Now that spring is here we’ll bet baby animals are on your mind (ours too!). There’s no better place to find your favorite furry, feathered and scaly friends than at a nearby petting farm, zoo or animal sanctuary. So if your kiddos want to see, touch and possibly feed some of the cutest critters around, we’ve got just the spot. Here’s where to find your new animal besties.
Find Your Barnyard Favorites at the Zoo
Woodland Park Zoo
Seattle families know Woodland Park Zoo is the place to go to see animals. If you’re looking for a great local petting farm, there’s no better spot to find them than here. Starting May 1, the Family Farm Contact Area will open for the season. Part of the Temperate Forest area, it’s where kids of all ages can see cows, donkeys, chickens, goats, sheep and pigs around the barnyard habitat. They can also enter the petting area and interact with gentle sheep and goats to add a hands-on element to your zoo outing.
Dates: May 1-Sep. 30
Hours: Daily, 10:00 a.m.–noon & 1-4 p.m.; Closed noon-1 p.m.
5500 Phinney Ave. N.
Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium
Head south to find an array of animal experiences, including a year-round petting zoo, when you visit Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium in Tacoma. Just beyond the outdoor playground is where you’ll find the friendly goats, who are all about being fed by hand. Bring quarters so you can get a fistful of pellets. Then it’s up to your wannabe farmers to entice the goats to take a bite (don’t worry, they’re eager eaters who aren’t hard to please). If you’re lucky, you’ll time your visit with one of the zookeeper’s daily Close Encounter chats so your kids can learn more about their new furry best friend. Once the goats have had their fill, or you’ve run out of quarters, head to the Pacific Seas Aquarium where kids can dip their hands into the icy cold water of the Tidal Touch Zone and make contact with seastars, urchins, anemones and cucumbers.
Good to know: Point Defiance also offers amazing up-close animal encounters for kids, including Groovy Goats, Heroes of Unusual Size and Jammin’ with Jellies.
Insider tip: Put May 7 on your spring calendar, because that’s when the zoo’s budgie feeding experience reopens. Trust us, there’s nothing cuter than giggling toddlers feeding these friendly birds.
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-4 p.m.
5400 N. Pearl St.
Visit Animals at Viewing & Petting Farms
Kelsey Creek Farm
Bellevue’s favorite urban farm is a family hot spot on a warm spring day. And although parents think the picnic-able fields and wide stroller-friendly paths are the big draw, the kids know it’s all about the animals. Easy-to-follow signs keep the kids learning as they make the rounds on the farm’s self-guided tour around the barns and pens. This is where they can check out chickens, stare down pigs and baa with the best of them. The park is free to wander, and you can find the animals in their pastures from 9 a.m.-3 p.m., year-round, rain or shine. Our favorite part? When your little animal lover needs a change of scenery, head to the playground for some sliding, swinging and jumping before hitting the road.
Insider tip: Be sure to check out Kelsey Creek’s programs if your farm hands want to spend more time with the animals. The farm's super popular Sheep Shearing is just around the corner, and kids can be Busy Beavers this weekend.
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
410 130th Pl. S.E.
Fill the picnic basket and pack the kite for a trip to Farrel-McWhirter Park, because you’ll find more than your farm animal faves at this city park in Redmond. It’s a great spot to spend a lazy afternoon when the spring sun is nudging your family outside. The wide-open field is a toddler’s dream. They can keep going and going while you easily keep an eye on them from your peaceful picnic blanket. Then, there are the easily hikeable trails that run through the lush forest on the property. And that’s all before your tiny tot hits the barns to see a favorite barnyard friend. They’re all there—goats, sheep, chickens, bunnies, pigs, ducks, ponies, a cow and donkey—eager for attention from their youngest fans.
Insider tip: Farrel-McWhirter’s family programming has a little something for everyone—crafts, pony rides and even farm storytime. Sign up early, as these popular programs fill up fast.
Hours: Daily, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
19545 N.E. Redmond Rd.
Redmond, WA 98053
Maltby Produce Market
Introduce your little animal lovers to goats, sheep, peacocks, ducks and geese and bring home farm-fresh veggies for dinner at the same time when you visit this farm in Snohomish. The animals are on display out back, and although they are fenced in, they’re quite friendly, so expect some fence time when you visit. Make your way up during business hours to spend time with these furry friends.
