For a child, there aren’t many experiences that can compare to exploring life on a farm, whether it’s fishing, gardening, taking a walk with a friendly alpaca, or learning the feeding habits of a piglet or a pony. And if you’re a parent, on the lookout, as summertime approaches, for fun and educational things to do for the littlest members of your family, there’s nothing better than the prospect of a camp or an excursion to a place where kids are able to hike, fish, explore and develop an appreciation for animal life and the great outdoors in a safe and friendly environment.
Animal Lover Experiences at 1870 Farm
The 17-acre 1870 Farm, a property located in some of the prettiest countryside outside of Chapel Hill, is an educational farm dedicated to allowing visitors – big kids and little – to explore and learn how farms work. Campers and visitors alike are able to interact with and learn about goats, sheep, pigs, horses, and chickens as well as some less traditional farm animals: alpacas and llamas. Once a few basic instructions are reviewed upon arrival, group visitors receive a bucket and animal feed, followed by full access to the petting area and fishing pond. Campers take part in hands-on activities involving the care and socialization of farm animals and learn what each animal’s purpose is.
Summer Camp, Toddler Classes and Lupine Preschool
Kids fortunate enough to spend a week or more at 1870 Farm Summer Camp or My Little Farmer Toddler Classes will have fun in an environment entirely focused on animals, kid-appropriate farm activities, and Mother Nature. Campers may collect eggs and build a campfire one day, learn to identify wild plants or animal tracks the next. Half-day or full-day experiences ae available to children ages 5 through 16, and toddlers between 3 and 5 years old. The 1870 Farm Kids’ Vet Club / Junior Vet Academy gives older children an opportunity to explore their love of animals and experience what it might be like to be a veterinarian through a series of workshops and summer camps.
Operating during the traditional September/June school year, the Lupine School for preschoolers focuses on introducing very young children to the natural world around them. Art and music activities are centered on the ebb and flow of the seasons, and outdoor exploration allows kids to develop their own appreciation of nature and community.
Field Trips & Parties
School, family, or special interest groups are able to book 90-minute self-guided sessions at the Farm, with planned activities based on each group’s particular interests. Feed buckets and access to petting pens and the fishing pond are provided, and picnic tables provide plenty of places to sit and enjoy a snack or picnic lunch. Up to three groups may book at a time, as long as Covid restrictions remain in place.
Private parties, events and photography sessions are also available to pre-book.
More Piedmont-Area Educational Farms
Raleigh City Farm
Visitors here at this one-acre downtown Raleigh lot help maintain the farm by participating in the cultivation, weeding, harvesting and distribution of produce to local nonprofit organizations. Visitors learn about regenerative agriculture through workshops and educational events including farm tours and yoga classes.
Spence’s Farm for Kids
Children with a particular interest in horses will thrive on this community farm where differences are celebrated and every child is encouraged to develop communication, teamwork, and cooperation skills. With the aid of mentors, kids learn to face their fears, accept challenges, and work hand-in-hand with animals and nature as they develop a sense of their own value and place in the universe. Pony rides, birthday parties, field trips and camp opportunities are also available.
6407 Millhouse Rd., Chapel Hill, NC 27516 / (919) 968-8581
NC State University’s Agroecology Education Farm
A wide range of resources on topics from building a school garden to farm stewardship (creating sustainable food systems) and permaculture to pollinators are available through this community-based, educational farm. Visitors are invited to participate in volunteer days, club or group visits, farm tours and opportunities to maintain small research lots.
4400 Mid Pines Rd., Raleigh, NC 27603 / Contact Alison Reeves at email@example.com
Changing Tomorrow Farm
This very hands-on farm and recreation center dedicated to environmental education, healthful living and child-centered farm experiences offers track-out camp, after-school care, and birthday parties. All activities are centered on nature, nutrition and the environment.
6312 Cass Holt Road, Holly Springs, NC 27540 / 919-762-7002
Baby goat “snuggling season” is in full swing at this Wake Forest petting zoo and animal rescue center, where Farmer Mary introduces kids to farm animals, their habitats, and their behaviors. The farm also offers a mobile petting zoo, on-site birthday parties, live Nativities at various local venues, and week-long “pet hosting” opportunities. Price per visitor is $10; visits are allowed by appointment only.
12936 Ghoston Road, Wake Forest, NC 27587 / 919-244-1800 / Text Farmer Mary to confirm
For tips on North Carolina Land Sales, NC Land and Farms for Sale in Central North Carolina, NC Farms and Land for Sale, or Financing for NC Land, please contact the professionals at Legacy Farms and Ranches of North Carolina.