Spring is here, and it's time to get out of the house and breathe in some fresh air. What better way to celebrate the season than visiting some baby animals on a farm? Your children can crack corn, collect eggs, see baby pigs, goats, and sheep, and even learn how cheese and bread are made. Here some of our favorite farms with baby animals in NJ.
Northern New Jersey
Abma’s Farm – Wyckoff
Head to Abma’s Farm for a quaint farm experience. The family staff at the farm welcome 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.
Alstede Farms – Chester
Alstede is a great place to bring the family year round, and offers everything from fresh produce to Christmas trees. It also has a baby animal tour for children. A scenic hay wagon ride brings everyone to a heated barn, where you will visit all the babies. Children can pet ducklings and visit baby goats, pigs, cows, lambs, and more.
Brookhollow's Barnyard – Boonton
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. Many baby animals arrive throughout the spring and early summer. Other activities include pedal tractors and a “cow train” ride. The farm also offers birthday parties and weekly summer camps for kids.
Fosterfields Living Historical Farm – Morris
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 and 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.
You can rent two baby chicks for two weeks from Sparta Mountain Farm.
Sparta Mountain Farm – Oak Ridge
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. In addition, the farm also offers llama treks. Participants will learn about these beautiful animals as they take part in a one-hour walking tour of the farm.
Valley Shepherd Creamery – Long Valley
This is the place to see everything sheep. Starting in May, 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.
Central New Jersey
A baby alpaca at Bluebird.
Bluebird Farm Alpacas – Peapack
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 herd. Visits are by reservation only or during one of the farm's special events.
Bobolink Dairy – Milford
Bobolink Dairy has moved from its old location in Vernon to Milford, but it still raises grass-fed cows and produces outstanding cheeses and wood-fired breads. You can sign up for Farm Tours and show your kids where the cows pasture, see where the bread is made, and taste the different cheeses.
Terhune Orchards – Princeton
Terhune Orchards is a fantastic location for a day of family fun on the farm. While it does not advertise 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 is also host to some great events coming up in the warmer months.
Make friends with a skunk at Funny Farm.
Funny Farm Rescue Animal Sanctuary – Mays Landing
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 Tuesdays and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Johnson’s Locust Hall Farm – Jobstown
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.
Originally published 2014; updated for 2017.
Top photo: Get up close with a calf at Funny Farm. Photos courtesy of the farms.