Hours: Daily, 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
19523 Broadway Ave.
Visit a Seriously Sweet Animal Sanctuary
Sammamish Animal Sanctuary
If your kiddos have a soft spot for rescue animals, barnyard dance your way to Second Chance Ranch. Here, kids can pet and snuggle with friendly goats and adorable bunnies, or wander over to meet Amelia, the darling blind calf in her bright red barn. With four acres to roam and dozens of animals to interact with, you and the kids will have lots to do during your two-hour visit. The farm is open by reservation only, so grab a slot as soon as you can. And if you want, you can bring cut carrots, sliced apples and lettuce snacks for your new farm friends. The Sammamish Animal Sanctuary is completely volunteer driven, and 100% of its donations are used to care for and feed the animals.
Good to know: If summer camp is on your radar, SAS still has a few weeks that are open. It’s a great way for kids to be outside, learn about animals and help care for them too. This is the animal sanctuary’s number one fundraiser of the year.
Insider tip: SAS is moving. Plan to visit them at their new location (16515 S.E. May Valley Rd. in Renton) mid-May; they’ll be open at the old location through May 1. The new property will be decked to the nines in a Wild West theme. It’s the closest kids can get to visiting Frontierland at Disneyland without boarding a plane.
Hours: By reservation only
Sammamish Animal Sanctuary
20727 S.E. 24th St.
Pasado’s Safe Haven
If visiting the state’s largest animal sanctuary is on your list, Pasado’s Safe Haven is the place to go. For over 25 years, the folks here have been working to end animal cruelty by investigating animal cruelty crimes, providing animal sanctuary and advocating for animal protections. Sanctuary Tours are the way families can interact with the more than 200 rescued animals that live on the property. Learn lots about the friendly pigs, goats, sheep, cows, donkeys, llamas, dogs, alpacas, ducks and chickens during your visit, led by a knowledgeable trained guide. Plan to spend a little over two hours on the farm.
Cost: $15/person; Free, kids under 5
Hours: By appointment
Tiny Hearts Homestead
This rustic rehome sanctuary opened in November of 2019, and it’s been charming visitors ever since. Bring your wild ones for a chance to visit a working farm where the animals you’ll meet are some of the friendliest around. Kids will enjoy following the goats, pigs, donkeys and mini horses around in the field. And if they’re feeling brave, they can see if the alpacas and chickens are hungry. Psst…they may even eat out of your hand. When you visit, please wear clothing you won’t mind getting dirty, especially in springtime when things can get muddy. And you can feel good knowing that your experience cost goes right back to the animals, as farm visits help Brooke keep the animals healthy and cared for.
Insider tip: Take home a dozen farm fresh eggs after you visit. Just remember to ask Brooke ahead of time so she can set some aside for you (if the chickens are laying).
Good to know: Got a little animal lover? Consider hosting a summer birthday party on the farm ($150/hr.). Kids will get as much animal time as they can handle, and you’ve got all the picnic table space you need to set out cake, decorations and presents for a simple and sweet celebration.
Hours: By reservation; usually Fri.-Sun., 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Lake Tapps, WA
The Fancy Farm
If you ask us the motto at this farm should be come for the pony rides, stay to visit the animals. Farm visits at Fancy Farm are relatively new (it opened in 2020) and everything you'd expect when visiting a working farm that's also a non-profit rescue. It all starts at the gate where parents fill out paperwork and the kids get to play with chicks and ducks. Then it's time to head down to the barn where you'll meet the menagerie of goats, pigs, horses, ducks, chickens, quail, emu and of course the farm dogs and barn cats. Families are free to explore on their own, but don't worry the farmers are always within ear shot to answer questions or help with the animals. Grain is available if goat feeding tops your list, and there are helpful cards placed along the fence that teach kids about the farm animals.
Insider tip: Planning a birthday party ($150) at the Fancy Farm is super easy. Kids can ride ponies, interact with the animals and be totally free range on the play space.
Good to know: The Fancy Farm also runs a forest school program that's 100% outdoor and nature-based.
