If there is one truth to be had, it's that kids love animals. There's just something special when your child sees a majestic horse or adorable alpaca for the first time and their face lights up with delight. We want you to enjoy that experience, so we collected a list of eight of our farms where you can make those wonderful memories with your family this summer.
Summer and into fall are the best seasons to take the family to see the alpacas at Marquam Hill Ranch, as their animals start having babies in July, with the season running until November. Honestly, it's hard to find something cuter than a baby alpaca, which is called a "cria." There, that's something you now know.
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, they also have new baby pigs. If you come back in the fall, you can enjoy the six acres of pumpkins and family-style fun on the farm.
Related Video: Facebook Live video at Firpoint Farms
The Kitchen at Middleground Farms and owner Chef Jessica Hansen have earned a very well-deserved reputation as a 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. There's standards like cows and goats, as well as chickens, pigs and a llama. And if you happen to have an aspiring young chef in your household, they offer classes aimed at kids and teenagers throughout the year. Or you could really bring the family together at a class crafted for the whole family.
Known for her expertise in growing and caring for 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, give the kids something fun to see. Bonus activity: Try to find Grayson the cat who tends to find unique places to grab a catnap.
Related Video: Exploring Out in the Garden Nursery
Elk are huge, majestic animals. They look even bigger when you add your kids into the 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 animals. Better yet, they have quite the menagerie with pygmy goats, miniature donkeys and more rare animals like fallow dear and a Patagonian cavy - all where the kids can pet them. The best part is, the tours are so informative yet fun your kids will be learning and not even know it!
Come for the cheese, 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, all of whom the kids can pet. In addition to other animals, like arabian horses, Tollen Farm has a charming gift shop with unique, one-of-a-kind treasures for your home. That way you can pretend you're there to do some shopping like a grown up, and not play with the animals like your kids. 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. Farm favorites like numerous goats and horses, as well as rarer fare like alpacas and ostriches 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.