Furry Friends Await: Exploring Toledo’s Animal-Friendly Destinations

Toledo and its surrounding areas are home to a host of exciting animal encounters for kids. Whether your little ones are fascinated by lions and tigers, or they have a soft spot for fluffier friendlier folk, you’ll find something for everyone.

We’ve rounded up some of the best places where your family can get up close and personal with animals, and we’ve included information to help you plan your visit.

Toledo Zoo

Photo at the Toledo Zoo. Photo by Matthew Sackmann.

The Toledo Zoo is a must-visit for families. With over 10,000 animals representing 720 species, it’s a wildlife lover’s paradise. Children can feed giraffes, ride a train through the park, and explore the impressive aquarium. The zoo’s commitment to conservation and education ensures a safe and enlightening experience. Currently, there are baby tigers, polar bear bears, and Franklin, the baby giraffe.

Admission: General admission for children (2-11) is $26, and adults (12-59) is $29, and Lucas County residents get a discounted rate. Children under 2 enter for free. The zoo also offers various membership options for unlimited visits which are a great deal.

2 Hippo Way, Toledo. 419-385-5721.

Sunny Meade Alpacas

Sunny Meade Alpacas is a picturesque alpaca farm where kids can get up close and personal with these gentle creatures. Check out their website and Facebook for more information. They also offer yoga classes with alpacas!

7770 Prov Neap Swan Rd, Swanton. 419-875-5580.

Bracy Bison Ranch

Bracy Bison Ranch offers a unique experience for kids to observe and learn about these massive and intriguing animals. While direct petting of the bison is not available, guided tours provide educational insights into bison behavior, habitat and conservation. Kids can gain a deeper understanding of the vital role these animals play in our ecosystem.

Admission: Tours are $5 per person and include a tractor-drawn wagon ride into the pasture with the bison herd.

11616 County Road 4, Swanton. 419-572-0145.

Nature’s Nursery Wildlife Rehabilitation Center

Nature’s Nursery Wildlife Rehabilitation Center is a haven for injured and orphaned wildlife. While kids can’t directly interact with the animals, a visit to the center offers a chance to learn about animal rescue, rehabilitation, and the significance of releasing them back into the wild. It’s an educational experience that instills a sense of responsibility for the care and conservation of local wildlife. Check out their events page for more info: https://natures-nursery.org/events/

7541 Dutch Road, Waterville. 419-877-0060.

Admission: Name your price tours.

African Safari Wildlife Park

A short drive from Toledo, the African Safari Wildlife Park allows kids to embark on a safari-like adventure. Children can feed and interact with animals such as zebras, giraffes, and kangaroos from the comfort of their own vehicles. This unique drive-through experience provides an exciting way for kids to learn about and appreciate these incredible creatures.

Admission: Prices vary by age and time of year. Please check website for up-to-date pricing.

267 S Lightner Road, Port Clinton. 419-732-3606.

Duke Farm Petting Zoo

Duke Farm Petting Zoo offers a unique opportunity for children to interact with a variety of farm animals, including goats, sheep, and rabbits. They also sell birthday party packages, horse lessons and pony rides. They book parties, lessons and field trips until December but the zoo, playground, and pony rides are open from Memorial Day to Labor Day 

44 Samaria Rd. Temperance, MI. 419-410-7193.

The Butterfly House at Wheeler Farms

The Butterfly House at Wheeler Farms is a magical place where kids can witness the enchanting world of butterflies. They can explore beautiful gardens and learn about these fascinating insects. 

Closed for the season. 

Dmission: Adults: $10, kids 4-11: $8

11455 Obee Road, Whitehouse. 419-872-1731.

577 Foundation

The 577 Foundation offers a peaceful environment for kids to connect with nature. While it’s not a traditional petting zoo, the foundation hosts various programs and events that introduce children to the wonders of the natural world. Children can feed the Koi fish in the pond inside the geodesic dome. “Kids Explore Nature: Spiders” was a recent event.

Admission: Free, but donations are appreciated.

577 E. Front Street, Perrysburg. 419-874-4174.

Country Lane Tree Farm

Here you can milk a cow, feed large farm animals, pet and feed goats, llamas, alpacas, donkeys and sheep; you can also hold baby ducks, chicks and bunnies. Enjoy the playground, pony rides and train rides.

Admission: Ages 2-92 : $10, under 2: FREE

3525 N. Bolander Rd. Genoa. 419-461-1298.

Lagoon Deer Park

Lagoon Deer Park is a delightful place for kids to observe and feed deer, as well as other friendly animals. They have 6 breeds of deer, as well as llamas, goats, sheep, elk, peacocks, emus, rheas and miniature donkeys. It’s a memorable experience that lets children connect with nature and learn about various species. They also have four ponds that you can fish in. 

Admission: Adults: $10, children (3-12): $6

1012 Martins Point Rd., Sandusky. 419-684-5701.

Sauder Village

Sauder Village is a living history museum where kids can encounter farm animals (horses, cows, sheep, goats, pigs, etc…) and explore Ohio’s rural past. It’s an educational experience that combines history and agriculture.

Closed for the season October 28.

Admission: Children (4-16) are $18, adults (17-64) are $24. Children under 6 are free.

22611 State Route 2, Archbold. 1-800-590-9755.

Calder Dairy

Calder Dairy offers an opportunity for kids to learn about the dairy industry and interact with farm animals. Watch the cows being milked daily at 4pm. Children can enjoy dairy tours and pet various animals while savoring delicious ice cream and dairy products.

These destinations offer a wide range of experiences, from hands-on encounters to educational opportunities, ensuring that kids have a fantastic time while learning about and connecting with animals in and around Toledo. Be sure to check the respective websites or call ahead for any updates on admission prices and safety guidelines.

Admission: Free, but fees apply for activities like dairy tours.

9334 Finzel Rd, Carleton, MI. 734-654-2622.

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