Hours: By appointment only
Cost: $10/person; $20/family
Fall City, WA
The Reptile Zoo
Make a date to spend time with a slew of slithery, scaly friends at the Reptile Zoo in Monroe. This rescue facility is dedicated to taking in mistreated animals and giving them a stellar experience as long as they hang around—and that’s saying a lot since some of their rescues can live over 150 years. Plan to visit with 17-year old Basker, the albino alligator; Pete and Re-Pete, the two-headed turtle; and a host of other reptilian faves like snakes, iguanas and tortoises. If you visit during open hours, you’ll get to see all the scaly creatures and pet the tortoise too. But if you're dying to get your hands on a snake or other crawly creature, visit during Close Encounters hours ($3 extra).
Insider tip: Feeding happen on Friday nights. If you want to watch snakes, lizards and alligators eat, call to reserve a spot.
Hours: Mon., Tue., Thu.-Sat., 10 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sun., noon-5 p.m.; Closed Weds.
Cost: $9/Adult; $7/Kid (5-17); $6/Toddler (3-4); Free, kids 2 & under
22715 State Route 2
Indoor Petting Zoos & Other Places to Find Crazy Cool Animals
For a smaller farm experience, ferry over to Vashon and meet the friendly llamas at this family-owned farm. The herd and has been together for nearly 20 years, and the six remaining animals are used to being around kids and families. Owner Kelly loves teaching people about llamas almost as much as she loves introducing people to them. She takes the time to explain llama habits and important safety procedures before leading families into the field where they can pet and feed the small herd. After the animal interaction, it's time to see how llama wool is spun. The whole experience takes anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour. We're big fans of the farm's Parent/Child camp ($50/pair) where a parent and child get llama time for about an hour, and then learn to weave for the next hour. Top it off with farm chores before you head home.
Insider tip: Make your reservation with Kelly a 3-4 days before your trip to make sure you get the spot you want. And if you're able, visit on the weekday when it's not quite as busy.
Hours: By appointment only
26607 Wax Orchard Rd. S.W.
Debbie Dolittle’s Petting Zoo
The spring rain won’t spoil your fun at Debbie Dolittle’s indoor petting zoo in Tacoma. The animals here are clean, dry and enjoy interacting with visitors. While Debbie’s place features many farm animals, they also specialize in baby and miniature pets and exotics and work to provide an educational opportunity for kids of all ages. The unexpected flipside to this animal experience is the attached. If your crew tires of animal antics, head over to the Zoocade where you’ll find the flashing lights and ringing bells of a very active family fun center.
Good to know: If cuddling with otters, feeding penguins and hanging with sloths sounds like something your wild bunch would enjoy, check out the Animal Encounters you can book with Debbie Dolittle’s. There’s a two-person minimum, and kids must be at least 5 to participate.
Hours: Fri.-Sun., 11 a.m.-6 p.m.,
120 138th St. S.
Tacoma, WA 98444
Outback Kangaroo Farm
Hop on over to this beyond-the-everyday farm in Arlington. Dedicated to educating the public about some of Australia’s amazingly original animals, this petting farm tips the scales on usual finds. During the 40-minute guided tour, kiddos can interact with and sometimes feed kangaroos, pygmy goats, wallabies, wallaroos, llamas, lemurs, alpacas and more during the 40 minute visit. Be sure to bring your camera to this one. There are plenty of post-worthy photo ops your won’t want to miss.
Hours: Thu.-Sun., 10 a.m., noon, 2 & 4 p.m.; Closed, Mon.-Wed.
Cost: $25/Adult; $15/Kid, 2-12; Free, kids under 2
10030 State Route 530 N.E.
Arlington, WA 98223
One of the newest petting farm experiences around, Enchanted Farms recently opened to visitors. Alpacas are the focus here, but families can also interact with goats, bunnies, ducks and puppies when they visit. Dress in your farm best because you'll get to do all the things at this working farm. Learn, pet and feed—it's the petting farm trifecta. If you've got older kiddos consider adding on an alpaca walking experience ($25/family). Kids get to halter an animal, walk it around the pasture and pose for pictures too.
Insider tip: Two things to look forward to at this farm? Birthday parties that are in the works now, and babies lambs arriving in June.
Good to know: A port-a-potty is available at this farm.
Cost: $15/Person (3 & up)
31620 N.E. 129th St.