Campus & Buildings

Enjoy the Children's Farmyard this summer!

Posted by Cat Parrish
Children's Farmyard and Family Program Manager & Farm Based Educator

The Children’s Farmyard is alive this summer with animals and activities to keep your family busy exploring and learning for an afternoon – or a whole day!  The Farmyard brings you up close and personal with many of the animals that are typically out on pasture and hard to find and connect with. Here, you can truly see and experience them, a starting point for understanding how our own lives depend on these creatures, on farmers, and on the land that supports us all.  Here’s SEVEN things that you can enjoy during your visit.

driver of tractor pulling a wagon of people waves at camera
photo: Holly Brough

1. Daily Tractor Shuttle from the Farm Store & Welcome Center
It’s a glorious ¾-mile walk from the Farm Store to the Farm Barn, but there’s nothing quite like riding the shuttle through the farm landscape, sitting up high with the breeze on your face, and catching your first sight of the Farm Barn or grazing cows.  From now until Labor Day, the shuttle runs daily, every half hour.

boy patting a sheep on the head
photo: Andrea Estey
2. Farm Animals!
Horses, and rabbits, and cows, Oh my!  And lots more. We’ve got sheep, pigs, goats, and calves, too.  Come learn about the role that each of them plays on a farm and in your own life, and just spend some time around their munching, breathing, furry selves.  Because an avian flu has been circulating in the United States that is especially dangerous to poultry, we’ve been keeping our chickens and turkeys safe in quarantine – away from the public eye.  But we hope to return them to you soon! We know the rascally chickens in particular are a kid favorite. 

inside the Forest house - a kid-sized wooden play space.
photo: Holly Brough
3. Forest House
Up on the hill, this refurbished animal shed has become another kid favorite. Stocked with “loose parts” to play with – wood blocks and more – as well as forest-themed books and activities, it’s a kid-scaled portal into the forest, where their imagination can roam. With help from a team of high school students this spring, there’s even a human-sized “nest” outside! It’s a cool place to be when the sun’s beating hot, and it will only get better as the season goes on because this is an evolving space.

Man with a great horned owl perched on his arm.
photo: Bashaer Moledina
4. Raptors in Residence
Also up in the forest, we’ll be visited regularly by wild hawks and owls, courtesy of our wonderful friends at Outreach for Earth Stewardship. Join us on Mondays, Fridays, and Sundays at 1PM (now through Labor Day), to be charmed by a face-to-face experience with one of these amazing creatures and to learn more about their fascinating lives.

Photo: Andrea Estey
5. Hands-on activities
This summer, we’ll be offering lots of pop-up activities, including some old favorites like spinning sheep’s wool into yarn bracelets and feeding the pigs. Keep an eye on the Farmyard chalkboard for what’s happening on the day you’re visiting, or check in with a Farmyard staff member. 

page of a book installed on a stake in the woods
photo: Holly Brough
6. StoryWalk: The Hike!
Read about a hike while you hike! You can follow along with The Hike, a children’s book by Alison Farrell, as it’s displayed page by page along the trail behind the Farmyard. Finish up at Lone Tree Hill for the most beautiful views across Lake Champlain.  We’ll be sharing two additional books as the season progresses, so come back more than once! StoryWalk® was created by Anne Ferguson of Montpelier, VT and developed in collaboration with the Kellogg-Hubbard Library.

adult and child look through window to see cheese being made
photo: Sarah Webb
7. Cheesemaking!
Don’t leave without peeking your head into the cheesemaking facility to see our cheddar being made from the raw milk of our Brown Swiss cows. You may even get to meet a cheesemaker!

See you at the Children's Farmyard!

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