag of food to try feeding them yourself. Pony rides can be added to your petting zoo ticket purchase.

Allaire Community Farm – Wall

The Allaire Community Farm is operated and supported by more than 200 volunteers year-round and is home to many rescued animals, from goats to horses to ducks. Walk around the farm, say hello to the furry and feathered friends, and buy a bag of food to feed the animals. The farm is closed to visitors on Mondays. For an additional fee, you can ride the ponies on the weekends.

Bobolink Dairy – Milford

2021 update: Farm tours are by reservation only, and group sizes are limited to 12 or less. Classes are canceled at this time.
Bobolink Dairy raises grass-fed cows and produces outstanding cheeses and wood-fired bread. Show your kids where the cow pasture, see where the bread is made, and taste the different cheeses during farm tours.

Doyle's Farm – Flemington

Book a tour at Doyle's Farm, and you'll get to experience a bunch of fun farm activities, including meeting farm animals like cows, sheep, goats, chicken, bunnies, pigs, and donkeys. Learn their purpose on the farm and the differences between breeds. In the spring, you can go on hayrides, learn (and try!) goat milking, collect eggs from the coop, have a try at hand-feeding the sheep and goats, plant seeds, and more.

RELATED: 25 Spring Day Trips for New Jersey Families

Terhune Orchards is home to friendly horses
Meet the gentle resident horse and other friendly animals at Terhune Orchards.

Terhune Orchards – Princeton

Terhune Orchards is a fantastic location for a day of family fun on the farm. While it does not advertise itself as a petting zoo, it does welcome visitors to meet and feed the animals living on the farm. The barnyard animals include sheep, chickens, a horse, a friendly duck named “Egg,” and more. Terhune has a great walking path for visitors and hosts fun events in the warmer months.

South Jersey Petting Zoos

Creamy Acres – Mullica Hill

Go on a Barnyard Walk at this working dairy farm to see the animals frolic and play on the farm. Meet Elmer the donkey or visit the nursery of baby calves and baby goats. The Barnyard Walk is open this spring, Wednesdays through Saturdays, from 10am-4pm.

Funny Farm Rescue Animal Sanctuary – Mays Landing

2021 update: This farm has reopened to the public with some new rules in place.
As a charity organization, Funny Farm Rescue has made it a goal to provide food, shelter, medical care, and love to unwanted farm, exotic, and domesticated animals for their entire lives. Visiting times for this special environment are Sundays and Tuesdays from 8am-4pm, and you can purchase food to feed the animals any time of the day in its on-site store.

Johnson's Corner Farm – Medford

2021 update: Open for the season. The Discovery Barn and Animal Farm have limited capacity. Season passes are available. Make reservations in advance for U-pick and events.
This popular NJ farm offers year-round family entertainment, including an outdoor fun park for kids, splash pads, and a barnyard with friendly animals, including cows, ducks, goats, sheep, mini donkeys, and chickens. Admission to the barnyard area typically comes with the price of access to the play area that has climbing, slides, pretend play, go-karts, and more. There is plenty of year-round pick-your-own happening at Johnson's Corner Farm, too, including strawberries, apples, and pumpkins.

Johnson’s Locust Hall Farm – Jobstown

2021 update: Opens for the season on May 24. No reservations required to see the animals.
Head to this historic, 315-acre farm—built 100 years before the 13 colonies became a nation—and step back in time. You will have the chance to meet and feed the goats, sheep, and chickens, and there is a perfect view from the animal farm to the pasture and side yard, where the cows and ponies hang out. Visit the animal farm Friday, Saturday and Sundays from 10am-5pm. 

Lots of Love Farm – Williamtown

This animal rescue farm offers a petting zoo and pony rides so kids can get a taste of farm life. No appointment is necessary during typical public hours. See the baby goats, chicks, sheep, and bunnies.

This post, originally published in 2014, is updated annually. All photos courtesy of the farms

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