This summer, take a trip to one of these local farms and let your little ones have a close encounter of the animal kind. These farms offer close-up opportunities and petting zoos to let kids experience a bit of summer on the farm.
14245 W. Rockland Road, Libertyville. (847) 362-4636
Families can stroll through the farmyard and visit with horses, llamas, goats, potbelly pigs, miniature cattle, equine, sheep and more. At the small animal area, kids can get up close to rabbits or chicks. In the Discovery Area, they can see how they measure up against some of the farmyard animals. Families can also enjoy miniature golf, riding the miniature train, and taking a spin on the old world carousel.
The Children's Farm at The Center
12700 Southwest Hwy., Palos Park. (708) 361-3650
Families can visit the Center for a self guided tour during the three hour public visiting time from 1-4pm on the weekends, March through November. Farm guides provide information on different animals and guests might be able to pet and groom a few. Available animals may include chickens, ducks, turkeys, rabbits, pigs, goats, cows, sheep, horses, ponies and donkeys. Weather permitting, pony rides may be available.
Santa's Village AZoosment Park
601 Dundee Ave., East Dundee. (847) 426-6751
Santa's Village AZoosment Park is home to over 200 animals, birds and fish. Parakeet Paradise lets guests step into the habitat and be surrounded by birds. Tortoise Island is home to different species of tortoises. At Old MacDonald's Barn, kids can visit with a variety of the farm's residents. And at the Pony-Go-Round, guests can saddle up and take a ride. Ride the Alaskan Railway and get a close-up view of reindeer, bobcats and foxes.
Lincoln Park Zoo Farm-in-the-Zoo
2200 N. Cannon Dr., Chicago (312) 742-2000
Kids can visit cows, chickens and ponies, greet goats in the goat contact yard and enjoy interactive learning stations in the Main Barn. In the main barn, kids can check out the chicken coop and see newly hatched chicks. In the Dairy Barn, see goats and cows and learn about the milking process.
100 S. Barnes Rd., Aurora. (630) 892-1550
Blackberry Farm is a living history museum where pioneer life is re-created through educational demonstrations and hands-on fun. Admission to Blackberry Farm includes unlimited rides on the train, hay wagon, pedal tractors, paddle boats, carousel and ponies. At the Discovery Barn, guests can see chickens, sheep, piglets, baby goats and more. Other experiences includes the Adventure Playground, Blacksmith Shop, One-Room Schoolhouse and more.
Forest View Farms
16717 S. Lockwood Ave., Tinley Park. (708) 560-0306
Forest View Farms is a horse farm and petting farm. At the petting farm, kids can get up close with pigs, chickens, sheep, geese, ducks, llamas, goats, and a mini horse and mini burro. Kids can sign up at Forest View for riding lessons, or enjoy controlled pony rides around the Forest View Farms property.
Randall Oaks Zoo
1180 N. Randall Rd., West Dundee. (847) 551-4312
Randall Oaks Zoo offers a variety of kid-friendly farm animals for viewing, petting and feeding. In the barn, meet alpacas, goats and more. Other animal residents include cows, mini horses, a Clydesdale, sheep, goats, emus, alpacas, reptiles, deer, rabbits, chickens, pigs, fox and birds. Pony rides are also available.