BABIES, BABIES, BABIES!
Spring is here and that means lots of things: longer sunnier days, allergies, candy-filled holidays, breaks from school and, of course, baby farm animals. This is the best time to visit local farms, petting zoos and the like to see new baby goats, lambs, ducklings, little piggies, bunnies and more. The Bay Area doesn’t have a lot of local farms for touring, but if you combine the ones here with the others within a short drive, there are plenty of options. It is recommended that families follow the farms on Instagram or Facebook to get the latest news on which animals will be giving birth soon and when visiting hours are. It’s worth a mention that although both the San Francisco Zoo and the Oakland Zoo have petting zoo areas, it’s unlikely that visitors will see baby animals at these exhibits. Please also remember to wash hands before and after visiting with farm friends, and do not allow children to feed them unless they have been given express permission by caretakers. Please do also take lots of adorable photos. Here are just a few fun places to see the babies of spring.
ARDENWOOD HISTORIC FARM, FREMONT
Ardenwood is a historical farm; it hosts many events every week pertaining to the farm life, and all ages can find some activity to join. The sheep shearing days are great fun with wool crafts, carding, spinning and more. A glance at the East Bay Parks and Rec website will allow families to plan for the many classes, drop-in events and other opportunities to see the workings of the farm, including the new babies that come each spring. Bring a picnic, and plan to get dirty. Ardenwood Historic Farm, 34600 Ardenwood Blvd., Fremont, 510 544-2797, www.ebparks.org
REDWOOD HILL FARM, SEBASTOPOL
Redwood Hill Farm is an absolute treasure, and the Bice family is so hospitable. The farm’s spring visiting days and tours are well worth the drive. There are dozens of baby goats and an enclosure where gentle visitors can cuddle the babies and learn about a variety of goats, including Alpine, Nubian, Lamancha and others. There are opportunities to milk mama goats, feed adult goats leafy branches and do goat-related art projects during some events. Carpools are encouraged, as it’s a smallish space. Picnic tables are provided, and they fill up fast. Directions and visiting information can be found at www.redwoodhill.com
TILDEN PARK LITTLE FARM, BERKELEY
Tilden Park has so many attractions: the train, the carousel, the lakes, the trails. However, in spring, the place to be is the Little Farm. Guests may bring lettuce and celery to feed the sheep, pigs, goats and cows. The bunnies are not to be fed by guests, and the fowl help themselves! The Little Farm often has new piglets for kids to view. One of the best features of Tilden is that it is free to park, and admission is free as well. It’s a winding road to get there, and there is very little cell service, so plan accordingly. This park is significantly more accessible for guests with special mobility needs than many other similar places. Once done cooing over the farm friends, feel free to picnic, hike or play. Tilden Park, Central Park Dr., Berkeley, 510-544-2747, www.ebparks.org
HAPPY HOLLOW PARK & ZOO, SAN JOSE
Happy Hollow is a lot more than a petting zoo; it’s a full-service fun park with puppet shows, rides, wild animals and farm animals. Kids can purchase pellets for a quarter to feed the farm friends, which include mini horses. H.H.P.Z. is a big proponent of conservation and environmentalism, so there are lots of opportunities for kids to learn about those concepts in the park while also visiting animals, watching a show or going on rides. In addition, there are classes and camps available. There is a lot to see here. Happy Hollow Park & Zoo, 748 Story Rd., San Jose, www.happyhollow.org
EMMA PRUSH FARM REGIONAL PARK, SAN JOSE
This farm is on 43.5 acres in East San Jose, California. This park has FREE admission + parking for all. You can purchase pellets to feed the animals! This family farm is home to cows, pigs, horses, goats, sheep, chickens, roosters, ducks, and peacocks. There are play structures and a large grassy field so bring a picnic lunch! Emma Prush Farm Regional Park, 647 King Rd., San Jose, www.sanjoseca.gov