Ten Destinations For Animal Encounters

Hoping to get an up-close experience with animals? You can do it without buying the farm! Here are some fun destinations where kids can touch and learn about animals. No chicken coops and stall mucking required!  

Duke Farm Petting Zoo

44 Samaria Rd., Temperance
Open 10-5PM

If the gates are open, stop in for a visit. Otherwise, call ahead to make an appointment. Learn about chickens, hens, rabbits, goats, donkeys, alpacas and more. Children can take a pony ride or follow the ducks and goats in the outdoor animal area, where they are given a cup of food to share with the animals. Outdoor pavilion and playground.

Admission $5 per person

The Butterfly House at Wheeler Farms

11455 Obee Rd., Whitehouse
Open May-September
Open Monday-Saturday 10-4PM, Sunday 12-4PM

Over one thousand butterflies, with over 100 different species from North and South America and Asia. Learn about the life cycle of the butterfly, with experienced staff on hand to answer questions.

Adults 12-64: $10, Seniors 65 and up: $9, Ages 4-11: $8, 3 and under: free

577 Foundation

577 East Front St., Perrysburg
Open daily 9-5PM

This historic property along the Maumee river features a dairy barn, log cabin, community gardens, geodesic biodome, and more. Visit the bird blind to learn observe birds and animals eating in their natural habitat. Stop by the indoor and outdoor honeybee hives, and learn about beekeeping from the local beekeeper. Classes and events held monthly.

Lagoon Deer Park

1502 Martins Point Rd., Sandusky
Opens May 5th. May 5-Memorial Day open daily 10-6PM, Memorial Day-Labor Day open daily 10-8PM

Take a walk in this park that houses over 200 animals, including 6 breeds of deer, llamas, goats, sheep, elk, peacocks, emus, rheas, miniature donkeys, and Scottish Highlander. Feed is available for purchase to feed all animals.

Adults 13 and over $9, kids 3-12 $5. Children must be accompanied by at least one adult.

The Creature Conservancy

4950 Ann  Arbor-Saline Rd., Ann Arbor
Open Saturdays and Sundays 1-5PM

Learn about ecology, biology, and conservation, all while viewing an amazing collection of animal ambassadors. Meet the sloth, three-banded armadillo, red-tailed boa,giant toad, Argentinian Tegu, cougar, and more at one of the weekend presentations. Check website for details and weekend presentation times.

Adults (13 and up): $10
Kids 2-12: $8
Limited outdoor viewing on weekdays from 10-6, free

The Petting Farm at Domino’s Farms

3001 Earhart Rd., Ann Arbor
Open Wednesday-Friday 10-3PM, Saturday-Sunday 10-4PM

Learn what a barn looks like, inside and out, while interacting with a wide variety of animals, including sheep, goats, rabbits, ducks, horses, pigs, alpaca, llamas, horses, cattle and more.

Admission $6, Seniors 60 and up $5.50, kids 23 months and under free

Indian Creek Zoo

2744 Consear Rd., Lambertville
Open Monday-Saturday 10-5PM, Sunday 12-5PM

This family friendly zoo offers a wide variety of animals and experiences, including camel rides, sloth encounters, and more. Learn about animals while exploring in this relaxed environment.

Adults: $12, Seniors (63 and up): $9, Kids 3 and up: $10, under two free

Toledo Zoo and Aquarium

2 Hippo Way
Open daily 10-4PM

Visit the aquarium for a chance to feel a sting ray at the touch tank. At Nature’s Neighborhood, farm animals are available for meet and greets, and live animal shows provide entertaining and educational performances.

Adults: $21, Seniors (60 and up): $18, Kids 2-11: $18, Kids under two free


Calder Dairy | A Family Tradition Since 1946

9334 Finzel Rd, Carleton
Open daily 10-7PM

Want to know where your milk comes from? Visit the cows at this dairy farm, where “the girls” are milked every day at 4PM. There is also a goat viewing area. Make sure to visit the country store, where you can purchase ice cream cones, milk shakes, and sundaes.

Full tours for groups of fifteen or more include wagon ride and ice cream, $10 per person. Visit website for booking information.

Sauder Village

22611 State Route 2, Archbold
Opens May 1. Spring hours May 1-May 26: Tuesday-Friday 10-3:30PM, Saturday 10-5PM, Sunday 12-4PM
Summer hours May 27-September 2: Tuesday-Saturday 10-5PM, Sunday 12-4PM

This historic farm village can be a one day visit or a vacation destination, with food, shopping, camping, and inn available. Animals on site include sheep, goats, pigs, dairy cows, horses, and chickens. Visitors may see demonstrations on goat milking, beekeeping, wool spinning, and more. Take a horse and buggy ride, or view the farm village on a train ride. Check website for special event weekends.

Adults $18, Students (ages 6-16) $12, Seniors (60 and over) $16, Children 5 and under free. Sunday special: Adults $11, free admission for children under 16 with adult paid admission.

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