They're cute. They're cuddly. And they're just a bundle of personality. Alpacas are one of the most entertaining animals you can find on any farm in Mt. Hood Territory or beyond. That may be why our destination has more of them than just about any other county out there. Alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch is one of the largest alpaca farms around and boasts several champion animals. In addition to getting up close and personal with them, you can learn all about their different types of fiber and come home with the softest sweater you've ever felt in your life.
Fir Point Farms is known for their country store with homemade pastries, including amazing cinnamon rolls, and their apple cider donuts are legendary. But on top of that, they have tree-climbing pygmy goats. As if that weren't enough, their resident bunnies are pretty darn adorable. If you come back in the fall, you can enjoy their six acres of pumpkins and family fun.
Related Video: Facebook Live video at Fir Point Farms
Owner and chef Jessica Hansen's The Kitchen at Middleground Farms has earned a deserved reputation as the go-to place for amazing cooking lessons. But this is also a working farm and, as such, has all sorts of animals the kids can meet, from cows and goats to chickens and pigs... and even a guard llama. And if you happen to have an aspiring young chef in your household, The Kitchen offers classes aimed at kids and teenagers throughout the year. Or you could really bring the family together at a class crafted for the entire brood.
Known for her expertise in growing native and rare plants for any garden, Out in the Garden Nursery owner Carol Westergreen also cares for several animals that are all part of the experience there. Enthusiastic goats that love attention, plus chickens of all sorts of exotic varieties, are fun critters your kids can meet. Bonus activities: Try to find Grayson, their cat who tends to find unique places to grab a catnap, and Allie and Riley, their beloved adorable pups.
Related Video: Exploring Out in the Garden Nursery
Elk are huge, majestic animals. They look even bigger beside your kids in a photo. Rosse Posse Acres is a working elk ranch in Molalla that lets guests get a close (but not too close) look at these gorgeous creatures. Better yet, they have quite the menagerie petting zoo, complete with pygmy goats, miniature donkeys and rarer animals, such as fallow dear and a Patagonian cavy. Tours are so informative and fun that your kids will be learning and not even know it!
Come for the cheese and stay for the "Cowlebrities." TMK Creamery outside of Canby is a family owned and operated dairy that makes some delicious cheeses. Their tours showcase the entire process, as they pride themselves on being an open and transparent operation. The real stars of the show though are their cows, which seem more like big dogs the way they eat up attention.
Related Video: Learning to make cheese at TMK Creamery
You honestly haven't lived until you've seen a baby miniature donkey; it just may be the cutest thing ever. Tollen Farm in Wilsonville has several of them frolicking around in their fields. And they would all love for your kids to pet them. In addition to other animals, such as Arabian horses, Tollen Farm has a charming gift shop with unique treasures for your home. You can pretend you're there to do some shopping like a grown up... totally not to play with the animals like your kids will be. Go ahead, we won't tell anyone.
The newest farm on our list, Triskelee Farm outside of West Linn, has an impressive selection of animals. From farm favorite animals like goats and horses to more unique cuties like ostriches, and not to mention adorable alpacas, many critters call this scenic farm home. A tour takes about an hour, but it could likely be longer, as you find yourself spending a little extra time cuddling with a pygmy goat. Pro tip: Go for a tipsy tour if you're 21+.