With 25 pet horses and a full farmyard teeming with ducks, rabbits, cows, sheep, llamas, donkeys, and alpacas, all managed by a solely volunteer staff, Duke Petting Farm should be on your list for events for little—or maybe not so little—pet lovers in the family.
Located just past the Michigan-Ohio border in Temperance, the farm has been busy entertaining those that would like an affordable option for a daytime family activity or booking parties for both on and off the property for the past few years.
Parties On and Off the Farm
Parties can be booked on the farm, where your group will have access to both the pavilion and your own private animals based on available packages. Besides the allotted time given for the private animals, those booking on the farm receive an extra hour for gifts and cake. You will also get access to the rest of the farm for the remainder of the day.
Parties off the farm receive nearly all of the same benefits. Duke Farm will travel up to one hour for anyone booking with them, which encompasses areas just south of Detroit and as far south as Findlay.
The options seem endless when browsing Duke’s website; you could rent a single pony or even find yourself and your children enjoying a full carnival in your own backyard!
Straight from the horse’s mouth (well, actually co-owner Deborah Duke) the most popular party package is the Large Barnyard package. For $475, you can choose 10-12 large and small animals, a horse or pony for rides, balloon animals, a bubble machine, decorations, food for the animals, and a hand sanitizing station. For the younger kids that still want the fun of their own petting zoo—but mom and dad don’t think large animals are a good idea—the Lil Critters package is a great option.
We feel confident that your kiddos love animals, but do they also love Anna and Elsa of Frozen fame? Or, maybe they’re the biggest fans of Marvel or DC superheroes? All parties are able to add a costume character to the festivities. Duke’s is partnered with Addie’s Closet, a children’s entertainment and character business servicing Southeast Michigan and Northwest Ohio, to ensure this will be an unforgettable party.
The farm does so much more than just the awesome parties and cute petting farm, as Deborah Duke points out.
“It started with just supporting our community, so that people could have a place to come that was inexpensive,” she says. “But the main thing is that we do Hippotherapy for Mercy Hospital here, and we also do Equine Psychotherapy. Our nonprofit that’s housed on the farm is called Little Blessings Veterans and Community Outreach. A lot of the things we do, like the pony rides, the petting farm, and the parties, support those initiatives.”
You and your kids can help as well. Volunteers 16 and older are always welcome additions to the volunteer staff, and every Saturday morning there is a kid’s camp. For $90 the kids get three hours to take care of horses, do crafts, learn about animal husbandry, and “brand” a pony with their own paint handprint.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, there’s something here for you,” adds Duke.
Booking events as far in advance as possible is best, as the farm is already booked for most of August and September, but you can still try and snag a spot.The farm is open daily from 11am-5pm and welcomes visitors! Duke’s Petting Farm & Carriage Company. 44 Samaria Rd., Temperance, MI. 419-410-7193. dukefarmonline.com