On a recent ride home from Vermont, we stopped in Brattleboro to check out the newly restored Retreat Farm and Children’s Forest. My first challenge was to get my kids past the farm store which may be small in size, but has a great selection of toys, activities and healthy snacks.
I was so surprised when I entered the barn, because it was so clean! If you were blind folded, you would have no idea you were standing in a barn surrounded by animals. It is very family friendly as their entire mission is to educate the youth about farm animals. The general rule is, if you can catch it, you can hold it. Volunteers and staff were available to show kids how to gently pick up a chick and respectfully hold a bunny.
My kids were fascinated by the chickens and loved feeding the baby goats. There are child size benches throughout the barn, so kids can sit and watch a mother pig nursing her piglets or just observe the animals around them. We were given coins to get food and the kids had a lot of fun learning how to keep their hands flat while the sheep nibbled the grains off their hands. The donkeys had a bale of hay beside their stall, so they could be fed as well.
There were hand wash stations throughout the barn and once we cleaned up, we went into a large play area. All of the toys were farm themed- little John Deere tractors, a farm stand with fruits and veggies, etc. Just outside was a really great water table they had loads of fun with.
From there, we headed up to the Forest Playground where kids can get dirty in the mud kitchen, build a tee pee or try to cross the obstacle course.
We walked down to meet Carlos, the farm’s one ton mascot. He is a Brahman-Holstein Ox who is a gentle giant. The boys loved peeking inside the chicken coop to see the hens hard at work. They tasted herbs in the Children’s garden and helped water the flowers.
“Retreat Farm is a natural and cultural commons that connects people to the land and one another, inspiring them to be active stewards of land and community, and take on the challenges of tomorrow.”
I can’t mention Retreat Farm without mentioning the Dosa Food Truck. I had the most amazing dosa I have ever had outside of India. If Indian food is not your thing, checkout their event page for their food truck roundups to try a variety of delicious local fare.
For hours and admission prices, please visit the Retreat Farm website by clicking here.